As part of FoodProductionDaily’s ongoing series of 60-second interviews with the movers and shakers of the food and beverage industry, we caught up with Adrian Fernandez, vice president, global supplies, parts and service, Videojet Technologies.
What do you do?
I am the vice president for global supplies, parts and service for Videojet Technologies. Videojet is in the product identification market, providing in-line printing, coding and marking products, application-specific consumables, and service and support.
Tell us about your current role?
My role involves understanding and addressing our customers’ needs after equipment acquisition, during the 7-10 years of the coder lifespan. This includes issues associated with supplies, spare parts, service and technical support, to ensure that we consistently deliver on what is most important to all our customers - Uptime.We know we are doing a good job when our customers acquire the next printer from us again and again.
How did you get into the industry?
I got into the industry approximately 10 years ago, when I started working in Videojet as the VP of global marketing. It was quite a change for me, as I spent the prior 11 years in mostly marketing roles at a durable consumer goods company (NewellRubbermaid) in a BTC setting.
Regarding my background, first I got an accounting degree in Argentina (where I am originally from), which led to my first job in public accounting and consulting. Later, I completed an MBA in the US and at that point I made the switch to marketing.
What do you like most about your job?
Videojet is a global company, with presence in most countries, directly with our own offices and through a robust distribution network. The majority of our employees are field sales technicians and sales people, who interact directly with our customer base on a daily basis. As part of my job, I get to travel to many countries, visiting customers with these associates. I really enjoy the opportunity to meet both customers and our front-line associates from different parts of the world. It gives me the chance to get exposure to what we are really doing, how we are doing it, what is working and what is not, aspects of the business that cannot be understood or captured sitting in our Chicago headquarters.
What's the hardest thing about your job?
Effective prioritization. At any given time, we have so many initiatives and projects that could help meet our customers’ needs better while growing our business. We never have enough time, people, resources to do all of them, so we have to use a disciplined internal assessment and prioritization process to define which ones are to be addressed first.
Is there such a thing as a typical day for you?
No, there is not. It is more of a monthly cycle, including reviewing results and adjusting forecast, working with different countries to help them in their local businesses, creating new aftermarket tools, codifying best practices, and coordinating roll-out and adoption across all regions.
What advice would you give to people interested in a job in your field?
Stay curious and open-minded. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions, challenge the status quo, and to try new concepts, even if they don’t work out. Learn and try again. That something has been done in certain way does not mean it is the best way to do it.
If you could have one 'do-over' in your career, what would that be?
If I could go back in time, I would attempt to live and work in more countries, be exposed to different cultures for long periods of time, and pick up more languages. There is no substitute for the enrichment, learnings, and perspective that you can achieve when being fully immersed in a culture and living side-by-side with local people.
Has working in the food industry made you watch your diet more carefully?
It has not changed my diet, but it has given me a perspective that behind each product on a shelf there are a lot of dedicated people working hard to make them happen, which inspires respect and appreciation.