Long-distance speedskating requires determination, rigorous training and a long-term plan to reach the finish line. Tiemen Noordam is using skills from his role at Eastman to prepare him for a 200-kilometer speedskating tour.

Noordam is a supply planning excellence manager at Eastman’s Rotterdam site in the Netherlands. He helps business teams optimize short- and long-term supply planning so the company has the right amount of product inventory. His work maximizes efficiency for Eastman and satisfaction for its customers.

“I like working toward goals with small groups to make strategic changes fast,” Noordam said. “I see everything as a puzzle. Everything is connected. If there is an error in one place, I try to locate where it comes from. And, of course, you have to focus on your goals. It’s the same with preparing for this race. We have to focus and train in the months leading up to it so that we’re ready to compete.”

Noordam and a few friends committed to a yearly physical challenge a few years ago. Last year, they ran a marathon. Now they’re training for Elfstedentocht, a speedskating tour on natural ice set for late January in Austria. His strategic planning mindset is already at work in their training regimen.

Noordam works with Eastman supply managers to standardize supply planning capabilities across all businesses within the company, leveraging standard planning tools and processes. The approach ensures customers get the products they need when they need them without building excess inventory or unnecessary or inefficient production for Eastman.

“This type of work is easy when all the excitement is there in the beginning, but it becomes a lot harder when closing out the more complex topics,” said Rian van den Bos, Noordam’s manager at Eastman. “Tiemen has demonstrated an ability to work with that complexity. He does not give up easily and knows how to resolve issues using a practical approach. I'm convinced he will apply those skills to the ice-skating race as well.”

Ice skating is one of the most common winter activities in the Netherlands, so Noordam and his friends knew how to skate. But they needed training to complete Elfstedentocht without injury. As a strategic thinker at work and on the ice, Noordam knew they would need to build their stamina to prepare for the tour.

The team signed up for a 16-week training course to expand their basic skills and build their endurance. In addition to weekly training, the team members skate weekly on their own and cross-train through activities like cycling.

Noordam and his team are racing to raise funds for KiKa, a Dutch nonprofit organization committed to ending childhood cancers. So far, the team has raised 4,180 euros, exceeding their original goal of 1,000 euros.

“When we signed up for the tour, we noticed you could use your participation as a way to raise money for a nonprofit organization,” he said. “We later learned one of our neighbors has a 5-year-old daughter who needed surgery because of bone cancer, so skating for KiKa felt the right thing to do.”