Six Sigma Yellow Belt: still a hot topic in consultancy

13 Jul 2023
Why is Six Sigma still a hot topic? Every year at Pauwels Consulting we offer training courses on the topic, such as Yellow Belt in Lean Six Sigma, and the training sessions are always full. We have already been able to offer some 60 consultants this Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt training. We are happy to continue to encourage this because it is a great added value for our customers. Kris Van Nieuwenhove is our Subject Matter Expert and now trains other consultants and he is a mentor as well. He talks about why the methodology is a powerful tool across industries.

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a methodology that focuses on eliminating errors and reducing variation in processes, which promotes efficiency and ultimately cost reduction. By having consultants in-house with knowledge of Six Sigma, companies can better identify problems and solve them for good within their processes. This way, they can aim for better quality products, higher customer satisfaction and an increase in revenue. Moreover, trained consultants can help companies establish a culture of constant improvement to foster long-term success and sustainability. Overall, we can say that Six Sigma is a valuable resource for consultants because it can serve their clients during projects and help them become more competitive.

What is Lean?

Six Sigma focuses on reducing or eliminating variation in processes, while Lean focuses on eliminating waste. In practice, they complement each other because process problems are rarely caused solely by waste or variation.

Why is Lean Six Sigma important to our customers?

Our consultants are there to move the client’s projects forward and for that we want to support them to solve and prevent problems in a structured way. Someone with an understanding of Lean Six Sigma can practically notice the difference between a symptom of a problem and its cause. In this way, we go a step further for our customers than just expected project progress.


Can I have Six Sigma implemented?

At Pauwels Consulting, with Kris Van Nieuwenhove and fellow consultants, we have years of expertise to implement the Lean Six Sigma method at our clients. We also offer in-company training to support your employees in practice.

Our QHSE expert Luc Marivoet has more than 30 years of experience in Quality Management. He helps Pauwels Consulting to comply with the ISO 9001 standard and to improve and standardize our operations. As a QHSE consultant, he also provides our clients with a full service for their quality management systems: he gives advice, supports implementation, and monitors compliance with standards. Luc also provides training on QHS management systems (ISO 9001 and ISO 45001).


Why we offer Yellow Belt training to consultants

Six Sigma Yellow Belt covers the basics of the method and is very broad. Here, consultants are introduced to the steps PDCA: plan, do, check, act. This is a cycle for implementing solutions and measuring the effect of efficiency efforts. To implement those steps, facts and data are essential. Making results of processes measurable, outlining customer requirements and measuring innovations are part of this. When solutions are implemented, data can be used to identify root causes.
In Six Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt this involves statistics which makes testing more in-depth, but in many business contexts it is sufficient to have someone with Yellow Belt knowledge do an initial analysis to flesh out the next steps.

Does Lean Six Sigma help with ISO 9001 certification?

While ISO 9001 is an internationally recognized standard, focused on establishing a QMS and ensuring that processes consistently meet customer requirements, Six Sigma provides a structured approach to analyzing processes and improving their performance. Six Sigma can be used to complement ISO 9001 by providing a method for identifying and addressing process problems and improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of processes. By applying Six Sigma methodologies in conjunction with ISO 9001, companies can improve their QMS and ensure that their processes are optimized for maximum quality and efficiency. Overall, Six Sigma and ISO 9001 are complementary practices that can help companies achieve their quality and business objectives.

We have Lean Si Sigma expertise

Our Six Sigma expert Kris Van Nieuwenhove started his career as a consultant at a major player in biopharma, where he provided Lean Six Sigma training and led several Six Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt projects. Afterwards, he applied that knowledge at other international companies. He helped clients in various industries on their way to operational excellence using Six Sigma and Lean methodologies to improve process efficiency. He is convinced that these methodologies work across sectors, which means they are relevant for companies outside the scope of Life Science, Pharma or Engineering as well.

In 2020 during periods of working from home, Kris went to work internally for Pauwels Consulting. He provided Lean and Six Sigma training remotely to dozens of consultants and the demand for training is not diminishing, at least 60 consultants have already been trained and we have the knowledge to provide great value to our customers.

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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer


We are ISO:9001 certified: why is this good news?

13 Jul 2023

Pauwels Consulting obtained the ISO 9001 certification for its quality management system earlier this year. This is good news, but what does it actually mean for us as a company and for our clients? Luc Marivoet is our QHSE-manager and he explains why ISO 9001 makes a difference and which misconceptions exist.

What is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 is the international standard for quality management. By obtaining the certification, Pauwels Consulting demonstrates that the quality management system meets the standards and is transparent and trustworthy. This means that the business processes in place are aligned in a way that ensures high-quality service, for example to implement changes or to absorb deviations or handle concerns of clients. A quality management system always aims to provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. And it helps to address risks and opportunities within the company and its business processes, which then facilitates opportunities to increase customer satisfaction.

Why is ISO 9001 important for our clients?

The certificate is a way to reassure our clients and other stakeholders that we offer quality and reliable services to prioritize customer satisfaction. On top of that, we are able to promise them that we strive to improve constantly. We communicate that we are customer-oriented and demonstrate this through the ISO 9001 certification as well.

Long term engagement

Obtaining the certificate is not a one-time achievement. Several teams within Pauwels Consulting have been committed for years to optimizing the processes as the company grows. The ISO 9001 certification also ensures that we are audited annually by an independent party, and through this we have objective proof that Pauwels Consulting is committed to quality and customer satisfaction. Additionally, we must also strive to constantly improve our quality management system to accommodate our increasing growth.

