Home > Podcast > EMEA Recruitment Podcast > EMEA Recruitment Podcast #156 – Digital Ways of Working – Andries Feikema

EMEA Recruitment Podcast #156 – Digital Ways of Working – Andries Feikema

March 24th, 2023

We were happy to welcome Andries Feikema, Global Director Procurement Digitalization and Transformation at DSM, onto the EMEA Recruitment podcast. 

“It’s not tool implementation, it’s business transformation.”

Speaking to Paul Toms, Andries explains how nice it is to see people face-to-face again; he recently had the opportunity to meet someone he hired a year ago face-to-face for the first time since travel restrictions were eased. 

Andries also shares the last thing that made him smile, which was finding out his youngest daughter was selected for one of the two seats being offered at an academic hospital for an internship.

In terms of time management, remote working has made Andries’ life much easier. Working from home means less time travelling and the ability to be more present. 

However, he admits that it is still important to meet people in person and to find the right balance. At the beginning of the pandemic, Andries really enjoyed remote working, but now, with people returning to the office, he is also enjoying that. 

With nearly 11 years at DSM, there is never a dull moment for Andries, as there are many opportunities and challenges at the company. He mentions the upcoming merger, which will bring some new dynamics to his role. He is also very passionate about digitalisation, sharing the benefits it can bring to a Procurement function and to the wider organisation.

DSM started its digitisation journey in 2013/14. Since then, it has been extended further and matured. In 2018, with the design of the business case and funding for the journey, the fundamentals were put in place as part of the digital roadmap. 

Andries stresses the growing need for information. In order to get the right information, you need the right data, he explains. And, to obtain the right data, you need to have digital processes in place to supply the information to build upon sourcing strategies. He also emphasises the increasing importance of advanced and predictive analytics versus descriptive analytics.

From a personality perspective, being open minded is the stand-out trait that Andries believes has helped him in his role. Being open to change, feedback and ideas, as well as being organisation sensitive, people sensitive and culturally sensitive, is an important skill, he believes.  

Referencing Simon Sinek’s Start with Why, Andries claims that organisations must be able to explain why they do what they do, otherwise it’s difficult to make change.  

Paul asks about the start of Andries’ Procurement career. 20 years ago, he began a traineeship at a bank and completed a Procurement assignment. From there, he met people at the right time and came in connection with NEVI (the Dutch Association for Procurement and Supply Management).

Looking at how to find the right people for the organisation, Andries starts with the profiles he is looking for, the aspirations of the organisation, and makes sure he is supported by the HR department or external recruiters. 

The skillsets required to get into the discipline – and the skills needed to become better business partners – include analytical, conceptual and advisor skills, along with the ability to collaborate with the business and suppliers. 

Throughout Andries’ career, many people have inspired him. He mentions a previous Chief Procurement Officer at a huge oil company, who inspired Andries on a leadership level and how to make a change.

Andries will be giving talks at summits and roundtables throughout the year talking about DSM’s digital transformation, sharing knowledge and building a network. If you would like to find out more, please connect with Andries on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andriesfeikema/ 

The EMEA Recruitment podcast is available wherever you listen to your podcasts.

If you’re interested in a particular part of the episode, please use these timestamps: 

01:30: Travelling after COVID 03:30: The last thing that made Andries smile 05:00: How Andries manages his time 05:55: The flexibility of working from home 08:00: Approaching 11 years at DSM 09:10: His role as Global Director Procurement Digitalization and Transformation 11:20: Digital ways of working 14:20: Biggest challenges for the next few years 18:35: Personality characteristics that help Andries in his role 20:15: Focusing on the why 22:25: How Andries started his Procurement career 27:30: Key steps for getting the right talent 32:00: The effect of BI & data on the Procurement function 33:20: The skillset needed to get into the discipline 35:40: How cultural awareness helps Andries as a leader 38:00: Andries’ opinion on remote working 40:30: The people who have inspired Andries 42:00: Keynote speaking 44:00: Future events


EMEA Recruitment is proud to support Operation Smile, an international medical charity that provides free surgery to children and adults with cleft lip and palate. We’re on a mission to create 100 new smiles through our partnership. If you’re able to support in any way, please visit: https://www.operationsmile.org.uk/donate-to-operation-smile/donate-to-operation-smile-emea-recruitment/


The EMEA Recruitment podcast is hosted by Paul Toms, our Founder, and Rose Jinks, Marketing Manager.

To learn more about our professional services recruitment, including our specialist Procurement & Supply Chain division, please visit our website: https://www.emearecruitment.com/ 

You can also keep up to date with us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/emea-recruitment-limited/ 

If you’d like to reach out to Paul, please find him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paultoms/ 

You can also follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/paul_toms 


Do you have any feedback for us? Please get in touch with Rose: rose.jinks@emearecruitment.com 


#emearecruitment #emearecruitmentpodcast #andriesfeikema #paultoms #operationsmile  #operationsmileuk #procurement #digitalization

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