"Looking forward to setting up our data analytics services in a local context"

Olivier Nonneman, supply network analyst for Ahlers China

Antwerp / Belgium / October 5th

ASNIA, the Ahlers Supply Network Innovation & Analytics team was founded in Belgium in 2015. A bold move for Ahlers and the whole logistics industry, but we knew from the start that ASNIA had to be an international initiative. Today, we are two years down the line and on the verge of starting up a second team in China.

After a two month training by the ASNIA team in Antwerp, Olivier Nonneman, Belgian by passport but Chinese by heart, is ready to move to Shanghai and represent ASNIA on behalf of Ahlers China.

“I will spend a fair deal of my time developing ASNIA in China, which means I’ll be introducing the benefits and results of supply chain optimization to our existing customer base. The best approach would be to pro-actively analyze their tender results, visualize their costs breakdowns and benchmark on rates.”

You were with the Belgian ASNIA team for two months prior to your move to China. Does this mean you are ready to introduce their way of working in your own region?

“I’m ready to provide the ASNIA services on the Chinese market. Therefore, my first challenge will be to set up ASNIA in a local context. The data resources and systems are different, but that’s not necessarily negative. I am determined to set up a suitable working method that will make tender analysis as efficient here as it is in Belgium. Efficiency saves time and eventually improves accuracy of the analysis."

ASNIA is all about big data. Are the Chinese companies ready to hand over their (often) confidential data to a European company, represented by a European?

“Conducting business in China is very different from conducting business in Europe. Guanxi, the relationship, is very important in achieving anything locally. A good connection between two business partners is essential for mutual trust and confidence. In my opinion Europeans are more inclined to put economic factors first.
But I’m convinced we have what it takes to check both those boxes. I speak the language, am familiar with the culture and will be working together with a team of Chinese colleagues. If you add that to the consistency and efficiency of the results ASNIA has provided up until now, I have no reason to be anything less than very positive about our Chinese adventure.”

Where does your passion for China come from?

“You could call it love at first sight. After spending a holiday there a couple of years ago, I was completely sold. And when I had the opportunity to combine my studies with an internship abroad, I immediately chose to go back to Shanghai. I’ve been living there now for the past 2,5 years, completed my language studies, took several internships and got my bachelor degree.
I’m in love with the Chinese culture, the people and the food. Shanghai is a great city to live as a European, thanks to a well balanced mix between Chinese and Western culture. I can't imagine a better place to live and work.”

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