Why does Pauwels Consulting want to be ISO 9001 certified?

The introduction of an ISO 9001 quality management system brings more structure to our rapidly growing organization. It ensures that we further professionalize our organization and are committed to continuously improving our processes and services.  The certificate reassures our customers, stakeholders and employees because they can rely on processes that work well in a demonstrated manner.

What does an ISO 9001 audit look like?

The auditor holds all aspects of our quality management system to the norms of ISO 9001 standards. All documented information the norm requests is closely observed, and our procedures are reviewed with a critical eye.  The auditor is aware that we also help clients implement, evaluate and maintain an ISO 9001 quality management system (or QMS), so she asked very pointed questions and set the bar high for our QMS. That’s understandable, of course, because anyone offering a QMS service should have an excellent quality management system themselves! Every year the auditor will come back to evaluate our quality management system and for a cycle of 3 years, which is the validity period of the certificate. Afterwards, a recertification audit will follow.

We maintain our individuality

In addition, it is important to note that the ISO 9001 standard is logically structured and constructed to use internationally so that it is applicable to any organization, regardless of its type or size or the products and services it provides. However, the level of the quality management system will be adapted to the maturity of the organization. I sometimes compare it to a dish, take meatballs in tomato sauce, for example. In a brasserie you expect to get a classic dish, but when it’s on the menu in a starred establishment, it will probably be served with better ingredients or in a different composition. The bottom line remains that you deliver the products and services to your customers that they expect and deserve.

We raise the bar for ourselves

Now that we are certified, the next audit is a follow-up session. In the meantime, we conduct internal audits to see how we can further improve our business processes to achieve our goals. One action point for Pauwels Consulting was document management. We now have a clear document management process that ensures that all documents and information available to Pauwels Consulting are managed efficiently and in a controlled manner. It has ensured that it is always clear where the final and current version of a document can be found, that this version is easily identifiable, and that document modification and security against changes has been made manageable.

An ISO 9001 certificate turns your company into a so called ‘paper tiger’

A well-known misunderstanding about ISO 9001 is that this standard creates bureaucratic companies. This is nonsense, of course, because the current ISO 9001 standard is actually very pragmatic. It is true that earlier versions of the standard required mandatory procedures. But much has changed since then and now the standard gives freedom as well as responsibilities to the company to determine the extent of their documented information themselves. Of course, this varies from company to company because it depends on the activities performed, the complexity of the processes, the products and services, and the competence of the employees. Of course, records are still needed to have confidence that the processes are carried out as planned.  This is why we choose, for example, to use our CRM application Bullhorn and other software applications to incorporate most of the registrations into our workflows and immediately facilitate the work of our employees.

We have ISO 9001 expertise

Luc Marivoet is our QHSE Manager and has over 30 years of experience in Quality Management. He helps us to comply with the ISO 9001 standard and to improve and standardize our operation. As a QHSE consultant, he also provides our customers with a full service for their quality management systems: he gives advice, supports implementation and monitors compliance with standards. Luc also provides training on QHS management systems (ISO 9001 and ISO 45001).

We stay up-to-date

At the Pauwels Academy, he gives our consultants training in quality management and ISO certification. Luc also continues to educate himself to stay up to date with all standards. So he can also call himself IRCA certified QMS ISO9001:2015 Lead auditor and prevention consultant level 2.

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Avoiding the Car Crash of Knowledge Loss

11 Jul 2023
Discover the importance of knowledge transfer and organizational development, as external consultants seamlessly integrated into workflows help mitigate the disruptive effects of retirement. Delve into sustainable strategies for knowledge transfer and talent management. Take part in the dialogue to reshape the future of talent management and create a meaningful, long-lasting impact.

Imagine driving for the first time a car with just written directions. How long would it take before you hit a wall? That’s why a live aid comes into play. An instructor is there with you every step of the way. They don’t just tell you; they also observe, correct, and encourage you. They make a potentially disastrous situation a great learning opportunity by their expertise and real-time guidance.

Knowledge centers

In the same way, integrating learning into the workflow in our professional lives requires more than written pre-read instructions. As a keynote speaker at our latest Pauwels Consulting Customer Round Table, Cathleen Heimberg of Showpad, a renowned Learning & Development Specialist, made this point. Pharma, biotech, and engineering industry representatives contributed to the discussion with their unique perspectives. We explored not only knowledge curation but also how external consultants play a crucial role as “a drive instructor” in these processes, as well. And while the concept of “knowledge centers” is a solution to most of our customers we should not shy away from admitting the considerable challenges that come with implementing these platforms.

Cathleen Heimberg
Cathleen Heimberg, Showpad

“When the consultant leaves, we need to start all over again.” This sentiment is one that echoes through organizations across industries when external consultants complete their engagements and bid farewell. The departure of a consultant can often leave behind a void, disrupting the workflow and creating a sense of starting from scratch. This phenomenon highlights the need for a more sustainable and integrated approach to knowledge transfer and organizational development.

The impact of natural de-staffing

The departure of external consultants is not the only challenge organizations face when it comes to knowledge transfer and organizational development. Our customers bring an additional dimension to this problem, particularly with the natural de-staffing caused by the retirement of their own workforce. One of our customers is currently confronting a significant knowledge drain, as a whole generation of baby boomers, who constitute one-third of their workforce, is set to retire within the next two years. This impending wave of retirements further emphasizes the importance of implementing sustainable strategies for knowledge transfer and ensuring the continuity of operations.

