From joining Vanderlande 1.5 years ago to leading in a global role

In his leisure time, Shashank Kamerkar likes to plan trips so he can explore places that are off the beaten track. Since joining Vanderlande’s Global Capability Centre in Pune 1.5 years ago, he has also been on a journey of discovery at work from learning a new business domain to leading in a global role.

Author

Shashank Kamerkar

Chief Product Owner

My current role is Chief Product Owner, taking responsibility for the Logistics Process “agile release train”, which the company deploys for developing warehousing solutions. Although I’m based in India, my role is a global one, as I work with several teams based here, as well as in The Netherlands and Germany.

As the Chief Product Owner, I work with varied stakeholders so that development teams are working on the right set of requirements to deliver solutions that meet customers’ expectations. I define the scope and priorities of what we want to develop, which contributes towards delivery of our solution – and then our global teams execute the work.

Warehousing is a complex and challenging domain, but I am thoroughly enjoying it. For me, Vanderlande’s key asset is its people, many of whom have helped me to settle in and understand the business. I had a good feeling, even from my initial interview – the recruitment experts really knew what they wanted and answered my questions in a way that instilled a sense of confidence to join this organisation.

When I first joined, I was only the second hire in a new team within software development. There was no one in Pune on product development side who could share the knowledge I needed to do my job, so I had to quickly build relationships with people in The Netherlands and USA. Those colleagues were only too happy to help us get started.

At Vanderlande, the support to develop your career is amazing. Although I have been working with “agile” for over 12 years, I’ve improved my knowledge through various training programmes. I also got the opportunity to visit warehouses – such as Albert Heijn and Van Gelder in The Netherlands – that use our solutions. Those experiences helped me to visualise warehousing operations thus improving my domain know-how.

My understanding of the domain has improved, thanks to the informal mentorship of several colleagues and managers. Many senior colleagues have taken the time and patiently answered my questions – this has tremendously helped me to do my job better.

When I was promoted to Chief Product Owner, those same people continued to guide me, and still do so today. In some ways, the speed of the promotion was surprising to me, but as a company, Vanderlande believes if a certain person is right for a position, then they will be given the opportunity. To succeed in my role and boost my skills, I am now undertaking leadership training, as I didn’t play such a role in my previous organisations.

Since joining Vanderlande, I feel my leadership skills are improving, along with my ability to forge relationships with stakeholders. As I’ve grown into my career, and gained more confidence, I also believe I’ve become a better decision-maker. In the future, I would like to become a subject matter expert in the warehousing domain, so I can bring even more value to the organisation.

When I’m not at work, I like to socialise with family and friends – so my love for connecting with people comes in handy. I also like to travel to off-beat places, arranging my own curated itineraries. My favourite holidays have been a road trip to Hampi in southern India, and a visit to the Swiss alpine region to view the Trümmelbach waterfalls, which lie inside a mountain. You could say I like an exciting, interesting journey both personally and professionally!

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