People in Lighting: Annik Vanbuggenhout

Annik Vanbuggenhout - Schréder BE
Annik Vanbuggenhout
Internal Sales Responsible - Schréder BE

Companies are defined by the people who work for them: for over a century, Schréder has been at the forefront of lighting thanks to its employees worldwide. Life@Schréder is where we tell the stories of the people who make Schréder what it is, taking in the 70 countries where we do business, diverse career trajectories and our collective dedication to excellence in lighting.

From inventing a whole new lighting system for the Channel Tunnel, to helping communities reach sustainability goals with lighting that respects natural biorhythms and reflects their character, we create spaces people love to live in. Behind every high-profile project, every order shipped and installed, and every lighting innovation, we have an incredible administrative team. Annik Vanbuggenhout has been part of it for more than twenty years, and works at our service centre in Bornem, Belgium where she plays a vital role in providing Schréder’s renowned customer service. 

I was born and raised in Bornem…

And I’ve been working here for several years now. When I finished school I immediately started working for a financial institution in Brussels; for a young girl at that time it was quite exciting. Although the job was interesting, I soon realised that I didn’t want to continue working in the banking industry, and also wanted something closer to home.

There was a job available at Schréder…

I started to look closer to home and there was a vacancy available at Schréder for an internal sales assistant. I applied, got the job and that was the beginning of a long career! One thing that’s nice is that a lot of my colleagues in Bornem have been here for years, as well. A lot are planning to stay until they retire… it’s a very nice company.

There’s no such thing as a typical day…

There are always new things to learn, new challenges to solve. Back in the day, working as an administrative employee was literally processing orders or quotations and talking on the phone with customers. Now, a lot has changed and the paperless desk is the new standard.
We handle projects from beginning to end: the initial quote, going into production, liaising with the Application/Engineering Department… every stage until you receive the delivery note knowing that your customer has received the goods.

I also work with customers…

I also handle the administrative part of the customer claims. Everything we do comes with a warranty, and although issues are rare, we like to get them resolved quickly. This means I liase directly with the customer, compile a dossier, arrange transport to collect faulty products, have them repaired and return them again to our customer.

… and we’re evolving internally as well. 

I work with Anne Copin, our Marketing and Communication Manager on marketing materials, and we’re also part of a group-wide process to move to a new ERP system to streamline business processes and improve the customer experience worldwide. This involves a lot of data cleansing, which is something that needs to be done all the time, and another new aspect of my role.

Annik supported the team working on the new lighting for Antwerp's Central Station, making sure the orders were delivered on time

Before I started working at Schréder I had noticed their fixtures…

Schréder is an innovative company. I love the work we’ve done in Antwerp in particular - it looks fantastic. Bornem is just outside Antwerp and it’s always a pleasure to visit. Our latest project is Central Station which was inaugurated just over a month ago. It’s regularly voted one of the world’s most beautiful train stations, so we’re delighted to have worked on it. Our lighting also shows the true glory of Grote Markt and the Cathedral of our Lady. Today, the lighting fixture has become a smart luminaire, and is part of a whole set of urban networks.

That means more things to learn about…

Schréder is not only an innovator in lighting experiences but also keeps innovating in new processes and tools. Tools such as Teams, E-learnings and classroom training keep us all motivated and learning. Over the years at Schréder my role has changed a lot and I now work for several departments doing many interesting things. It is always a new challenge, and each time you are motivated to get started.

It also offers great work-life balance...

In summer I cycle to work, so do a lot of my colleagues - it’s a great location. Flanders has great cycling infrastructure, with lots of dedicated paths, including some great lighting projects. In terms of free time, I like reading, jogging, and travelling when we get the opportunity.

Connect with Annik on LinkedIn