no. 13 · summer 2012
We got talent And we’re not afraid to use it
When the best man for the job
is a woman 8
NEW CEO for DT Group
3 Starkki wants to be KING 10 Backstage @sourcing 16 On the shoulders of giants
a weekend to
Berlin for 2 persons
e m e e k m a o T h
New CEO for DT Group Steen Weirsøe passes on responsibility to Ole Mikael Jensen
We got talent
And we’re not afraid to use it
Warning: This frame agreement may clash with local interests
On the shoulders of giants
“I regret nothing”
Stark intensifies the battle for private consumers
Sweet sixteen gives competition the chills Serving Neumann Bygg for 50 years
STARKs’ marketing strategy to be the preferred name for professional builders has been extreme successful
Winn a weekend to Berlin for two persons
Support from home is a huge advantage When the best man for the job is a woman
USEFUL NUMBERS DT Group +45 39559700 Wolseley +44 118 929 8700 Starkki +358 93 541 3000 STARK +45 89343434
Charlotte Gullach Büttrich Chief Editor for DT Magazine
You are a super star Our fascination with heroes, celebrities, super stars and talent is growing out of proportions. American artist Andy Warhol said that “In the future, everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes”. He said this in 1968!. Nowadays, thanks to inexpensive broadcasting media like blogs and twitter, anyone can be a self proclaimed star. The phenomenon is not monopolized by showbiz: companies have eagerly adopted the quest for stardom. Some captains of industry have reached celebrity status comparable to Lady GaGa. Talent programs are considered an asset in organizations that want to polish their employer brand. In DT Group talent development (page 4-7) is no stranger either. But I tend to think that we have a different approach towards the phenomenon. Business benefits from stars that have an extraordinary gift. It makes sense to single
talents out and develop them so the potential is not going to waste. Process wise it might be less glamourous than we’re used to from X-factor but that doesn’t make it less exciting. Talent management in DT Group cannot be isolated from other development initiatives. Stars only shine if the rest of the team lights up as well. Every person has got a talent for something. What is important is to identify, acknowledge and develop that talent. If we get this right, we are able to present a professional and motivated organization that can take upon any challenge we meet now and in the future. In essence, we’re all stars. And you are a potential super star. Happy reading. You can write to Charlotte at email@example.com Feel free to share your ideas and comments – both positive and critical.
Colophon Beijer Neumann Silvan Cheapy
+46 752411000 +47 55549800 +45 87308730 +46 431443540
Editorial responsibility: DT Group/Charlotte Gullach Büttrich Journalistic production and project management: Radical Communications/Patrick May Design and layout: Appetizer/Simon Johnsen Photography: Das Buro; HPKristensen. Print: Coolgray
DT Magazine // STARKKI
King the hill
The recipe for KING is relatively simple. Anne Koskinen, sales director DIY in Starkki explains. “We have 21 branches in Starkki. They’re not all performing at a similar level. KING focuses on the branches that under perform in certain areas. The objective is to bring them back on the right track.” Starkki has established a project team where sales, marketing, sourcing, controlling and HR are represented. The project team members visit selected KING branches regularly. The members of the team look at sales parameters like the sales volume, the amount of customers and the displays in the store, the con-
Learning from the best sometimes equals learning from one self. For this purpose, Starkki has developed a project called KING. The objective is to strengthen processes and implement good ideas and by doing so improve results. ditions in the yard, processes, the operating model, sourcing, logistics and at local supplier contacts, as well as management skills and whether the right resources are in the right place.
“Small changes combined make a large impact” The thorough assessment provides an up to date picture of the situation in the branch. It provides the issues upon which to focus in the KING project. In the past the branches in Lappeenranta, Tampere, Hämeenlinna and Vaasa got support from the KING project. “In the Vaasa branch for example, B2B sales was not on target”, Anne
tells. “The branch increased the amount of customer visits, developed and increased marketing activities specifically targeting the B2B segment and sourcing helped negotiating better prices for our customers in Vaasa. On top of that both the store displays and the inventory were improved. All these changes together made a tremendous difference for customers in the region. The result has been terrific: the branch now has a healthy flow of B2B customers again and is on track.”
We want to be the local king Currently the branches in Jyväskylä and Oulu are benefiting from KING. “In Oulu
Small changes combined make a large impact
we discovered that the branch wasn’t known very well locally”, Anne says. “They need support both in the B2B and the DIY segment. Our branch in Jyväskylä is very good at increasing the basket size but we can see that the volume of customers is decreasing. Together with the staff in the branches, we try to find solutions to turn the tie.” “At first, people are somewhat confused when we start up KING in a branch”, Anne admits. “They typically worry about what is going to happen. Therefore we organize kick of meetings with the staff where we address all their worries. We tell them that we’re there to help them, support them where we can. The best results can be achieved by going through the development together, both the staff in the branch and the project team. These meetings help to calm things down and get staff positively motivated to participate in the project. At the end of the day, they create the success locally in the branches.” “Why the name KING? The project strengthens our position locally. We want to be the king in the areas where we have branches.” DT MAGAZINE
talent And weâ€™re not afraid to use it
Sherlock Holmes had it. Lionel Messi most definitely got it. So does Lady GaGa. TALENT. Maybe you got it too? Right now you may be filling shelves with supplies but who knows with the right training you might be a great leader.
