In the ever-evolving world of packaging, the cartonboard and carton industry plays a pivotal role in shaping the way products are presented and perceived. It is a dynamic field where innovation meets sustainability, and talented individuals are making a significant impact.  A new series of interviews by Pro Carton celebrates the talented people who shape innovation and sustainability in packaging, colleagues who live sustainability and who make this workspace fun and exciting.

In this edition of Pro Carton’s job profile series, we explore the career of Pieter Verdam, Mill Service Manager at FOLBB, mill Eerbeek. With a rich background influenced by family ties to the papermaking and packaging industry, Pieter shares his journey, the challenges he has overcome, and his dedication to sustainability and innovation within the cartonboard industry.

Pieter Verdam, Mill Service Manager at FOLBB, mill Eerbeek.

Q: Can you describe the key milestones and experiences that have shaped your career in this industry?

A: My father was already working in the papermaking and packaging industry, so I was not completely new to it.

I have always enjoyed the “turmoil” and have been impressed with the enormous size of paper and board making machines and the high level of technology behind them.

Q: Were there any particular challenges or turning points that stand out in your professional journey?

A: Yes, a significant turning point was when I transitioned from Purchasing to my current position as Mill Service Manager.

This shift brought new challenges and opportunities to influence the production process more directly.

Q: What does a typical day or week in your current role look like?

A: My day starts with greeting the team and creating an overview of the KPIs for both sales and production. My role involves constant communication with people from both departments, filtering out what is crucial to optimise customer service while keeping costs acceptable.

It’s a balance of managing production demands and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Q: Are there any specific projects or initiatives you’ve been involved in recently that you find particularly exciting or innovative?

A: During the high demand period from 2021 to 2023, my team managed to track customer demand against agreed volumes and ensured that every customer received their required materials.

We also optimised production to avoid overstocking for customers, which helped control lead times. The positive feedback from smaller and mid-sized customers, acknowledging our efforts, was particularly rewarding.

Q: How do you believe your work contributes to the sustainable and environmentally friendly aspects of cartonboard packaging?

A: Together with my team, we optimise the trim on the machine, acting as the hub between production and sales.

We align production output with market demands, which helps reduce waste and improve efficiency, contributing to the sustainability goals of our industry.

Q: What trends or developments in the industry are you most excited about, and how do they influence your work?

A: I am excited about the ever-changing demand and market pricing. These dynamics require constant adaptation and innovation, pushing us to develop new solutions and improve our processes continuously.

Q: What advice do you have for individuals considering a career in the carton and cartonboard industry?

A: I cannot think of an industry with more opportunities for personal and professional development. Organisations in this sector continuously adapt to new demands, product innovations, and EU regulations.

Being part of an industry that actively works on reducing environmental impact by offering sustainable packaging solutions is incredibly fulfilling.

Be flexible and embrace the changes.

Q: Are there any personal or professional accomplishments that you are especially proud of and would like to share?

A: I am particularly proud of how my team and I managed to maintain high service levels during the peak demand periods.

Ensuring customer satisfaction and receiving positive feedback was a significant accomplishment.

Q: What is the one reason why you are proud to work in the carton and cartonboard industry?

A: The commitment to sustainability in our industry is a source of pride for me.

Working in a sector that prioritises environmental responsibility and actively reduces the use of plastic through innovative packaging solutions is incredibly motivating.

Pieter Verdam’s career in the cartonboard industry highlights the importance of adaptability, innovation, and sustainability. His journey from Purchasing to Mill Service Manager at Folbb showcases his dedication to optimising processes and improving customer satisfaction. Pieter’s story is an inspiration for anyone considering a career in this dynamic and impactful industry.