An increase in milk production combined with a decrease in demand for dairy turn Europe into a challenging market. Arla Food’s strategy is clear: the focus is on its strong brands such as Arla, Melkunie, Lurpak, Apetina and Castello. This strategy has paid dividends: over the first half of 2016 Arla’s strategic brands have grown by 6%. Large-scale growth in this market doesn’t happen based on gut feelings; choices are made based on an understanding of the cash flows and a sharp insight into the market. This is exactly why Commerce and Finance work closely together to ensure the right decisions are being made.
Arla Foods produces milk, yoghurt, curd, butter and cheese. All made from natural ingredients without any use of chemical processing or artificial additives. The vanilla in the dairy comes from actual vanilla beans and natural honey extracts or biological cane sugars are used as a sweetener. Arla is no. 5 on the list of largest dairy corporations worldwide. Over 12.700 farmers from seven different countries have joined forces with Arla. The headquarters are located in Denmark and Arla Foods has commercial organizations in thirty countries worldwide. Every year, in their production plant in the Netherlands, Arla processes close to 80 million gallons of milk.
Commercial Finance at Arla Foods
Recently, Arla has implemented a matrix organizational structure. For the Finance department this means they will be working closely together with the operational side of the business. Hicham Azahaf heads up the Finance department and reports to the General Manager of Arla Netherlands. Hicham intends to further professionalize the interdepartmental co-operation in order to optimize the commercial performance for all of Arla Foods’ categories. The Commercial Business Controller Arla is looking for will play a key role in this transition and in their new strategic direction.
About the vacancy for Commercial Business Controller
The Commercial Business Controller is a strategic, analytical and substantive business partner for Marketing and Category Management. They understand the challenges faced by a large FMCG organization. This position doesn’t just require the appropriate knowledge and experience, the Commercial Business Controller also wears the hat of a relationship manager who knows how to listen, one that askes the right questions, one that proactively provides different insights and finally one that develops the right business plan for any given situation.
“Occasionally you will spend time at different departments to help them tackle specific problems head on and gain a deeper understanding of what goes on outside of your own department. Using our finance background and our keen business sense, we want to achieve better results.” – Hicham Azahaf, Commercial Finance Manager
The Commercial Business Controller is in direct contact with three groups of professionals: marketers, sales professionals and category managers. The Commercial Business Controller is involved with:
- Marketing Controlling – The Commercial Business Controller studies the marketing expenses, they will analyse the best practices and will support the marketeers in the decision making process.
- Business partner for Marketing – In support of the Marketing Managers and the Brand Managers, the Commercial Business Controller will analyze business cases and business plans to make sure of their feasibility and cost-effectiveness.
- Category Management – Shelf arrangement, portfolio composition and the products’ availability in the channels are all dials which can be used to fine tune the operation and optimize the net profit. The Commercial Business Controller is involved with calculating and projecting the category strategy’s costs for different retailers and, where necessary, providing the Category Managers with well substantiated advice.