Technical Advisor Benny Vervaeck is one of the most experienced members of the team. He has been active on the Asian market on behalf of Puratos for almost 30 years.
Day in, day out, a dedicated team of technical advisors is actively engaged in bringing Puratos’ products and concepts to our customers, from demonstrations at their place of business and training local teams to developing new recipes. Our technical advisors travel the world, avidly keeping abreast of all the latest trends. In this series of interviews, we would like to introduce you to the specialists.
Technical Advisor Benny Vervaeck is one of the most experienced members of the team. He has been active on the Asian market on behalf of Puratos for almost 30 years. This has allowed him to become famous in Asia. “It really feels like home to me.”
Benny made his first journey to Japan in May 1988. Since then, he has been crazy about Asia, and Asia has been crazy about him. “I give demonstrations, solve problems and help local bakers or manufacturers create even better-quality and more profitable finished applications with our ingredients.” Virtually every baker across the Asian continent knows his name. “Around five years ago I had to give a demonstration to 400 people in China. Once the presenter announced me the crowd started to cheer ‘Benny, Benny, Benny’ to welcome me on the demonstration stage. The people are very hospitable.”
What it takes
His lengthy track record has made Benny into a role model for the younger generation of technical advisors. “What it takes to be a good technical advisor? Experience in the bakery industry is very important. You have to be trustworthy, be able to explain things clearly and have a strong personality. You need to be able to enthuse. People have to want to listen to you and accept the information you give them. Part of this can be learned, but another part you simply have to be born with. In addition to this, you must be self-disciplined in your way of working. That is extremely important in our line of business and daily routine.”
30 years of experience
According to Benny, there are many things that have remained unchanged in the past few years. “I have been giving demonstrations for 30 years, and my approach is basically still the same. We still offer our customers lots of ideas and inspiration. However, a great deal has changed on the market itself. Puratos itself has experienced tremendous growth over the years. Competition has become stiffer, and our customers have become increasingly demanding.” After all these years, the products made by Puratos hold no secrets for Benny. “I know them inside-out. However, as technical advisors we undergo continuous training so that we will always be able to inform our customers as accurately as possible. Previously, we had one standardised approach for all our customers, but these days we adapt the information to the person with whom we are speaking. After all, you will convince a small artisan baker with different arguments than the director of a large chain. We are now better able to identify and respond to specific needs than ever before.”
Never say never
“My strongest character trait is flexibility. I always say that when the customer is satisfied, I am too. Never in the 30 years that I have worked here have I ever said ‘no’ to a customer. The strangest thing anyone ever asked me? That was in Vietnam. A customer wanted me to make chocolate decorations from genuine couverture chocolate and was adamant about this. The problem was that the ambient temperature was 40 degrees Celsius. Chocolate will simply not set at temperatures this high. We went ahead and did it anyway, on an aluminium table, under which two Vietnamese people sat holding a tray full of ice to keep the table cool. This way, I could prepare my chocolate decorations onto the paper and cool it down as quickly as possible to allow it to set.”
During our interview, we asked a few additional questions to Benny: