Head of Operations
Pieter Pot’s grocery delivery service, with circular packaging as its USP, is driven by the idea of eliminating packaging waste in the food industry. Supported by a capital injection, Pieter Pot is now ready to scale internationally. The Head of Operations will take on a crucial role in professionalization, warehouse centralization, and internationalization.
About Pieter Pot
Pieter Pot is an impact-driven organization. The company is on a mission to show that sustainability can be sexy, easy, and affordable. Dutch consumers open an average of seven new plastic packages every day. Some of those are functional for mere minutes before being added to the ever-growing global waste pile. Pieter Pot takes disposable packaging from the equation by working only with sustainable, circular food containers. They currently outsource the filling of the containers to social workplaces and suppliers. Fulfillment is done in the central Pieter Pot warehouse. Next, the jars are distributed to consumers who have ordered online. Finally, they are collected, cleaned, and re-used in the same way, over and over again. From spaghetti to peanut butter: if it can be put in a jar, Pieter Pot can get it in your pantry.
At this moment, Pieter Pot has prevented the use of almost 1.6 million single-use packages. They save CO2 with every order and are changing the packaging system at large. Furthermore, by partnering with sheltered workshops for some of its picking and packaging operations, Pieter Pot also contributes by creating opportunities for people who cannot participate in the regular economy.
What began as an ideal-driven start-up by founders Jouri Schoemaker and Martijn Bijmolt is now a company of around 120 employees. Their consumer success is so high that new customers have to sign up for a waitlist. Pieter Pot is simultaneously scaling up and centralizing its operations while expanding abroad. The first customers in Belgium have already been onboarded and Germany will follow later this year. This strategy is supported by a capital injection of €9 million from impact investors – funding that comes with a clear command to neutralize the CO2 footprint of all of Pieter Pot’s operations. In other words: a massive operational challenge, for which Pieter Pot is looking to attract a stellar Head of Operations.
Vacancy: Head of Operations
Pieter Pot’s operations allow the company to add value. They consist of sorting the inventory of jars filled centrally or by partners; picking orders and getting them ready for distribution by PostNL; unpacking the empty jars (collected and also returned by PostNL) and sorting them for washing; cleaning the used jars, and re-distributing them to the packing centers. The logistics and planning around this are also part of Pieter Pot’s operations. So far, the operations have always been the limitation to Pieter Pot’s growth, as demand has always been higher than capacity.
The mandate for the new Head of Operations is a serious one, as Pieter Pot is an operations business par excellence. The Head of Operations would be crucial in any operations-centric organization. But on top of that, Pieter Pot is embarking on a significant organizational change and ambitious growth. As such, the new Head of Operations will need to bring a degree of structure and calm to the way of working, planning and communicating, while also leading a large warehouse centralization project and getting the company’s operations ready for the scheduled internationalization.
Like many former start-ups, Pieter Pot deals with organizational challenges that come with being an ambitious, high-paced young company that has grown out of its seams. All employees of Pieter Pot, half of whom work in operations, are highly passionate about the company’s mission and have shown a keen willingness to go above and beyond. But there has not always been sufficient budget or space to give back to these employees by investing in learning and development or setting up reliable processes or communication guidelines.
“The Head of Operations will add immediate value to the organization by implementing a structured way of working and communicating, and thoroughly supporting the operations team by setting a perspective for development and growth. To do this well, the Head of Operations needs to be a celebrated people leader who is structured and flexible, and deeply loyal to the team on the ground.” – Greetje de Haan, Head of People & Culture at Pieter Pot
Centralization, acceleration, and internationalization
The strategic challenge of making the next big scaling projects successful is centralizing, streamlining, and accelerating the supply chain and picking process. Pieter Pot may already be winning in the market thanks to its focus on sustainability. Still, the company also needs to compete with flash delivery services and commit to consumers’ high expectations in terms of speed and convenience. Centralizing warehouse operations and streamlining picking and delivery through solid processes and automation: the Head of Operations will be responsible for all operational aspects of this next phase. Therefore, the ideal candidate should have experience in fast-moving (consumer) goods and be able to implement the drivers of speed and success in this industry.
Lastly, Pieter Pot is getting ready to enter markets outside the Netherlands. A playbook is currently being created based on market entry in Belgium. In 2022, the Head of Operations will support a German country director to start up operations in Germany, and in 2023 three more countries will be added to the list. For this, the ideal candidate should have experience managing a multi-location and multi-country operations organization.
The Head of Operations is part of the leadership team and reports to the founding partners. This role is a beautiful opportunity for an experienced operations and people leader to make an impact, both from a business perspective and from a society and environment perspective.