Our panel of customers addressed how the knowledge drain resulting from impending retirements, organizations can benefit from the involvement of subject matter expert consultants. These consultants play a crucial role in organizing, maintaining, and distributing knowledge transfers for customers who are facing significant workforce changes due to retirement. “Embedded” consultants possess a deep understanding of the organization’s specific needs and can develop tailored strategies to capture and preserve critical knowledge. By actively engaging in the transfer of expertise, these consultants help mitigate the disruption caused by retirements, ensuring a smoother transition and minimizing the sense of starting from scratch. Their expertise and dedication contribute to a more sustainable and integrated approach to knowledge transfer and organizational development, enabling organizations to effectively navigate the challenges posed by an aging workforce.

Talent management and knowledge curation

The panel acknowledged that the absence of a well-planned knowledge transfer mechanism means that organizations must retrace their steps and rebuild the understanding from scratch. Tom Kiebooms, our senior consultant, and subject matter expert in MES and Digitalisation, shared his ground-level experiences, reinforcing the critical importance of talent management and knowledge curation. A small detail can make all the difference; when a Pauwels Consulting employee attends a training, it’s common for his colleagues who work directly for our customers to attend as well.

Having the consultant aboard embeds the knowledge into the workflow and the main reason for this is known to all: we’re losing the war for talent. As one senior panelist put it: “We’re fighting for talent using methods that failed last time.” A point challenged by Koen De Borle, Business Unit Manager Training Programs at Pauwels Consulting. Talent is available, but it needs to be reskilled to be a perfect match for the customers. In comes the Training Program: new ways of working require us to upskill and reskill ourselves, particularly when it comes to self-management skills such as active learning, flexibility, leadership, and social influence. To meet the ambitions and talent of customers, Pauwels Consulting creates training programs tailored to the needs of today’s clients and focusing on the expertise of tomorrow.

Shared talent pools

Koen De Borle concludes: ‘It is no longer the case that staffing is just a solution to a resource problem. Consulting as a service not only satisfies urgent organizational needs, but also contributes to our customers’ strategic growth. In the ongoing war for talent, knowledge sharing in workflows, talent pools shared among multiple customers, and subject matter experts play a vital role in customer success. Establishing communities of practice or internal networks can facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experiences among employees. These forums provide a platform for ongoing learning, collaboration, and problem-solving. By nurturing a culture of knowledge-sharing, organizations can minimize the impact of consultant departures and foster a sense of collective expertise.”

Koen De Borle, Pauwels Consulting

The collaborative approach outlined above is not only essential for ensuring business continuity but also a recipe for achieving substantial return on investment (ROI) for our customers. It begins by actively listening to the explicit and implicit needs of our clients. Whether we call it co-business development or by any other name, a tailored approach is the X factor that differentiates true success for all parties involved from mere staffing solutions. By understanding and addressing the unique requirements of each customer, we can deliver outcomes that go beyond mere resource provision and create long-term value. This customer-centric approach forms the foundation for building lasting partnerships and achieving mutual success.

5 moments of need

This collaborative mindset brings us back to the hypothetical exercise of driving a car with only written instructions. Cathleen Heimberg introduced the panel to the “5 Moments of Need” learning and development methodology, developed by Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher. This method focuses on addressing performance needs at the moment of learning and the moments of applying or changing knowledge in the workflow. As a certified 5MoN Designer she pointed out the five different learning needs of a person.

  1. New: When individuals are learning something for the first time.
  2. More: When individuals need to deepen their knowledge or skills.
  3. Apply: When individuals need guidance while performing a task or applying knowledge.
  4. Change: When individuals need support to adapt to a change in processes, tools, or technologies.
  5. Solve: When individuals encounter a problem and need to troubleshoot or find a solution.

Solutions that work are according to Cathleen Heimberg:

  1. Blend Learning Modalities: Utilize a blended learning approach to deliver training content. Combine traditional training methods, such as instructor-led sessions or e-learning courses, with performance support tools, job aids, microlearning, and on-the-job training. This enables employees to access the right information and support at the moment of need.
  2. Integrate with Workflow: Integrate training materials and resources directly into the workflow to make them easily accessible. This can include embedding job aids or knowledge repositories within software applications, providing quick-reference guides, or using mobile apps that offer on-demand learning and performance support.
  3. Provide Just-in-Time Support: Offer performance support tools or resources that can be accessed at the moment of need. This might include interactive online guides, videos, searchable knowledge bases, or chatbots that provide real-time assistance and answers to questions.
  4. Continuous Reinforcement: Implement strategies to reinforce learning and encourage continuous improvement. This can involve ongoing assessments, knowledge checks, performance reviews, refresher courses, communities of practice, or mentoring programs.
  5. Measure Effectiveness: Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of training interventions by measuring performance improvements, employee feedback, and business outcomes. Use this data to refine and improve the training programs over time.

Training in the workflow

Koen De Borle describes this as vital underlaying principles in the Pauwels Consulting training program. “The key is to make training resources easily accessible, contextual, and available at the point of need. By integrating training with the workflow, employees can seamlessly access the information they require, reducing the time spent searching for answers and enabling them to perform tasks more effectively, a vital underlaying principle in the Pauwels Consulting training program.”

This customer round table has resulted in all panel members seeing an opportunity to transform knowledge sharing and embrace a new approach that will help both our consultants and their customers succeed in the future. It was evident that the enthusiasm in the room was palpable as we concluded the thought-provoking session. The commitment to advancing our industries and fighting the talent war is unwavering. The journey does not end here. During the second session, we will continue this vital dialogue and gain even more insights into talent management. Together, we can reshape the future of talent management and make a lasting impact.

