Eindhoven is known as the City of Light. It hardly comes as a surprise, then, that this culturally rich, spirited city is home to so many bright minds. In fact, the Intelligent Community Forum, based in the USA, named Eindhoven the world’s Intelligent Community of the Year in 2011. Forbes has also named it the most inventive city in the world. The industrial high-tech heart of the Netherlands beats in Eindhoven, fed by the life-giving force of its technology and design communities. This explains why so many people from the Netherlands and abroad move to the region to work and study. The world over, Eindhoven is considered an example to follow when it comes to collaboration between the private, public and scientific sectors. Located in the North Brabant province, it's the fifth-largest city in the Netherlands, boasting a population of over 229,637 on a little less than 89 km2. Home to Philips, Dutch automobile and lorry producer DAF, as well as chip maker ASML, Eindhoven is one of the top three economic hubs in the country.
Each year, Eindhoven hosts its award-winning light art festival, GLOW, during which dozens of artists transform the city centre with breath-taking light art installations.
Bechtle direct Netherlands opened its doors in 1999, the fourth of now 14 Bechtle direct subsidiaries throughout Europe selling IT products online, by phone or by catalogue. Over time, Bechtle direct B.V. has expanded to more than 100 employees and, year after year, it ranks among the fastest-growing e-commerce companies in the Bechtle Group.
Jean-Paul Bierens, the managing director in Eindhoven, joined Bechtle in 2001. Since then, he has put together a young, highly motivated and ambitious team that serves its customers with enthusiasm and dedication. Together they pursue a shared goal of building customer relationships that will stand the test of time. Bechtle direct’s efforts in the Netherlands focus on three strategies. The first is volume business, of which a remarkable 70 percent is transacted online. The second is value business, driven by a team of nine specialists with deep knowledge of enterprise products. And finally, Bechtle direct Netherlands emphasises project business, which it pursues with great success through its very own bid team. According to Mr Bierens, the reasons for his company’s strong showing are manifold. In addition to the sales team’s numerous vendor certifications and customer-centred service, its insistence on personal contact attracts midsize customers, large corporations and public-sector institutions alike—including Bosch, Tesla, the Dutch defence ministry, IKEA and Yokogawa.
Tried and Tested.
Discover the city’s highlights according to Bechtle direct B.V. Eindhoven.
Head to the Strijp-S district to see the Evoluon, a building shaped like a flying saucer. It was gifted to the city in 1966 by Philips to celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary. Until 1989, it housed a science and technology museum, and since 1996 has been a conference and event centre.
De Strijp itself is one of the most creative and dynamic areas of the city, with events taking place year round. Come here to exercise, enjoy a delicious meal or meet friends for drinks, be inspired at the FeelGood Market, go to the cinema or visit the various festivals.
Every year in November, the Eindhoven city centre becomes a canvas for GLOW. Artists and designers from the Netherlands and abroad put on light and design exhibitions that come to life through new media technology, including computers, sensors and animations.
Eindhoven was liberated by the Allies on 18 September 1944. To commemorate the event, a 22-kilometre, illuminated route, called the Lichtjesroute, winds its way through the city every year. Enjoy the colourful lights from 18 September until the second Sunday in October.
The largest design event in northern Europe, Dutch Design Week, is held annually in late October. In addition to providing designers a podium to showcase their ideas, it highlights the link between design, technology and people.
Every day, scores of amateurs and professionals train at Eindhoven’s own swimming stadium, named after Olympic champion Pieter van den Hoogenband. The venue has also hosted various events and competitions, such as the Swim Cup Eindhoven, European Masters Championship and FINA Swimming Cup.
The Philips Stadium is home to PSV Eindhoven, founded in 1913. The club has long played in the Netherlands’ top football league, the Eredivisie.
Eindhoven is known for its animated nightlife. For a night on the town, visit the Stratumseind, the country’s longest stretch of bars, featuring over 50 cafés, bars and clubs one after another. Not far from the lively bar scene is the city centre, with a number of inviting outdoor restaurants.
The Trattoria Mangiare is located on Kleine Berg street. Here you can enjoy mouthwatering, seasonal dishes in a welcoming, authentic Italian setting. Also worth a visit is the trendy MOOD Restaurant, whose menu offers such delicacies as carpaccio, quail, oysters, Dover sole and lamb fillet—as well as an extensive sushi selection.
For the past 20 years, Eindhoven Culinair has turned Whitsun weekend into a delight for the senses. The Stadswandelpark offers a smorgasbord of cheese, meats, fish, organic specialities, exquisite baked goods, oysters, ice cream and tapas. Various restaurants also serve organic wine, champagne, tea and coffee, cocktails, beer and fresh juice.
At the core of it is a personal, lasting and close relationship with the customer. A good relationship changes the entire purchasing experience. If we know a customer inside and out, then other factors take precedence over the price. That’s why we always keep our promises, and we never presume to be the best. Arrogance is a terrible salesman!
One saying in particular comes to mind immediately: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” That’s a good description of us. There’s still much we want to accomplish together.
I think our customers can truly sense that we’re there to help them—and that we have the expertise to streamline their business, improve processes and ultimately cut costs. Our customers value not only professional service, but also personal attention and support. A key element of this is the ability to put ourselves in their shoes. This is particularly crucial for us, as we conduct business almost exclusively over the phone. And my team does it very well.
It’s the simple things that make all the difference. Following through on commitments, being honest at all times, connecting with others. Our customers want to enjoy their job, too; no one likes being on the receiving end of a pushy sales pitch. If there’s a need, we’ll help find a solution. But besides that, it’s also important to focus on the right customers. You can’t do everything equally well. That’s why you sometimes just have to say no. Instead of doing it yourself, you can offer to provide the service through an external provider, for example.
Having started as an account manager, becoming the managing director in 2009 was, of course, a big personal accomplishment. Another highlight was when we grew our earnings by 60 percent in 2010. And this year, I’m absolutely thrilled about the 40 percent revenue growth we’ve seen in the first two quarters.
I like that we communicate directly and on a personal level, despite the Group’s size. I always tell my employees that cream rises to the top, and that each one of them is in control of their own future at Bechtle. Our financial stability also makes us a long-term market player and a lasting partner for our customers. I approach my role as managing director with the mindset of an independent entrepreneur. That’s because we’re given the freedom we need to implement our ideas, and I find that truly exceptional.
I want to be the best, but without sacrificing the fun or rigorous focus on quality.
I run a lot, anywhere from 80 to 100 kilometres each week.
When I was in school—I wasn’t what you would call a star pupil—I would always tell my parents, “Everything will be fine!” And, so far, it has, in both my professional and private life.
Published on Sep 1, 2018.