There are a lot of opportunities. In your own business unit, but also across units or countries. Your division got programs that will help you to develop your talent. We took a closer look at two of them: Silvan and STARK.
DT Magazine // We got talent
It’s about being better to do your job STARK has a very systematic approach towards talent management. There’s three different programs to choose from. All programs have in common that they are strongly anchored in the daily practice of the talents. Or rather, potential, because in STARK the word talent is not used.
“If I would have to define a talent”, Jan Sørensen head of education in STARK explains, “it should be someone that when you give him or her more responsibility, they are able to rise to the occasion. “At STARK we like to think that all our people are talents. We focus on developing people that have a potential. Typically people who have distinguished themselves. Often it’s personality trades rather than competences that make a difference. It’s equally important that we identity people with leadership potential so we develop the future leader generation.”
Focusing on what you need to get better at
Often it is personality trades that make a difference
Jan Sørensen Head of Education STARK
STARK offers three different programs. At the lowest entry level there’s the ‘leader on its way’ program for staff with an ambition to develop their leadership skills. Candidates for this program are typically
sales and logistic staff. They are appointed by their branch or sales manager. The focus is very operational everything you learn you can apply in your job immediately. Every year, there’s about 20 candidates who start in the program. “They learn how to be better at their current job - and then some more”, says Jan. “The approach differs from person to person depending on the identified wishes and needs for development. This could be for example sales
More on next page DT MAGAZINE
Continued skills. Candidates can expect nine training days away from their workplace. The rest of the training happens on the work floor. Their manager monitors whether the progress in relation to specific tasks and objectives. The program is demanding and not everyone succeeds. The reward for the candidates that do make it, is significant. They get better at their job and facing the customer and they have the possibility to grow into a leader position when there’s an opening.”
If you have an ambition to become branch manager, there’s the ‘leader in progress’ program. “The working principle is the same. The responsibility of a branch manager though is larger, therefore the expectations towards the candidates are larger too. This program is typically offered to sales, store, and logistic managers. The program gives the candidates a clear view of what it means to be the branch manager. On the highest level
there’s the ‘key talent’ program. “This program is still in development and will be offered to existing branch managers. They want to improve and maybe take over a larger branch. This program should prepare them for the challenges they meet leading a large branch”, Jan explains. “All in all, I think we’re well covered. Jan: “I believe that there’s a lot more potential in a lot of people than we’re able to yield today. I can’t help thinking that managers like to hide talents because they are afraid that if these people get a chance to develop themselves, they will leave their team. If you ask me that is a bit short sighted. The worst that can happen is that these talents get frustrated and choose to leave to the competitor. Our competent people need to get a chance. If you read this and you believe that you qualify for one of these programs, don’t hesitate to take the talk with your manager. The MUS evaluation for example, would be a good occasion to do so.”
You are ready when you get they keys “We’re good at spotting talent”, Morten Elbro, HR Manager at Silvan, says. “Both in our own ranks, preferably already during the recruiting process. But also outside our own organization. I always carry a stack of business cards in my pocket. Also in the weekends, when I visit our competitors’ branches. I might get lucky to run into a potential candidate that would be a perfect for Silvan. Someone with drive, sense for customer service and ... potential. I’d consider it a shame to not try to establish a constructive dialogue. If they make the jump to Silvan, we win two times. We got a new potential talent we
we just weakened our competitor. Both are good for business.”
You don’t become a leader by reading a book
“Talent is a confusing size”, Morten says. “Some people have a talent to drive a lorry, or to sell. But talent is also something beyond a specific competence. It comes with drive, ambition and a potential. This can be within sales, economics or leadership. It is important that we, as an organization, identify and recognize talent and develop that talent. Otherwise it will die. Every year around sixteen candidates enter our leadership education. It’s a combination between theory with practice.
DT Magazine // We got talent
The on the job training is important to us. Just like you cannot become better a football player by studying a book, a classroom alone won’t prepare you for a management position.” Silvan’s leadership education offers candidates a nationally recognized certificate. In fact, Silvan is the only company in Denmark offering a customized but certified internal leadership education. “Make no mistake here”, Morten warns. “It’s a tough program our students go through which is topped of by a national test. The scores from our students, compared to the national average, are in the high end -
something we’re very proud of. The certificate tells that you have potential but it doesn’t make you a good leader. You also have to be willing to set an example, go the extra mile, earn the trust and confidence of the people you intent to lead.”