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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer

Pauwels Blog

Pauwels Consulting Goes Green for a Cause​

06 Jul 2023

Pauwels Consulting Goes Green for a Cause

Pauwels Consulting Green Challenge

Pauwels Consulting recently organized the Green Challenge, urging employees and consultants to ditch their cars and embrace alternative modes of transportation. Over the past week, our colleagues went the extra mile by choosing to bike, walk, or run instead, resulting in a collective accumulation of 300 green hours.

A Week of Dedication

Throughout the week, our team members racked up an impressive total of 300 green hours! Each stride, pedal, and step brought us closer to our collective goal of reducing our carbon footprint and embracing a healthier lifestyle. We explored inspiring landscapes, conquered challenging routes, and even enjoyed delightful family outings along the way. We documented every moment on Strava, ensuring that our adventures would be etched in our memories forever.

Breaking Records

But the journey didn’t stop there. Pauwels Consulting’s green initiative surpassed all expectations, shattering last year’s record. This progress symbolizes the team’s continuous growth and commitment to creating a positive impact on the environment and society. 

The Livinustocht

To really push up the number of miles, some of our colleagues also took part in the Livinustocht. This beautiful and historical walking route from Ghent to Sint-Lievens-Houtem offered participants the choice of three distances, with the longest route taking up to an entire day of walking.

Giving Back: Supporting Think Pink

As an organization with a strong sense of social responsibility, Pauwels Consulting decided to channel their success into a meaningful cause. We donated €1500 to Think Pink, the national breast cancer organization dedicated to supporting patients and their families. 

For those curious about Think Pink and their incredible work, you can find more information on their website. Their impact on the lives of those affected by breast cancer is immeasurable, and every contribution, no matter how big or small, makes a real difference.

We have a Winner!

Stefanie Aers, the Contract & Invoice Administrator Teamlead, emerged as the winner by accumulating the most green hours between June 19 and June 25. With an impressive total of 31 green hours, Stefanie received a well-deserved bongo voucher for a delicious breakfast at home. Congratulations, Stefanie, on your outstanding achievement!

Going Greener Together 

We would also like to extend our congratulations to all those who participated in the Green Challenge and Livinustocht. Your enthusiasm and commitment to making a positive impact are commendable.

As we move forward, let’s stay motivated, continue to embrace greener alternatives, and foster a strong team spirit within our Pauwels Consulting Peloton. Together, we can make a difference and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Start Your Career at Pauwels Consulting Today

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Stef looks back on his Training Program

27 Jun 2023

Stef made a career leap with a Training Program

We followed consultant Stef through his experience in a Training Program. The program came to an end and he can now call himself an upskilled MES system engineer consultant working for a major player in biotech. How does Stef look back on his Training Program and more importantly, how does he look to the future with new skills and knowledge in his pocket?

What did you expect from the Training Program at first?

I was looking forward to deepening my knowledge of MES and taking my expertise to the next level. I was indeed trained in MES and could already gain a lot of experience hands-on on the job. But I also learned many other skills that allowed me to settle in faster and allow me to work more efficiently, I didn’t think business skills could have such an impact.

What else did you learn during the Training Program?

I learned about the DISC model in training sessions and then put it into practice. It is a tool to better understand the behavior of the people around you and consequently make it easier to work together. I had never really considered that communication skills could be useful before. Furthermore, I enjoyed the training sessions on MES and Troubleshooting, which I was particularly skilled at.

Was your Training Program challenging?

Being able to focus on training sessions, your new project and your personal life at the same time was challenging sometimes. But the program was not constantly as busy, overall, I found the schedule very reasonable. You also notice that you are moving forward.

In what sense did your career improve in the Training Program?

I am now an MES system engineer. I believe that the scope of my position has expanded faster than my client’s own expectations and I can now handle more responsibilities. I owe that progress to the Training Program. And my own efforts, of course!

What will you take with you into the next steps of your career?

I have learned new ways to approach the people around me, and I find that this improves my collaboration skills. This, in turn, also improves my self-confidence. With more self-confidence, you dare to tackle more.

Who would you recommend applying for a Training Program?

I think I would recommend the Training Program especially to people early in their careers. They tend to be younger and the most flexible, which gives them room for rapid growth and they are able to put in some extra commitment. But more experienced people who want a change or want to specialize can also get real value out of a program.

Are you curious about where you could be next year? Let’s talk! We look forward to getting to know you and seeing your potential.

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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer

Pauwels Blog

What is Pride Month?

07 Jun 2023

What is Pride Month?

During Pride Month we celebrate the acceptance, equality and the work of LGBTQI+ people. You will see parades, people marching the streets and organize many events to discuss the theme. June has become the month to create more awareness around LGBTQI+ history and related themes.

History plays a big part in Pride Month because LGBTQI+ history hasn’t been recorded until recent times in our modern society. We think back to the Stonewall riots, but also remember the HIV pandemic that cost many lives in the 80s and 90s and take a moment to recognize discrimination and violence.

Why do we celebrate Pride Month in June?

Pride Month has its origin in June 1970, when the first annual commemoration of the Stonewall riots took place. The New York City Inn had been harassed by police raids and aggression for years before the mainly LGBT-guests stood up for themselves. Never before had the LGBTQI+ community fought back in large numbers against the violence they systematically faced. Newspapers, protest groups and a clear call for acceptance emerged from this moment.

Pride and inclusivity each day of the year

June is a good month to put an extra spotlight on this topic, especially as we are surrounded by celebrations like Brussels Pride and read more news on LGBTQI+ issues. But awareness is a stepping stone, of course. How can we make sure we all feel safe and welcome at work?


