Behind the scenes with Sales team member Marjo de Vrind
24 April 2023
There’s a good chance you already know Marjo. Anyone who has ever called Ritra’s sales department with a question has most likely spoken to her before. For many she has been a familiar voice since 2008. We were given unlimited access to ask Marjo all the important questions. An opportunity too good to miss! Are you reading along?
Let’s get acquainted
Marjo de Vrind was the 11th child in a big Rotterdam family. Together with her 7 brothers and 5 sisters, she grew up in the posh neighbourhood of Kralingen. At that time, it was not very common for women to start their careers in a ‘men’s world’. Marjo started her career in a very different field and settled in to the nursing profession.
After eight years, she decided to choose a new adventure. Marjo went to work in a kibbutz, a community in Israel. Various temporary jobs through an agency followed when she returned. This was when she – accidentally and unexpectedly – gained her first work experience in logistics. Soon, this proved to be a golden match. After working at Hanjin Shipping, Ebrex and Panalpina, she joined Ritra Cargo in 2008.
Our travel-loving colleague has many other hobbies to add to her wanderlust for visiting faraway and not-so-obvious destinations (Kyrgyzstan, anyone?). For instance, she enjoys reading and her colleagues enjoy her love of baking.
A working day in sales
Generally, every day starts the same. First: answer e-mails from agents, colleagues, and customers. Marjo’s role involves a lot of contact with agents. They know where to find her from across the globe.
Of course, there are also the monthly negotiations with shippers and co-loaders for new purchasing rates. After this, it’s the customer quotations. And in between all the different tasks, Marjo makes time for customer visits and telephone calls. She says it is this variety that has made her work so enjoyable for all these years.
Marjo: “You never know what questions you’ll get. There’s all sorts: requests for SUP boards from Qingdao, agricultural equipment from Egypt, gold from Ghana, coffee from Ethiopia, furniture from Indonesia.”
“We can’t help people with everything, but it is certainly very informative to learn where goods are made and what their origin is.“
Her expertise, by the way, undoubtedly lies with imports from Indonesia. She has been there several times so she knows and understands the culture, and over the years, she has developed a good relationship with colleague Gusti, who works at Ritra’s office in Denpasar.
Every now and then, a private individual will call. Unfortunately, Ritra cannot manage these shipments. Because of her experience, Marjo knows how to respond in these situations. She offers some advice and refers the person to the right party for their query.
Sharing is caring
Marjo is also quick to take new (sales) colleagues under her wing. Because of her many years of experience, she knows a lot about the logistics market, knows the culture of many countries thanks to her travels, and is always interested in the lives and loves of her customers and colleagues. She also enjoys assisting companies with transport from start to finish.
Marjo: “I like to explain the transport process to people. It keeps me sharp at the same time, like when people ask questions that are very much common knowledge to us.”
She likes to engage with the customer’s thought process. In case of any changes that might have a direct effect on operations and shipment handling, she will get involved and offer her thoughts. She tries to go the extra mile for Ritra’s customers. And she believes this is also what distinguishes Ritra.
Marjo: “The personal contact and attention to customers is what is still paramount at Ritra.”
Memories and outlook
Once you have worked somewhere for 15 years, you’ve seen a lot. What does Marjo remember most?
Marjo: “I was very surprised when I had only just started my job at Ritra and received the spring greeting for the first time. The spring greeting is a planter of flower bulbs that Team Ritra traditionally receives on the first day of spring. Such a lovely tradition! And for me, it really is a token of appreciation.”
When talking about day-to-day business, she’s brief. She’s happy.
Marjo: “The open atmosphere among colleagues and the small-scale feel of the company has always felt very pleasant to me.”
Of course, there are plenty of memories involving customers too. One of the best compliments she received was about her commitment.
Marjo: “Rather young, inexperienced people who were in the process of setting up a company and were really glad of my explanation. They felt they could ask anything and that I had taken the time for them. That’s what it’s all about!”
Finally, we asked Marjo about her objectives and plans for the period ahead.
Marjo: “I have learned a lot at Ritra, I hope to celebrate my 67th birthday next year and I can look back at a very enjoyable and challenging job. I think I will quietly start preparing for my retirement…”
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