Ambition and potential should both be present
Silvans’ program does not stop here. “For people who have the ambition to become a branch manager, we have a special program too: our branch manager candidate program. We offer this program to candidates we feel we can prepare to run a branch within a year or two. We bring all candidates together
Morten Elbro HR Manager Silvan
so they - also when they are finished have a network they can rely on. They learn what it means to run a branch. When they passed, they are put in a pipeline and when a position opens, they get promoted. Candidates can also come from outside our organization. Preferably with a background in retail. By taking in people from outside, we learn from their experiences in other companies. They bring in best practices, solutions we can use in our business. During the 14 months program, they learn the Silvan way. What is important is that when they get the keys for a branch, that they are ready.”
Motivation beats talent
Kenneth Wegner VP HR and Communications DT Group
Kenneth Wegner, Group VP HR and Communications at DT Group, is not a big fan of the word talent. “People achieving extra ordinary results in our industry, are not necessarily more talented than others”, he says. “The difference is that they often work a little bit harder, smarter and they are a little bit more persistent. If you ask me, everybody working here has the opportunity to be a success regardless of age and gender. Everybody has certain competencies - gifts if you want, the trick is to stimulate and develop these. You have to be motivated to train them so you become a little bit better every day. Talents you might say, are former losers that decided to become much better. At the end of the day, it’s not the gifts you bring that matters but it is what you are willing to do with them. Therefore motivation and engagement are the prime sources for people to advance in their jobs.”
Steen Weirsøe passes on responsibility to Ole Mikael Jensen
New CEO for DT Group From the first of August, Steen Weirsøe steps down as the CEO of DT Group. After leading the company for more than 12 years, he decided that it is time to stop. “Being responsible for a multi national organization and its more than 8.000 people, is demanding”, Steen explains. “Also on a physical level. Therefore I decided, in July last year, that I would stop in 2012. In August the fiscal year ends, allowing me to hand over the company with closed books and in a proper and descent way.”
Steens’ focus on sense and order has been one of his trades as well as modesty and fortitude. Qualities that are widely admired in Wolseley’s leadership team and without a doubt have been contributing positively to DT Groups’ development. “One of the things I really admire in Steen is his consistency”, Ole Mikael says. “When he’s convinced he’s right, he will stand his ground firmly. His integrity is a fantastic quality.”
Away from daily operations
Ole Mikael Jensen joined the group in 1999, as did Steen Weirsøe. Ole Mikael started as the executive assistant and got among others the responsibility for setting up Investor Relations - which at that time was an unknown area for DT group. Later on, he initiated group sourcing. “Not a particular easy task if you ask me”, Steen comments. “Especially considering the fact that he had to deal with local interests that some-
DT Magazine // New CEO
times conflicted with what is good for the group.” In 2009 he became the CEO of Wolseley Central Europe Region including Lightside companies in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Luxembourg. “A lot of the things I learned in DT Group I could apply here”, Ole Mikael says. “Both strategic but also tactical. A good example is the customer loyalty survey, which we have copied almost 100%. In many ways it has been a blessing to be able to get DT Group a bit on a distance. You run the risk to get caught up by details. Now I had to concentrate on running the Central Europe Region, which has been a wonderful experience. Even though the business is focused on Lightside and in terms of people it is only one fourth of DT Group, there are many similarities. We share for example the decision making principles. The strategic direction is being developed centrally but the daily business is the responsibility of the local managers and leaders. Just like
in the Nordic business units.”
Ole Mikael is ready to take the responsibility
Big Bang Jensen
Steen is convinced that Ole is the right man and is ready for the job. “In the Wolseley family, leadership succession is an important parameter. We take succession seriously and actually, we’re good at it. We get the right man for the job, which not necessarily have to be someone from inside the organization. In Ole Mikael’s case, I believe he has the talent and the experience needed to do the job. During the past three years, he has shown the organization that he’s ready to take the responsibility. I think due to his accom-
A welcome insider “It doesn’t really come as a surprise that Steen is stepping down, nor that Ole Mikael is taking over”, says Lars Hansen, STARK’s CEO. “Steen’s achievement has been that he managed to unite the business units and build a strong business that is well equipped for the future. But he’s 64 now and it had to happen sooner or later. Personally I am happy that Ole Mikael is appointed. He knows the business very well, he knows our values and if you ask me, he deserves it.”
plishments in Central Europe, Wolseley also is convinced that he’s the right man for the job.” In Central Europe Ole Mikael introduced what he called a ‘big bang’ strategy, implying a significant change for the organization. “The organization in Central Europe needed a kickstart”, says Ole Mikael. “Parts of the organization had lost faith and we needed to reenforce their motivation. That is a process that is still ongoing. Do not expect the same from me in the Nordics,” Ole Mikael says with a smile. “I take over a well functioning organization and I will start by listening humbly to all the good ideas from the business units. I am
not finished with CE and I will make sure that the new leader here gets the best possible start. At the same time I am looking forward to come back to the Nordics.”