Don’t make assumptions about someone’s gender or orientation and try to challenge your own prejudices. You can do this by looking up information and showing interest in someone else’s view of the world. Got any questions? This LGBTQI+ glossary can help you look up answers or open a conversation.

Stand up against exclusion

Do you hear that someone uses derogatory language, excludes people or deprives them of opportunities? Challenge this or contact a responsible person. It is a challenge to educate everyone about inclusion and diversity and fortunately we have the means to do so. At Pauwels Consulting, we highly value inclusiveness and diversity. We attach great importance to everyone being able to be themselves and we provide a safe environment for all employees.

Listen to real stories

Pride is not a distant concept. In 70 countries, homosexuality is criminalized, only 11 countries have LGBTQI+ rights included in their constitutions and all over the world LGBTQI+ persons are victims of violence. In an increasingly diverse society, the need for awareness and acceptance is rising and public polarization is increasing. Belgium fortunately did rise to second place this month, May 2023, on the Rainbow Index, an annual assessment of legislation and policies around gender and sexual diversity. 

These are all facts that affect people’s lives. When you learn and talk about this, you are already doing much more than just putting a rainbow flag on your desk. On this website, çavaria, you can read news, facts and more.

Let your LGBTQI+ colleagues have their say

As colleagues, we learn from each other every day and encourage our teammates to express themselves as they wish. Pauwels Consulting wishes everyone the freedom, conviviality and acceptance to be themselves. Read a great testimonial from last year here. For example, our colleagues say, “We don’t want everyone to dress up specially in a rainbow jersey at all and tell us that ‘being gay is okay’, instead we want every colleague to feel treated equally and to be seen, involved and appreciated.”


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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer

Pauwels Blog

We support your growth: discover Training Programs

20 Feb 2023

We support your self-development in our Training Program

Stef Schillebeeckx is working as an MES system engineer consultant at a large international company in biotech. He got here through a Training Program: he started a new job and a learning path at the same time. It is a fast and effective way to take your career in a new direction, without taking a career break. In a Training Program, learning and working go hand in hand. It’s challenging, but you can count on the necessary support of a team of experts.


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Apply for the Training Program, ask us your questions, or just have a chat with us!

A new direction for your career

Stef: “I’m doing something that’s completely new to me. At Pauwels Consulting I get the opportunity to grow on a professional level as I’m working as a consultant in a new industry. I like it a lot because I’m someone who enjoys a challenge.”

“I’m learning at a fast pace in the Training Program. There are so many training options out there, but now the Training Program Management team selects training sessions that will help me in my new job. It’s good to know that I get to focus on the skills for which I need the extra help. I’m learning how to approach certain people or issues more efficiently, which will make me a better consultant or even a better person.”

“The advantage of Training Programs is the alternation between on-the-job learning at your project and learning in training sessions. That way, it’s nicely intertwined because you don’t forget what you learned before you even start on the job.”

We support you in your new job

“When you start a Training Program, everything feels unknown because you still have to
learn so much about your new role. That’s why they offer support in several
ways. Koen De Borle is the Training Program Manager, Koen Willems is my coach
and Tom Kiebooms is my mentor. The trajectory is laced with training, coaching,
intervision sessions, and mentoring sessions.”

But what does that all mean? These are all the ways in which we support our consultants
in a Training Program:

        The Training Program Team

In the Training Program you are always in contact with Koen De Borle, he is responsible for the Training Programs and keeps in touch with the consultants and the clients where they work on projects. When you apply for a Training Program, you will also get to know Yasmine or Hà, the Talent Acquisition Specialists. They will listen to your expectations and motivation and look with you for the right match. They are also responsible for the organization and follow-up of the different Training Programs.


A mentor is someone who shares his or her experience in a particular field with you. Stef explains, “My mentor Tom Kiebooms is my go-to person in the workplace.” Tom works for the same client: “I have been working as a consultant in MES for 10 years. Consultants can come to me with all kinds of questions. They can ask anything, from questions about the workflow, to time management tips or specific technical questions. You learn a lot from experience and you can’t always prepare for that. I like to help younger consultants with that.”


Stef says, “During a coaching session, I can discuss anything in confidence. Problems at work, or even possible conflicts with my personal life, everything comes up. My coach Koen Willems thinks of a solution together with me or helps me take a new look at obstacles myself. A confidential environment is important to be able to discuss your insecurities.” Your coach will also possibly try to solve your question with the help of HR, administration or other teams.


“An intervision session is more like a peer discussion that you can prepare for,” Stef explains. “Here you get the chance to present a problem statement to subject experts, your mentor and coach. Together we then discuss how to address it. The resulting action plan is also followed up afterwards. Was this successful? Or did you take a different approach anyway? After an intervision session, I realized that sometimes the solution can be simple. Often you then see that you weren’t the first to encounter this at all, or you discover that, on the contrary, you have a refreshing view on something typical about the job. That’s where you need experts in the field, their experience counts!”

Consultancy offers flexibility

Stef deliberately chose a career as a consultant. Stef: “I like having the option to go in a new direction without having to start over for another employer. I am happy at Pauwels Consulting because they offer many opportunities to learn. Through the Training Program I could even start something that was completely new for me, now that’s what I call flexibility.”

Practical skills don’t come from textbooks

“You can immediately put the training sessions into practice,” Stef explains. “Energy Management made me reflect on how best to distribute my energy during the workday. What I discovered about myself is that I am freshest in the morning to tackle difficult tasks. Stakeholder Management is useful for anyone in project environments, because even on technical jobs, you need to be able to consult with all parties involved and come up with solutions together.”


