We’re heading for a new frontier, one both unknown and deeply familiar. Although we’ve had a Belgian office from the start, our main client base is in California and Australia. Now we’re ready to think bigger, and new sales director Simon Kerkhofs is the guy who is making it happen. Hear about how he is heading Qcify’s expansion into the European market:
Familiar friends & a leap into the unknown
Simon knows CEO Raf Peeters from way back, when they worked at sorting technology company Visys together. Raf then moved to California, but the two stayed in touch and grabbed a beer together once in a while. “Qcify always appealed to me, but at the time it was focused on the California market,” says Simon. “It was written in the stars though that if anything ever happened in Europe, we would be in contact about it. And that’s how it went! We were chatting on the phone when Raf asked if I was interested in being part of their European expansion.”
COVID-19 made it clearer how dependent the business is on California’s seasons. “So it makes sense to enter some new markets,” says Simon. “R&D is happening here too, so it’s only logical.” Simon didn’t have to think long about getting involved. “I was ready for the next step,” he says. “I wanted to be part of a strategic team where I could make a difference.” Being somewhat risk averse, he is happy to be back among familiar faces: Raf, as well as others on the Qcify team he has worked with before. “It’s a leap into the unknown, but at the same time it’s really not,” he says.
Business development par excellence
Simon’s main mission: to introduce the current Qcify products, the newest two machines, in the EMEA region. “I am doing this by looking for the right strategic partners,” he says. “You can’t do it all yourself.” His other main goal is to expand the European team, adding a sales support function.
Next on the horizon are some big questions: where does Qcify want to go with its systems? Which applications offer the most potential? “Belgium is all about the vegetable and French fry industries,” Simon explains. “I’ve built up a lot of customer relationships over the past years, and I think those are interesting potential markets for Qcify. We’ll be looking at how our systems should evolve mechanically and optically to serve those markets.”
Simon is excited about the broader geographic scope his new role offers: “In past roles I was limited in terms of region, but now I have carte blanche to see which countries have potential. That means a lot of possibilities and a lot of flexibility.” He will be putting to use the large network he has built up all over the world. “Now I get to choose which way I want to approach that network,” he says. “It’s great to have that freedom and the chance to put Qcify on the map.”
Even though there’s a lot of possibilities at Qcify, Simon has already noticed that we’re actually a pretty down-to-earth bunch. “It’s really a horizontal organization,” he says. “Titles don’t really interest me, but it’s nice to get that full trust and confidence. It’s the opposite of what I’m used to, and I really respect Raf for giving me that.”
Getting Qcify off the ground in Europe has become Simon’s personal mission. “I’ve noticed that everything revolves around people,” he remarks. “Personal relations are essential. You can’t do sales without them.” Being a people-focused business is also about giving employees the chance to grow, both as professionals and as human beings. “I’m looking to use the coming years at Qcify to sharpen my management skills,” says Simon. “I think that’s going to be of use as Qcify continues to grow.”
Want to know more about what Qcify can do for European clients? Drop us a line today!