Ole Mikaels’ focus areas
This doesn’t mean however, that it is going to be all business as usual. “I am fortunate that we in DT Group have a well cemented and well functioning strategy”, Ole Mikael tells. “This I have Steen to thank for. What I would like to focus more upon is to develop en strengthen existing concepts with new thinking - call it
Continued on page 13 DT MAGAZINE
: g n i n r a w This frame agreement may
clash with local interests Why did brand X make it to our stores while brand Y is banned? Why do we do business with supplier Z while we shut out Y? If you want to investigate these questions, Sourcing would be a good place to start. They find, evaluate and ultimately engage the suppliers we do business with. It’s an exciting environment where experience with powerpoint, excel and calculators are preferred and a poker face ... well, that is a must have in this line of business.
“Our job is to find the best suppliers”, says Ole Dahl, Sourcing Director for DT Group. “And make the best possible deals with them. There’s an incentive to consolidate the amount of suppliers. We prefer suppliers that can deliver to as many business units as possible. With fewer suppliers, we buy larger volumes from each individual supplier, which in turn enables us to negotiate better conditions, and
increase efficiency in relation to our order processes, invoicing and logistic solutions.” Another objective is to standardize products - where possible. “If business units in different countries are able to sell the same products, we can purchase larger quantities and that makes us more interesting for suppliers”, Ole says. “Besides when we run out of a product in for example Finland, we are able to get this from
DT Magazine // Backstage@sourcing
tomer mixes and therefore also different needs in terms of products.”
Sourcing Director DT Group
Sweden, Norway or Denmark.” “We are operating in an environment with a high level of complexity”, says Ole. “In the Nordic region
alone, we deal with four countries with different preferences, legislations and building cultures. On top of that, we have six business units with different cus-
Keeping track of the individual needs of the business units can be quite a challenge. Therefore Heavy side Sourcing is organized in a so called Matrix structure. Here all business units and prod-
We are operating in an environment with a high level of complexity
Wolseley HS Sourcing Contact Matrix HSS Mgm
Lars Hansen Anders Jakobsson
Anders Jakobsson Thierry Bergerault
L. Hansen A. Jakobsson J-P Pöntinen T. Bergerault
Lars Hansen Freddy Lauridsen
J-P Pöntinen Thierry Bergerault
Kristine Nitzsch Kristensen
Danny Rasmussen - Patrick Jonsson - René Nielsen - Vibeke Møller
Karsten Jølck Import/PL Stuart Kilpatrick
Per Erik Rei- Per Erik Reimers Per Erik Reimers Per Erik ReiPer Erik Reimers Vibecke Myran mers Pedersen mers Pedersen Pedersen Pedersen Pedersen
Thomas Juul Buchholt
Daniel M. Jensen
Daniel M. Jensen
Daniel M. Jensen
Allan Jakobsen Michael Weiss
Eric De Hercé
Yann Le Bihan
Thomas Lecain Jean-L. Camici
Jan Lund Darø Jesper Nørbak
Kirsten Gjesing Claus R. Peter Svalgaard Christensen
Persons in Bold are members of EST, persons in Red are members of Heavyside Management Team. Sponsors’ Role: Engage in strategies and execution issues.
uct categories are represented. The organization includes five operational teams, each with the responsibility of a specific product category: Flooring and Joinery, Heavy Building Materials, Plasterboard and Insulation, Tools and Hardware and Timber and Panels. Ole explains. “Every team includes representatives from all the business units, including the French units. This way we are more or less automatically guaranteed that all teams are aligned with the needs in their respective units. Also represented in the teams are supporting functions like for example our analysts. They develop costs analyzes, market analyzes and they also check whether we get the bonuses we’re eligible for. In the lead of the teams we find a team leader and a so called sponsor. A sponsor is typically the Managing Director of one of the Business Units. Finally the management team of Heavy
More on next page
Continued side Sourcing are the Sourcing Directors of the European Heavy side Business Units, the managers of our Sourcing offices and our private label manager.”
One size does not fit all
Kari Wahlmann has a double function: he represents Starkki in the Sourcing management team and also heads up the sourcing team responsible for Plasterboards and Insulation. “We rely on local suppliers when sourcing commodity products like timber, white (EPS) insulation or bricks and blocks”. Kari explains: “We sell these in large volumes and with relatively low profit. Not sourcing these locally would increase transportation costs, eating up the small margin we get to begin with. Today around 40% of all supplies are sourced on group (European or Nordic) level whereas 60% is sourced locally.”
