Harold Hendrickx: Assisting Organizations Through Critical Procurement

Harold Hendrickx
Harold Hendrickx

Implementing over two decades of experience, along with a high sense of responsibility and focus, Harold Hendrickx launched TransExecutive to help companies with their purchasing or procurement functions.

Harold loves to solve other people’s business challenges and help them overcome their problems to achieve their goals. He provides structure and clarity and takes the complexity out for his clients. Harold is direct in his communication, appropriately and respectfully, and can understand and engage with people from top to floor, adjusting his leadership and communication style.

We caught up with Harold and discussed on ideologies behind the inception of TransExecutive and where it heads in the future.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at your company. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?

My career started in the military, working as a Senior Officer in the Royal Netherlands Air Force and NATO in various roles and environments and with people with a variety of cultural backgrounds. I learned a lot about leadership and how to deliver missions.

After 20 years, the entrepreneur in me decided to set up my business with my best friend, flying fixed-wing drones in the private sector. However, we were years too early as regulations at that time became highly restrictive. Our business model didn’t fit that framework, and we had to change our courses.

I was head-hunted to come work for DS Smith, an FTSE100 company, global sustainable packaging solution provider, B2B to companies like Amazon, Unilever, Nestle, etc. DS Smith has been very successful and has rapidly grown through acquisitions. The procurement function was scattered and divided and needed catch-up and step-up phases to be able to support the business. I was asked to manage that transformation as Transformation Director.

The transformation was delivered right before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, which proved it to be a success: the function kept the business running during the pandemic. It was in close coordination to manage and overcome the challenges in the supply base. After delivering the transformation, I decided that this is my mission in my career: enabling, optimizing, and transforming procurement functions for rapidly growing companies. I set up my own business, TransExecutive, to be able to help companies with their purchasing or procurement function, drive for nothing less than excellence and achieve exceptional results.

Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.

The vision for TransExecutive is about speed, accuracy, and delivering results for our clients.

We help mid-to-large-size companies lead through critical procurement optimization projects to achieve procurement excellence that controls costs, cooperative suppliers, supply continuity, reliable systems, and embeds sustainability.

We position ourselves as The Procurement Task Force and consider ourselves the Enabler, Optimizer & Transformer for our clients, seemingly integrating into their ways-of- of working while they focus on delivering their business-as-usual activities. We have an expanding network of procurement, change, and project management professionals, supporting fast-growing mid- to large-size businesses by applying military precision & practices to achieve their procurement goals rapidly.

Enlighten us on how you have impacted the procurement niche through your expertise in the market.

We apply concepts from the military in the procurement space. Concepts like Dynamic Teaming, War/Situation Rooming, The Commander’s Intent, Plan-don’t-over-Plan, and Situational Leadership are prevalent in the Military. They are fundamental enablers and accelerators for the commercial sector as well. That is the uniqueness we bring to help our clients.

Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.

We live by our H.E.A.R.T. values: Honesty, Embrace, Authenticity, Respect, and Trustworthiness, and these are driving our relationships, whether that is internal or with partners and clients. These values are crucial to delivering on our promises. We need to blend into the ways of working and culture of our clients to be able to hit the ground running and deliver tangible results fast; hence we set “embrace” as one of our values.

We are a network of professionals and see and feel the complementary spirit as a team. We got each other’s back and stepped in to support each other. We are ambassadors of extreme ownership and respect; we are humans and make mistakes; it is about taking ownership of that mistake and fixing it. Together. We have always succeeded in delivering because of this mindset. We came out stronger every time.

Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?

We see technology as a true enabler, not a leading topic. Why? Ultimately it is a process outcome that delivers value. Technology is there to enable, accelerate, automate or guide that process, but the starting point is, and must always be the process.

We have developed the Four-Sided Triangle Model©, which can guarantee a proper balance between the starting point: the process and governance, ownership, and technology. If you focus too much on one element, you will fail to achieve your objectives and results.

For that reason, we always say: “Digital Transformation Doesn’t Exist,” which is thought-provoking and might not be entirely accurate. However, it is to make sure people think beyond technology and understand that the other elements are needed to be successful.

We are 100% independent when it comes to (procurement) technology solutions providers, and our guarantee to our clients is that we will recommend and help with the selection and implementation of best-for-their-business technology solutions from that independent position.

What change would you like to bring to your industry if given a chance?

The procurement sector isn’t as established and recognized as Sales, Marketing, Finance, IT, or HR as a supporting function, which is incorrect. Procurement is a vital, crucial and essential function for a business. Most people think it is about reducing prices, which everyone could do. But it is not; when correctly done, it delivers on five value drivers:

  • Save Money
  • Make Money
  • Save Time
  • Reduce Complexity
  • Support the Ambition of the Business

It is a pivotal strategic function directly inputting into achieving business goals. Procurement is getting the recognition it deserves. In the last years, the image has changed, with the need to manage supply continuity, quality assurance of supply, and inflation mitigation strategies.

Also, Procurement requires specific skills, competencies, and capabilities, like Relationship Management and Negotiation, for example.

However, when it comes to optimizing, enabling, and transforming a procurement function, other skills and competencies are required Strategic Thinking, Result-Driven, Analytics, Project Management, etc. In other words, your best negotiator is not necessarily your best enabler, change, or project manager.

Where do you envision yourself in the long run, and what are your future goals for your company?

TransExecutive will continue to grow and expand to serve clients worldwide. With new challenges come new solutions, and we will be on the front foot to design new answers and solutions for our clients. We will continue to widen our network of professionals and partners to provide a customized and tailored approach to our client’s unique situations.

TransExecutive will, besides enabling the Procurement functions of our clients to excellence, also expand our services to support other support functions and business development and growth. We are to look at integrated business processes to enable, optimize, improve and transform, so it makes sense to expand how we can help our clients on that axis. An end-to-end approach will be more and more our focus to help our clients to grow, expand and be scalable.