Martijn Mennen - CIO Agristo
Cases - 28.09.2022
Agristo makes frozen products based on potatoes or potato varieties (parsnips, sweet potato, etc.). Not an industry you would immediately associate with innovation and cutting-edge technology. Wrongly so, however.
Martijn Mennen, Chief Information Officer at Agristo, says:
"Like many other industries, we need to become more data driven, especially since our mission is to get as much out of the potato as possible," he explains. "On the one hand, by producing efficiently and, on the other hand, by putting the food product concerned to its best use. For example, a potato contains the nutritious starch - the more of that we can market, the more people we can feed."
Realising this also requires (a lot of) data about that potato. These data are subsequently used in the process as efficiently as possible. For that reason, Mennen's responsibilities under the data governance section include AI and big data. "In other words, innovation is a crucial pillar within Agristo," he continues. "In any case, the market knows us as an innovative company that looks for long-term solutions. Many companies claim the same thing, but we do it effectively. For that reason, we invest a lot in new technology and techniques. But as innovation often involves experimenting, you need the right profiles for that."
This is where INNDUCE.me comes in. Agristo was wondering whether it had those profiles in house and whether they were being used in the best place and in the right way. "A training course on communication taught us that everyone communicates in their own way - neither good nor bad - and that it is therefore important to have the right profile talking about the right things. It's exactly the same with innovation We concluded that you need the right profiles if you want to do it right..
Through a Delaware webinar, we got in touch with the INNDUCE.me concept, which identifies innovation profiles through assessments. This obviously was the partner we needed to screen our IT department and objectively examine whether the people working on innovative or experimental projects today are the most suitable ones. Some positive surprises came out of this: for example, some employees unexpectedly turned out to be perfectly suited to enter unknown territory and experiment and innovate there - without knowing where they would land. Moreover, it prompted us to start screening more for this skill in our recruitment processes."
Since 1986, Agristo has become a global player in the development and production of frozen potato products. As a Belgian company headquartered in Harelbeke and with additional production sites in Nazareth, Wielsbeke and Tilburg (Netherlands), we and our 1,000 employees specialize in offering an extremely varied range of fries and derived potato products, tailored to each customer's needs.