Ronald de Wildt, Commercial manager at Karpack BV, works on developing new business and strategies for Karpack, a packaging company that produces, customises and delivers just-in-time corrugated cardboard packaging and boxes for fresh produce, floriculture and retail users. In the last three years, Karpack has increased its turnover by more than 10 per cent a year.

Ronald is responsible for the commercial strategy of the company as well as managing its food packaging business unit. He joined RSM’s Erasmus Executive Programme in Strategic Management, a course of 11 plenary sessions spread over three months.

From book to business case to practice

He describes learning how to use economic models and make them work in real life. “Everything starts with what you learn from a book, but the teachers at RSM made sure that they always referred to real business cases and they gave great examples for me to apply them in practice. Based on what I learned, I have now reconsidered the way we do business. And I concluded that it is very easy to accidentally miss out certain steps when you’re planning for an otherwise good and well-evaluated business decision.

“Lots of the issues that we discussed affect me at work, so I found this a very relevant study. That relevance also made it easier to adapt what I learned to my everyday practice. I could use some of the advice that our teachers gave us right away in my daily business.

Face your competitors

“One of my concerns, and my reason for needing to have more knowledge was the development and large growth in our market of a competitor with a different product. This situation is not unique, we have seen similar cases in other industries; some of them were discussed during the Erasmus Executive Programme in Strategic Management. I needed to develop a proposition so the company can face its competitors and changes in our core market; ultimately so we can prevent further decline in sales volume.”

Karpack’s specific challenge was to switch from its current business model – which is still very successful – to a different business model. “Again, there are a lot of companies who deal with similar situations,” commented Ronald.

“My strategic development plan is a proposition that lays out the actions that are needed so we can  switch to a different business model in the future. It hasn’t been implemented yet but will be discussed very soon.

“I found that I enjoyed using what I had learned during the sessions; it showed that my studies have value. And it’s good to know these theories and use them in my daily business life. Writing my strategic development plan has helped me understand the value of theoretical economic models and to apply them in practice. I’d say that the programme would be useful for anyone in a leadership role who is involved in building strategy within their organisation. I enjoyed it a lot; RSM is an inspirational place to study.”

For more information about RSM’s Erasmus Executive Programme in Strategic Management, see www.rsm.nl/esm.