Working at VLOG: interlocking gears with a family feel
VLOG in Zwolle is the control tower for almost everything AbbVie ships worldwide. We are 150 people with one mission: getting the right medication to the right place at the right time. To do this, everyone needs to participate. From Quality Assurance to Supply Chain Planning, and from Global Trade Compliance to Finance: we are interlocking gears.
I’ve been working at VLOG for about a year in the Logistics Finance department. I specialize in Hedging and NPIs. Basically, I try to minimize the impact of fluctuating exchange rates on our company’s earnings. AbbVie sells their products all over the world, which means dealing with almost 20 different currencies. Given our large shipment volume, even a small fluctuation in the exchange rate can have a great impact. In addition, I focus on the financial side of New Product Introductions (NPIs). Before medication can be marketed and sold, a lot of work has to be done including financial setup.
Never a dull moment – and that is an understatement
We work in a strictly regulated industry, in a strictly regulated environment. That is why we spend 15 to 20 weeks of the year working on audits. And it’s very important that these audits are carried out correctly – otherwise everything stops. So you could say that there’s never a dull moment at VLOG. And that’s an understatement. There is always a lot to do and the work is complex; the forecasts change all the time, and our team is relatively small. The entire Finance department consists of only 25 people; yet we achieve so much together. That always amazes me and makes me feel proud. I think it’s cool that I get to work with so many bright people and that we have a real family feel.
The same goes for working with the other VLOG departments, by the way. And for working internationally. Of course, it helps that everyone genuinely feels that they are part of our mission. I mean, I don’t hand out medication to patients myself, but I do know what I’m working for. And even if I didn’t, AbbVie always reminds us by organizing events like Patient Experience Week, for instance.
Learning from things you don’t encounter anywhere else
I started working at AbbVie right after my graduation in 2013, in the AbbVie Finance Development Program. Since then, I’ve taken on a few different Finance roles, mainly in Commercial and in Manufacturing. The bridge between those two? That’s the Supply Chain. And that’s why I became interested in VLOG. It seemed like the perfect place to learn and grow as a financial professional. The things you encounter here just don’t happen anywhere else in the company. When it comes to hedging, VLOG really is our global center of excellence.
I’m now on a three-year expat assignment. My wife and I were lucky enough to be in a position where we could do this. Our apartment in Chicago was a rental, we don’t have kids, and we were ready for an adventure. We haven’t regretted it for even a second. I’ve experienced the Netherlands to be quite nice in many ways – from the buildings to the Dutch culture and lifestyle. I hadn’t been on a bike in years, but now I’ve embraced cycling just like the locals! There are a lot of small things that, together, make this an amazing experience – both personally and professionally.
What will I be doing after this assignment? I don’t know yet. But I certainly see myself staying with AbbVie. So far, it’s been very positive. I’ve never stopped learning, we do valuable work, and it’s a pleasure working with all these smart, driven people. The company is large enough that there will always be a place where I can find a good mental challenge while supporting our mission of having a remarkable impact on patients’ lives!