“The advantage of Training Programs for me is the alternation between on-the-job learning at your project and learning from training sessions. That way, it’s nicely intertwined because you don’t forget what you learned before you even started on the job.”

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Press release: Pauwels Consulting takes over 4People

22 Jan 2023

Pauwels Consulting acquires 4People to consolidate its place in the Dutch market as a project sourcer in IT, engineering and life sciences and hereby completes 12th acquisition with 3D Investors in 7 years’ time. 

From left to right: Bert Pauwels, Ronald Ter Beek, Joost Hordijk and Stef van den Broek

Belgian consultancy firm specialized in IT, life sciences and engineering Pauwels Consulting has acquired Dutch project sourcing company 4People. Pauwels Consulting aims to broaden its foreign activities in engineering after recently acquiring other Dutch firms in life sciences and IT, to match its activities in the Belgian market. The core motivation is to grow as a people-minded company and to carry its employee-centered values internationally. 

The Dutch company 4People is specialized in secondment and placing of executives in construction, infrastructure & environment and engineering and employs over 200 people nationwide. Their vision is to help their clients build a livable future through knowledge-sharing of cutting-edge technologies. While doing so, the people remain at the heart of the business. Ronald Ter Beek, founder of 4People, explains: “The name of our company speaks for itself. We place people to help create a better future for people. We believe in investing in our employees, as they invest in their projects.” 

Bert Pauwels, managing director of Pauwels Consulting, found in 4People the missing piece in his foreign ambitions: “We have been expanding Pauwels Consulting in the Netherlands through the acquisition of other players in IT and Life Sciences, and 4People brings outstanding expertise in engineering to the table. In this way, we mirror the activities of our Belgian home base.”  

Stef van den Broek, Managing Director of 4People, considers Pauwels Consulting a strategic partner: “We prioritized a partnership with a company that shows genuine interest in our culture and people. That way, 4People can keep growing in the direction that we have built the foundation for, and our clients and employees will be able to look forward to a future of acceleration.” Bert Pauwels adds: “4People and Pauwels Consulting have in common that we want to service our clients with expertise and respect for their vision. That is exactly what we intend to keep doing, with the only difference being that we now combine a larger pool of experience and resources.” 

Stef van den Broek: “As management, we are excited for this new chapter and together with our employees, who have continuously proven to be a great asset in creating our success story, we are looking forward to keep growing.” 

Following this acquisition, the Pauwels Consulting team numbers more than 1,500 experts in the fields of life sciences, engineering and IT. Founded in 1999, Pauwels Consulting has grown into a successful consulting group active in Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland under different brands and specialized divisions. Together with 3d Investors, Pauwels Consulting has made 12 acquisitions in 7 years and increased its revenues fivefold from €25 million to over €149 million. 

Read the interview with Bert Pauwels (Managing Director Pauwels Consulting), Ronald Ter Beek (founder 4People), Joost Hordijk (Head of Sales & Strategy 4People) and Stef van den Broek (General Manager 4People).

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Pauwels Consulting takes over 4People

22 Jan 2023

Pauwels Consulting duplicates its Belgian success story in the Netherlands with the acquisition of 4People with 200 engineering, construction, infrastructure and environment specialists. 

Pauwels Consulting is doing extremely well in the Dutch market. In the slipstream of the previous acquisition of Science@Work, it is already taking the next step. Managing Director Bert Pauwels, who established the group 23 years ago, has always been clear about the ambitions of his project sourcing model. What once started with secondments for IT projects has now expanded into a prominent market share in engineering and life sciences in Belgium. With 4People on board, Pauwels Consulting is now also serving the Dutch market in the same way. 

We spoke to Bert Pauwels and Ronald Ter Beek (4People founder), Joost Hordijk (4People Head of Sales & Strategy) and Stef van den Broek (4People General Manager). The venue immediately set the tone: Expo A16 Rotterdam, an experience centre on a new major road in Rotterdam. It is a mega project to which 4People is making a real difference. 

Expert explanation at A16 Expo

Ronald, why did you start 4People 21 years ago? 

I came of age in the business world as a consultant at Brunel. After eight years and an IPO, I established 4People in 2001. Initially we focused on IT project sourcing, but that wasn’t really our thing, so we stopped that. I felt we could make a far bigger contribution in civil engineering. That’s where we could really make a difference. We set up in Deventer in the middle of the Netherlands. From there we went to Hengelo. We continued to expand our activities with branches in Groningen, Den Bosch, Rotterdam and Utrecht and more than 200 employees. 

You’ve had 21 years of growth. What sets 4People apart from the rest? 

Without a doubt, it’s the human side of things. People is in our company name for good reason. I saw a lot of good things during my training, but what I missed is having people as the central focus. They are still the success factor. We’re a business, of course, but we grow by building things around and with people. They make or break everything.

4People is a coveted business, so why did you choose Pauwels Consulting?

You’re right: there was a great deal of interest. Our top five included a few strategic players and some financials. In the end, we chose a strategic partner. We really appreciated that Bert Pauwels showed a genuine interest in the company itself. In the people themselves. And he has a whole group behind him that will help 4People thrive even more in the future. 

Stef, you were in the cockpit of this acquisition together with Joost. What’s your take on this?

Now we can keep thinking bigger and bigger. The company is already at a great place, and there’s far more to come. The collaboration with Pauwels as a strategic partner can only accelerate this. And importantly, our content, core values and culture are very well aligned. 

Can you describe 4People’s DNA for us?