“One of the challenges we run into regularly”, Kari says, “is that local branches don’t see the benefit of group sourc-
ing. They might have a loyal local supplier that they are 100% satisfied with and sometimes they can even get better prices. At least, at first sight. Because what they don’t see is, that when we negotiate prices with suppliers we can for example get discounts when we reach certain volumes. They compare the original list price without the volume bonus. We have to become better to communicate our deals, the advantages and the decision parameters so the benefits become more transparent.” For Silvan the situation is somewhat different. “We apply 100% category management”, says Thomas Juul Buchholt, representing Silvan in Sourcing’s management. “This means that sourcing is a central responsibility. We have nine product managers who are responsible for a total of 128 product categories. Every year each product manager develops a strategy for his or her category covering the most important changes for the products in the category. While developing their
Kari Wahlmann Starkki
40% of all supplies are sources on group level
strategies, they have the wishes and requirements from the branches firmly in mind.” “The objective is to get the best turnover and profit out of each category”, Thomas says. “We of course utilize the obvious benefits from being a part of Wolseley. Today 95% of all products we source come from suppliers who cater to at least one other Wolseley family member. Anything else would not make sense. The same principle applies in relation to STARK. Working closely together provides significant benefits. Benefits we can use in the battle for the local customers.”
A peek into the future of sourcing
For the future Thomas foresees an increasing growth in volume of our own
brands. Thomas: “Today private label sales accounts for 22-23% of our total sales volume. I think in some product areas, the position of traditional brands will decrease. Take for example tiles or wooden floorings. The end customer more often than not has no brand preference. So it makes perfect sense to go into these areas and promote our private label brands here.” Kari foresees a shift in focus. “Today we still focus too much on the discounts we can get when buying large volumes. Afterwards, to make sure we are eligible for the discounts, we buy in large quantities and fill up our stock. But for every month we do not sell the products, they are taking up valuable stock space which also costs money. After six months, the entire benefit is eaten up by stock costs. I think this is something that will get more attention in the future. We need to consider the entire value chain, especially logistics - if we want a more accurate overview of the cost price of our supplies.”
DT Magazine // New CEO
Continued from page 9 R&D if you wish (Research & Development). We should be bold when it comes to taking chances and allow ourselves to try things.” He adds: “You cannot always rely on your calculator when doing business. Unlike for example medical companies, we do not have that much to loose by testing new ideas in real life. If it goes wrong, we keep it quiet, if it succeeds, we copy paste it 300 times. No honestly, we are a healthy organization with a lot of creative people. I will focus more on innovation.” Another area Ole Mikael expects to develop is Electronic business. “The construction industry is not the most innovative industry when it comes to applying electronic initiatives to do business. There’s a great potential in this area and I would like us to look into ways of improving our services to our customers using E-business. In CE, where I come from, more than 20% of all business is E-business.” Wolseley Central Europe is focused on Lightside and it is no secret that
Excellent replacement “I was very sad when Steen said he wanted to retire”, Says Wolseley’s CEO, Ian Meakins. “Steen has been a great leader of DT Group for many years. He has been a great member of the Wolseley Executive Team and
I foresee industries increasingly converging and this is definitely an area that we should look into
Maybe I will engage in the public debate some more
Ole Mikael is fascinated by Lightside. “That doesn’t mean of course that I suggest that we from now on start selling Lightside products to our customers”, he says joking. “But the fact is that we already today have a good stake in the Lightside customer segment. A lot of plumbers for example, have an account at STARK - even though STARK focuses on Heavyside. This is due to good service and their ability to sell quality tools. I foresee industries increasingly converging and this is definitely an area that we should look into. However, the competition here is really hard and it requires different logistic solutions.”
Steen is a very modest person and does not like touting his own horn. He much
we have worked together really well over the last 3 years since I joined the Group. But I am delighted that we have an excellent replacement in Ole Mikael Jensen. He has shown his abilities in managing CE really well and also as a key leader in DT Group. I look forward to working with him closely and ensuring we continue to drive the businesses forward to even better performance!”
rather gives the credit to his team. When twisting his arm some, he admits there’s two things he is particularly proud of having accomplished in his era as a leader. “We have developed a clear and robust strategy and this is embedded in the companies’ DNA”, says Steen. “Even during the crisis, we have been able to keep the course, stay ahead of competition, create value for our customers and make money for our owners - Wolseley. The other thing is that we are a solid Nordic organization today. Twelve years ago, when I started, we were established in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Back then, people advised to pull out of Sweden and Norway and continue as a Danish organization. We did the
opposite and went into Finland. Now, twelve years later, we have a solid Nordic operation and reap all the fruits of the multi national benefits.” What Steen will use his time for after August the first, is to be seen. “I haven’t made a lot of plans yet. I do however have a massive amount of books that I have purchased and never came to read. I managed now finally to prioritize them and the plan is to catch up on some of my reading. I also plan to travel. One of the first destinations will be the U.S. We’re planning a three weeks holiday in the North West. There are many things I would like to do with my time. Maybe I will engage in the public debate some more. Who knows.”
