An Interview with
René van Baardewijk
Rebain International is a chemical raw material supply company, founded in 1998 and with offices in Spain, The Netherlands and Australia supplying products to over 120 countries.
Logistics, Transportation and warehousing
Tell us about your background, and what are you most passionate about?
I´m a Dutchman by origin, but have lived in over 10 countries before finally settling in Barcelona, spain in 2000. I´m very open minded and interested in other people, culture and history. As an avid sportsman I always have some sneakers in my luggage to do a quick run in the morning wherever I may be.
How has your industry been changing in recent years? What are the biggest challenges you think your industry will face in the next 3-5 years?
In the chemical trading change is a constant, new products, new technologies, changing prices, duties, trade barriers etc. We always need to be on top of whats happening. The world is becoming more and more global which is both an opportunity and a threat, one needs to be focussed on the changes.
What personality traits make you such an effective or influential leader? In a few words, how would you describe your leadership philosophy?
We are a very horizontal organization we like to give everyone as much responsibility as they can handle, as this makes us stronger as a group. Lead by example!!
How would others define your communication style? Do you prefer to be close to your employees or maintain a healthy distance, and why?
I guess people find me easy to approach as I´m genuinely interested in other people, be it customers, suppliers or my employees. I respect them, and they respect me.
Can you describe a time when you had to make a tough decision (e.g. budget cuts, organizational restructuring, market withdrawal, etc.)? What did you do and what was the result?
Well Covid forced us to lay off staff which is never an easy thing but it was necessary and it helped us to restructure and become leaner, this should help us for the rest of 2020.
What does the future hold for your company after the COVID-19 pandemic? How will the “new normal” look like in the next 1-2 years?
For a trading company there are always opportunities, the biggest threat at the moment we see is in the slowing of payments of many of our customers and this is a chain reaction. For the next 12 months I foresee little travel outside of Europe visiting fairs etc, hopefully by 2021 things will normalize.
What is your advice to other leaders on how to ‘thrive, not just survive” in the face of economic difficulties and tough business environment?
With a crises there are always opportunities but you need to be on top of them and you will find them!! Stay lean and make sure you know whats happening in the markets