We truly reflect the Dutch eagerness to do business. We’ve always been very inventive, especially now that our civil engineering projects need to enter into a dialogue with urbanisation and nature. We’ve been at the forefront of technology with the support of clusters such as Brainport Eindhoven and the Rotterdam area. The place we are now, Expo A16 Rotterdam, is a testimonial of what our team is marketing in the technical field. Tunnelling, bridge construction and engineering: they all come together here. Of course, we’re facing considerable challenges, but we achieve great solutions on a daily basis together with the customers.

Joost, how do you see this?

We speak the language of technology. For this A16 project, we deliver people in positions that others may only experience once in their lives. Contracts like these are full of special technology you need to have expertise in. We make choices according to feasibility and profit in projects of this size very early on. Our teams are put together even before the award process, which often makes us the first and only one who gets to deliver. Our reputation and profits are earned outside, with our feet in the mud. 

Bert Pauwels, if we include 3d Investors, this is the 12th (!) acquisition in seven years. What attracted you to 4People?

We clicked straight away, not just business-wise but on a personal level as well. You can have the best people, the best technical concepts and the right vision, but having the right relationship is very important as well. 4People’s story so far was perfect for us. Our Dutch organisation was particularly strong in IT, whereas in Belgium we offer IT, engineering and life sciences. This was our chance to expand the organisation in a similar way in the Netherlands. We had already developed our life sciences in the Netherlands with the acquisition of Science@Work. In terms of engineering, we’d also been working with Bruggenbouwers already, but now it was time for a significant expansion. Both countries are now at the same high level in all three industries thanks to what I can only describe as a match made in heaven. 

What’s going to change for 4People’s employees and customers?

What is definitely a positive signal to the market and employees is that many people from the current management are joining the new capital structure. This shows 4People’s belief in the company’s further growth. That’s also how we jointly approach the people and the market. I’m really looking forward to presenting the Belgian organisation and letting people discover how much overlap there is in culture, management style and job content. Pauwels Consulting tackles every new tailor-made collaboration with great respect for everyone involved. We have our story, but 4People has also developed a unique DNA as established by Ronald. We’re here now because 4People do many things well, just like us. Now we can learn best practices from each other to accelerate growth. In the long run, we’ll see a healthy culture we create together.  

Stef, as Managing Director, what challenges do you see approaching in your industry?

This acquisition process focused on two questions: who is from a cultural perspective the best party for us as a company and how are we going to do business together? Sometimes you have to look at that separately from the numbers. Of course, as our new partner, Pauwels Consulting can support our acceleration, but the way we do this is just as important. Bert has made a huge difference from the first meeting. We spoke to other people who literally had no idea what we were actually doing and then just pushed out a bid. Bert has both vision and respect for who we are and what we stand for. 

And where do you see the next challenges in your sector?

The war for talent, which will also affect our internal organisation. Fortunately, we’re ever more successful at retaining the right people. This is because we are very clear and specific about our culture and core values. Unlike our competitors, we are much less transactional in our business. We make a difference in job content. Talented people are obviously recognising this when they make their next move in their careers. We also notice this in job interviews. We often hear that starting to work with us is a refreshing experience for many people. Of course, we present a critical front – there has to be a good match – but cultivating the experience afterwards is the real win for our employees. And of course, the key to growth is our internal organisation and the connection with extremely loyal customers. Their commitment only contributes to our joint growth. And it doesn’t stop at the front. Ambitions need to blend. Bert has taught me how much Pauwels Consulting is committed to the continued training of employees’ hard and soft skills. I was happy to hear that there is a wide range of learning and development, coaches and talent managers on hand. In my opinion, we can always learn from a model like that. 

Joost, how do you experience this war for talent from a commercial perspective? 

Success is a choice. Of course, you are dependent on economic factors, but we are in an essential position in the market. Our people are in places that are crucial both in engineering and construction. The biggest challenge is not to find people, but to find people who understand and can convey the vision of 4People and Pauwels Consulting and who can implement the acceleration we want. We expect a lot more from our people than a normal secondment agency, but when we share our plans, you can really feel the urge to achieve them together. As Stef said, applicants experience us differently: personal contact and content go hand in hand here. Both our consultants and our customers endorse this.

A16 Expo

Back to the man who was right there at the very beginning: what will be the next challenge for founder Ronald Ter Beek? 

In any case, I felt the need to distance myself a little after 22 years. That’s why I had already attracted Stef as CEO. However, I did notice that I couldn’t distance myself mentally like I’d wanted to. It goes against my nature, I suppose. You always stay involved and people don’t call you for all the fun things. They tend to call you if there are problems (laughs). They stay with me and it was difficult to let go. So, then I thought: why not make my long-term plan happen a little sooner, knowing that I have a top team ready? What I’m not going to do is sit still. I adore Italy, so I’ll do things there. What I don’t know yet – I’m sure I’ll stumble upon something. I don’t worry about that. 

Bert, how do you see the management team? 

When Stef presented his vision as managing director for the first time, I felt the business undercurrent as well as his insistence to always include the employees of 4People in the story. Success may be a choice, as Joost just put it so nicely, but I really feel that the entire organisation is making that choice. That only works if everyone has a well-developed sense of empathy, and for that alone I have the greatest respect. That’s why we literally started moving forward after just a few weeks to the point where we are now. Of course, 4People are the best in their job; that’s not based on ego, but on pride in proven merits. Joost talks about the market with unprecedented depth. He knows exactly what his customers are doing. The fact that he has a very broad technical knowledge certainly helps, but what also keeps emerging is this empathy for the customer. The fact that Ronald has given his trust to this top team seems logical from a distance, but of course you need that talent to take the company to a higher level. Ronald’s focus on people always went much further than what is suggested by the company name 4People. After all, companies are made by people, but also for people, and at 4People you see very clearly how the team is built on that. 