Support from home is a huge advantage
Susanne Kristensen has been working for Silvan for 25 years. Her dream was to become a chef. But chef classes were overbooked and she had to let go of that dream. Now she’s running the new branch in Odense. Taking the lead and the responsibility that comes with it, comes natural to Suzanne. Both her parents had leading positions and as the eldest of a small herd of siblings - pulling the strings is deeply rooted in her personality.
When Susanne started in Silvan, she had no clue what she was going into. “I think I remember it was ‘something with lamps’. The job interview was short. We signed the contract at the end of the meeting. In spite of the fact that I didn’t know anything about
DIY. I guess I had the right attitude. The products I could learn about as we went along.”
I really wanted the job
“Silvan is a great working place. It’s a dynamic organization. Keep your eyes open and new opportunities will be
When the bes man fo t the jobr is a woman
coming all of the time. If you have the ambition, you can come far in this organization. I started in a small Silvan (on Svendborgvej) in Odense, moved to the branch in Nyborg where I became departmental manager. While I was on maternity leave, I got a phone call from the branch manager, who encouraged me to apply for his position and take over his staff. I can remember that I felt very honored. At the same time, it felt like quite a challenge. With the position comes a huge responsibility” “I discussed the opportunity with my husband. He knew that I was all fired up. He backed me up 100% and told me to go for it. He offered to take parental leave so I could
break of mine and start my new job as store manager. Back then it was unusual for men to take parental leave. My job requires a lot of planning, also from my husband. At
DT Magazine // Women some point, he even had to work nightshifts so we could make things fit at home. But with the job also comes a certain amount of freedom. I can decide for example to go home earlier so I could pick up our son. Some of the more administrative tasks, I can do from home.”
I feel fully accepted
“There are so many prejudices related to the topic women in leadership positions. There has been colleagues that didn’t take me serious at start. Whether this was because I am a woman or because I was leading a small Silvan storer, I don’t know. Frankly, I don’t really care. This is a male dominated industry. But that has never been a problem
My staff are my children – I feel a huge responsibility towards them
for me. I feel I am fully accepted now. There’s a good mix of old and young, women and men in Silvan. That provides a healthy working environment. At the top the percentage of women is small. It would be nice with more women. But it doesn’t really bother me. I get the sparring I feel I need.” “I have no logical explanation why there aren’t more women in leadership positions. Sometimes women are their own worst enemies. They can have so many expectations, especially towards themselves.
They choose to see limitations, not opportunities. Kids often ate an excuse too. But it doesn’t have to be a problem. You need the back up from your partner of course, but compared to 18 years ago, that should be a lot easier now.” “Then there’s the myth that women in management positions have to be better than men. There are differences between men and women. You should exploit your strong sides. It have the feeling it is easier for people to come to me and talk about their personal situations. Also for men. I know my people very well and I think I have a lot to offer. Don’t get this the wrong way but I consider my staff my children. I am the store man-
ager in the new Silvan in Odense and everyone working here, I have personally hired. I feel they are mine, or at least, I feel a huge responsibility towards them. It’s a very special situation.”
Go for it!
“Whether I am planning a next step in my career in Silvan? I wouldn’t necessarily call it planning but I am very interested in workplace environment. If anything, I would want to explore this area some more. To all you women that doubt whether you have it in you or not, I want to say: go for it. Get the back up from your home front, talk to your manager and get yourself into one of the leadership programs Silvan offers. You get all the tools here to become a competent leader.”
“Sweet sixteen gives competition the chills” STARK is the first Nordic division to implement Sweet Sixteen. “We tested the concept early February”, says Jørgen Holmgaard, Sales Director in STARK. “With a few
small modifications though. Ferguson uses Sweet Sixteen to approach new customers. At STARK we choose to start with an existing customer segment, approaching customers that buy less that
50% of their supplies with us.” Sweet Sixteen is a carefully conceptualized sales approach designed to boast sales while limiting the use of resources. Any ordinary day, tasks eas-
Sweet Sixteen is a carefully conceptualized sales approach
ily catch up and pro actively approaching customers suffers from chronic down prioritization. “The beauty of Sweet Sixteen is that you plan to succeed”, Jørgen explains. “Every Tuesday between 9
DT Magazine // We are family
On the shoulders of
giants Being a part of a large family sometimes is a pain in the neck. There’s rules and regulations while decision processes at times can be rather sluggish. But at the end of the day, the advantages exceed the downsides. In november last year DT Groups‘ management team visited family in the U.S.: Ferguson, the largest distributor of plumbing supplies in the world. The objective was to get inspired and bring a few good ideas home to the Nordics. A mission well accomplished. The goodie bag they returned with, for example includes a sales concept called ‘Sweet Sixteen’. The concept has been tried and tested successfully in STARK and now is on it’s way to other divisions.
