Nikolaos Bessas

Head of Global Supply Chain Quality Assurance, Metro AG

1. Why did you choose a career in quality assurance and food safety?

My father was a medical doctor and saved the lives of many people. When I was a child, he would dedicate much of his time to it. Because of this, I decided to pursue a job where I could reduce his workload by providing safe food to people! All jokes aside, I found quality assurance and food safety very interesting from the beginning because of this duty of protecting the health of people. While the doctor is acting mainly reactively, the food safety professional is developing a proactive protective framework that ensures a safe food production and supply chain.

2. What are the main responsibilities in your role?

My role is to ensure the Food Safety and Quality of our Global Supply Chain operations. Our products travel through 25 countries across Europe and Asia, moving from suppliers to regional warehouses, country warehouses, stores and customers. My role is to ensure that during this flow of the products from production to the end customer, there are no gaps on food safety as well as no factors that can influence their quality and freshness. In order to achieve that, it’s important to develop and implement a global food safety strategy supported by a robust food safety management system, implement best practices in the different markets and promote innovation.

3. What are your biggest challenges on a daily basis?

My mission is to support the fulfilling of our customers’ needs, so we can prove every day that we are the “Champion for Independent Business”. Challenges like customer satisfaction, ensuring the appropriate flow of goods to the different markets, interaction with colleagues and suppliers from different countries around the world is part of the everyday job, but the transformation of those challenges into opportunities is what makes this job very interesting.

4. How do envisage the role of QA developing in the next 5years?

I think quality and food safety will change a lot in the next 5 years. Technology is positively changing our life at a very high speed. I think 10 years in the future when we are discussing how QA was performed in the past, the discussion will sound similar to how it sounds today in that I have to go to a library in order to collect information about a topic. I think all the evolution of Internet of Things, Blockchain technology, the improvement on sensors and their cost will significantly change the way we deal with food safety. I believe the food safety professionals of the future will have very powerful tools on their hands for performing their job and we will be very jealous of what we didn’t have!