Nice words for your team, Stef. 

Thank you, and I agree with Bert. Besides ratio, a person has feelings, and I had a good feeling about Bert from the very beginning. You can clearly sense this in all our interactions. We were soon talking about content, constructive questions and, above all, Bert’s enthusiasm to make Pauwels Consulting an even greater success. And we are part of that. 

Bert has a habit of challenging his partners in sports.

Ronald: Absolutely not. I enjoy riding my rally motorbike in the desert or having a nice glass of Italian wine, particularly the latter. But Joost, Stef and Bert are always welcome, because of course I want to find out how the 4People and Pauwels Consulting story continues!

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Pauwels Blog

Why you should join a Training Program: Narek’s testimonial

11 Jan 2023

Attitude is key, skills can be trained

Narek Martirosyan talks about his motivation to participate in the Training Program: “I have been interested in 3D-modelling and 3D-printing for quite a while now. I wanted to take this hobby and turn it into my profession, so I completed training as a BIM drafter. In this way, I was able to enter a modern industry with a lot of possibilities for the future. But in my first job as a professional, I was a bit disappointed. It felt very repetitive, and it was not looking like there were many challenging projects coming my way.” “When I joined Pauwels Consulting, my eyes were opened. I was immediately offered a range of training options through the Training Program. They gave me real opportunities to expand my knowledge and skills while working in the industry. This allowed me to create faster progress in my new career while I started working for a leading company.”

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  A personal approach
Training Program Manager Koen De Borle recognized Narek as a suitable candidate: “I noticed from the very first conversations with Narek that he is brimming with motivation to take on a challenge. That drive is necessary to successfully balance learning and working. Although he did not yet have much experience in the sector, he had already taken the initiative to learn about BIM techniques on his own. The knowledge and insights he brought with him from previous jobs and training were the deciding factor. With that, he could already start working on an assignment while continuing to further develop his skills. From that perspective, I saw several options with our clients.”
“We are really looking for people who have the right attitude. That means that they must be eager to seize this opportunity,” adds Hà Logier, Training Program Officer and Talent Acquisition Specialist. “That’s why we ensure a personal approach when we speak to applicants.”
“This opportunity to get personal guidance in your career and get training by field experts is quite uncommon. Normally, you would have to pay a generous amount for such advantages. In the Training Program, you get paid to do it.”
Who can participate?
We are looking for people rather than job titles. More specifically, we are looking for people with plenty of motivation, eagerness to learn, perseverance and enthusiasm.
Koen De Borle: “We recruit candidates for the Training Program in a different manner than we do for standard positions. Most of the positions in the Training Program require an A2, bachelor’s or master’s degree, but after that, we look at what you have to offer. That could be transferable skills, or experience in a similar industry or social skills and business fluency that would make you a good consultant.”
A changing job market opens new doors
Our clients seek consultants with specific skills and strong insight. However, the job market is subject to change, much like the economy. Today, certain profiles are harder to find due to a rising demand for technical positions and the so-called “war for talent”. Sometimes the search for a consultant takes too long and a viable candidate seems almost impossible to find.
The Training Program bridges the gap between strong candidates who are talented enough to learn and our clients’ specific projects. In this way, we ensure less wasted time and more growth for both parties.
There are countless ambitious people who want to keep their technical skills up to date, learn about new sectors or look forward to a completely new challenge. We want to give them the opportunity to use their transferable skills and train themselves to become specialized consultants. That way, no talent or time is wasted.
How do we do it? We train people full of motivation and talent to become the white raven who can take our client’s project forward. Training sessions, coaching, advice from experienced consultants and direct application to practice: this is the recipe for rapid growth.
What is a Training Program?
In the Training Program you will give a breath of fresh air to your career, whether you want to gain more knowledge as a consultant, expand your already accumulated experience to new fields or gain as much experience as possible after your studies. You will complete a custom educational program with individual coaching, training and learning experiences. This takes place during your first assignment as a consultant with one of our clients so that you can immediately apply your new knowledge to practice.
Hà Logier explains why it is a unique opportunity to discover a new industry: “We value your potential. We take what you bring to the table to develop a personal track in which you learn all the technical or social skills to become the best match for the customer. This opportunity to get personal guidance in your career and get training by field experts is quite uncommon. Normally, you would have to pay a generous amount for such advantages. In the Training Program, you get paid to do it.”
What is consultancy?
You get the opportunity to work on various projects and at different companies, all while you keep working for the same employer. Pauwels Consulting will make the match between you and a client, who has a position for you in mind at one of their projects. You go to work at the client’s site, but we employ you. This means you get to enjoy a stable job, get opportunities to keep learning and obtain certificates and you always have a stimulating environment. Our clients include leading companies in life sciences, IT and engineering. Does your project end at the client? Then we will look for a new match for you so you can start somewhere else.

Lifelong learning

At Pauwels Consulting, we believe in lifelong learning. We want to offer our consultants everything they need to keep growing, develop their interests and keep in control of their professional life. Besides the Training Program, we offer many other learning options. 

There is also the Pauwels Academy, which is the set of all the training sessions, information sessions and webinars that we put into a calendar every six months. Anyone can register for these. There are also specialized training programs such as the Pauwels Acceleration Program or your Talent Manager can select a range of sessions for you.

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