Ferguson in a nutshell Established: 1953 Part of Wolseley since: 1982 Headquarters: Newport News, Virginia, USA CEO: Frank Roach Number of branches: 1.300 Number of employees: 17.500 Revenue 2011: USD 8,8 billion
and 12. In this timeframe you call 16 customers from your list. Not 15, not 17 - but 16. Not all of them you will get a hold on, but then you try again in the afternoon or the next day. For a period of a month you stay focused on these sixteen customers. So you talk to each customer 4 times one month.”
Getting rid of knowledge barriers
Gitte Bøgebjerg from STARK Svendborg is one of the more than 200 sales reps STARK has mobilized for Sweet Sixteen. “I totally love it. Selling is in my blood and the fact that Sweet Sixteen helps us to become more pro active, appeals to me”, Gitte says.
“The reactions from customers are positive. In the week before we start calling, we send out a folder with special offers to the customers we intent to contact. This is a welcome ice breaker. A typical call lasts
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Continued fifteen minutes. It is interesting to learn why they are not dealing with STARK but with our competitors. More often than not it turns out that they do not know us that well. They are usually positively surprised when I explain how STARK can help their businesses.” As a rule Gitte manages to set up one or two meetings each Tuesday. “I have been working in sales for almost 12 years, 7 years in Silvan and 4,5 years at STARK. Before we started calling for Sweet Sixteen we got a days’ sales training. In spite of my experience I felt that the course was meaningful. It provided me with some new tools for my sales kit.” “Knowing that we do this as
Knowing that we do this as a team of 213 sales reps, makes me extremely proud
a team of 213 sales reps, makes me extremely proud. We’re pro active and it works.”
It sure works. The results so far are undeniably positive. “The current rate is 30% meaning that
The game plan When: every Tuesday, from 09.00 til 12.00 o’clock Who: 200+ STARK sales reps What: call 16 customers who to date either have no or little business with STARK and commit them to STARK Why: growing marketshare
we get a dialogue going with every third customer we call”, Jørgen explains. “They don’t necessarily order from the special offers we develop for them but they buy and that is the most important. On an average Tuesday, our salesforce speaks to 1.800 customers. Customers who until now did most of their shopping with our competitors. That must hurt them.” Allan Jensen is one of the six sales reps in STARK in Slagelse calling for Sweet Sixteen. “It’s of course not the first time we pro actively approach new customers but the
fact that we do it systematically and consistently makes a difference”, Allan says. Allan has been involved in the testing of the sales concept and is pretty pleased with how Sweet Sixteen has developed. “The concept comes from Ferguson and it works in the US. We had to make a few changes so it also works for us in Denmark. There’s still a few things where I think we can improve. Calling the same customer four times in a timeframe of one month is not appreciated equally by all customers.” An experience Gitte shares. “They
DT Magazine // We are family
typically are positive the first three times when I call. The fourth time they sometimes are a bit irritated. It wouldn’t hurt if there’s maybe a week extra between the calls.”
high.” But just like Gitte, Allan considers the offers a good excuse to call get a dialogue started. “Some are interested in the special offers, others are interested in other supplies but most of the people I call are interested talking about their projects, and about what we can do for them.” “That is exactly the idea with the special offers”, Jørgen says. “The folder with the offers is getting our foot in the door. It creates
Sweet Sixteen and other divisions Sweet Sixteen was tested in STARK in February this year and is by now a well integrated concept. Other business units are already testing or considering to use Sweet Sixteen as well.
The concept comes from Ferguson and it works in the US
an excuse to approach the customer. But this is not about selling as much as possible from what we offer in the folder, this is about creating a dialogue with customers that we want to get closer to. Customers we want to
A solid foot in the door
“Then there’s an issue with the special offers and required quantities”, Allan says. “Customers can get a discount but they have to buy relatively large quantities. Considering that a lot of the people we call, at current do not deal a lot or not at all at STARK, the expectation level for their first order may be somewhat
Allan Jensen STARK Slagelse
buy more from us. We acknowledge the fact that calling the same customer four times in one month requires a certain amount of creativity from our salesforce. The customer needs to perceive the call to be relevant. That requires getting to know the customer better. Which is an important parameter for this exercise. I am confident that practice gives us the experience to nail this.” Allen: “I have had quite a few positive meetings and I feel that some of them might develop into interesting customers for STARK. A lot of the people we call are new customers and it might take some time to develop them. But the fact that we are in a dialogue with them, that we pro actively have contacted them and invited them in, is a real good start.”
