First established in 2014, the Pyroguard Benelux team has certainly grown over the years. Now a strong team of six, we caught up with Stefan van Gerven, Sales Director – Benelux to find out more about the team driving the success in this region and how their initiatives help to deliver on customer satisfaction
Can you introduce us to the Benelux team?
Sure! Mark van Tilborg (top right) is our Projects Director and he is focused on growing sales in the projects market in The Netherlands. Then we have Gunther van Mol (bottom right), who is the Technical Sales Manager for Belgium. As the only member of the team based in Belgium, Gunther is the main contact for all of our customers here and his job involves everything from selling solutions and providing technical support, to visiting customers on site.
In charge of customer service support is Customer Services Manager, Dominique den Otter (bottom middle). Dominique works closely with our customers to ensure that their needs and enquiries are efficiently met. As the Administrative Assistant, Danique Douwes (bottom left) draws up order entry forms and takes care of all the admin that comes with the order process. Then we have Meddy van de Burgt (top left) who is our Sales Support Assistant. Meddy is responsible for arranging transport and the logistics of the glass, once the order has gone through.
As the Sales Director for the region, my role oversees the team, and also includes sales and marketing, planning and managing events and establishing new relationships and maintaining existing relationships with our key partners. We all work together to ensure that we are providing the best possible service and support to our customers.
How do you support your customers in the region and why is ‘going the extra mile’ so important to you and the team?
Our customers are always at the heart of everything that we do, and it is our priority to understand what’s important to them to ensure we always provide them with the products and services they require. And while we are reasonably small team, the wider organisation gives us the additional support that we sometimes need to do this successfully. We take great pride in our value that we are large enough to cope yet small enough to care!
For us as well, it’s about building a trust, being approachable and making the effort to get to know them, which is why we enjoy spending extra time with them outside of the workplace environment. Sometimes it’s the smaller things that make the difference, for example, we know all of our customers’ birthdays and make sure that we send them a birthday card that is personally signed by all of the team. We’re also in regular touch with our customers, whether this is on the phone, by video call, email or visiting them on site. Even if they call on a Saturday morning, they know that I will always pick up the phone and be happy to help. They need to know that they can rely on you.
What is the Knowledge Centre and how do your customers benefit from this initiative?
The Knowledge Centre is where we’re based in Eindhoven. Not only is it an office for us to work from but it is also a technical service hub for our customers; somewhere that they can come to seek advice, discuss their projects in detail with us or ask any questions that they might have. Mark, Gunther and I have over 60 years’ experience in the fire safety glass industry combined, which is a lot of experience and knowledge to draw from. Dominique has also played a fundamental role in the translation of our technical information from English to Dutch – so she too is well versed and has a thorough understanding of our complete portfolio of products.
Having the Knowledge Centre has allowed us to form better relationships with our customers as we are able to provide them with a space to come and see us face-to-face. Whether they want to arrange a meeting or quickly pop in as they are passing by, we’d like them to think of us as an extension of their own specification team and our doors are always open should they need us.
Pyroguard has its own transport partner in Benelux. How does this play a role in ensuring customer satisfaction?
We take great pride in ensuring that we deliver our fire safety glass on time and in full, every time, and without any damage – and we achieve this by working together with a reputable and reliable transport partner, COX, a company from Belgium. As people from Belgium speak both French and Dutch, the drivers are able to communicate with our colleagues when picking up orders from the factory in France, as well as with our customers when delivering to site in The Netherlands and Belgium. This is really important to us as it reduces the risk of mistakes. By having our own transport partner, customers are dealing with the same drivers every time and this something that they really do appreciate – COX is almost like an extended arm of our business.
You’re a member of a number of committees. Can you tell us more about your involvement?
Pyroguard is a member of Building Netherlands as well as the Glass Building Organisation where either myself or Mark will attend the meetings. They work on a number of campaigns, for example a recent campaign was to promote the value of glass and how to make working in the glass industry interesting for young people. For this, I have recently written articles about the benefits of solar glass and also helped to review and proof articles. It is important that any information that is published is accurate, so it is great to be able to offer our expertise.
Are there any new or exciting developments in the pipeline?
We are always working on new things! Currently, we’re working towards developing our evidence in larger timber applications as well as looking at much smarter ways of installing our glass products, which I think will be really important for our customers in the future. There is also a growing trend and an increased demand for multi-functional solutions, whether that is fire and attack, fire and solar, or fire and acoustic control, so we are continually innovating here to meet and supply customers’ and our industry’s continually evolving needs.