Serving Neumann Bygg for 50 years
I regret nothing
Arvid Pedersen is 67 and assistant to the operational manager in Bergen. Arvild has been with the company for 50 years and he knows Neumann Bygg as the inside of his own pocket. He has witnessed timber becoming a part of the assortment, machines increasingly taking over manual labour, the outsourcing of transportation, the growth of the company, radical changes in the culture and ... a crisis or two. He’s looking forward to get more time to go fishing once he leaves Neumann. When this is going to happen, this nestor has not decided yet. 2012 might be the year but if the company need him, he will stay.
“When I started at Neumann I was 16 years old. Not in my wildest phantasy I could have imaged that I would still be here, 50 years later”, Arvid says with a huge smile on his face. “I was the assistant to a truck driver. A summer job. I was supposed to go back to school after summer but I guess I got used to having money in my pockets and I was not ready to give that up. Besides, I had great colleagues 20
here.” “By the time I got 18, I got married and soon after I got kids. Three. My wife was at home, taking care of the house and the kids. We were depending on my income. Times were different back then.” Also at work. “We did not have fork lifts, cranes or other fancy equipment to help us lifting”, Arvid tells. “Therefore you needed to be two on a truck. Back then it involved a lot more manual work and you
needed to be pretty strong. You’d be lifting bags weighing up to 50 kilo’s - not thinking too much about what that would do to your back. When I started we sold mainly bricks and tiles. Wood came into our assortment at a later stage.”
Labour was inexpensive
“I remember one time we received a shipment of 100.000 roof tiles from Holland. It took 24 people 2 days to unload
I had two accidents in fifty years, that’s not a lot is it?
and put the tiles in cradles and then carry them into the shop. That would never happen today.” “It was all about being able to offer supplies as cheap as possible”, Arvid tells. “And there weren’t a lot of demands from customers on how we delivered as long as it was within an agreed upon timeframe. Labour in those days was relatively cheap. That has changed radically.” “Nowadays the focus is on effectivity. Both in our own organization. But certainly also when dealing with our customers. They want their supplies split up and delivered at different spaces on the construction site, as close as possible to where they are needed. Which sometimes means delivering on the fifth floor of a building under construction, involving cranes with long arms that can manage heavy weights. This requires a lot of planning and seamless teamwork.” “Our assortment has grown dramatically. Staff at Neumann is required the be knowledgeable about the supplies we offer to customers because we need
DT Magazine // Neumann
Arvid Pedersen started at age 16 at Neumann Bygg
to be able to give them the best possible advice. As a result we got a lot more specialists working in the organization.”
“The quantities we sell have increased as well. Turning logistics into a special discipline by its own. The lories we used to drive with were a lot smaller than the trucks you see today. It’s a good thing we outsourced distribution in the mid eighties so we could focus on our core business. I myself stopped driving a lorry long before that. I have had many jobs within Neumann ever since. But always on the
operational side. I’m not really into office jobs.” “Health and safety was not something that we gave a lot of thought. The first forklift trucks were scandalous. They were almost a danger to drive in. I have been lucky with my health. Accidents, I had two, driving my forklift truck into a car. Two in fifty
years, that’s not a lot is it?” “There’s been some talk about crisis, also here in Norway. I’ve seen my fair share of ups and downs. Somehow Neumann always managed to come out on the other end better. I suppose we owe that to the leaders of this company. They always have ben good at doing what needed to be done in time. The Norwegian economy is not suffering that much. This crisis will also pass.”
Two accidents in fifty years! That’s not a lot is it?
“The best thing about working for Neumann is the atmosphere here. The culture has changed a
Since 1859 Neumann Bygg celebrates is 152 birthday this year. The history of Neumann can be tracked back all the way to 1859, when P. G. Rieber started a shop in Bergen selling construction material. Today the company has 13 branches, 280 employees and a turnover of more than a billion Nkr.
lot during the years. We used to be quite hierarchic. The distance to the top was huge. This fortunately has changed. Today our organization is flat and communication lines are short and clear. I always had and still do have great colleagues. What is important too is that I always felt appreciated. I have always been in good health and have been coming here with pleasure. I wouldn’t have stuck around for 50 years if I didn’t enjoy being here.” “I have two daughters and a son. My daughters never h´worked at Neumann, my son had a summer job here. Unlike his daddy, he returned to school. When I stop here? I don’t know. Maybe this year.” Then he laughs. That is, if Neumann will let me go. I have mixed feelings towards leaving the company. I could sure spend some more time fishing. But I will miss coming here. A lot.”
intensifies the battle for private consumers
Actor Martin Hestbæk explains the STARK advantages in an advertizing movie
STARKs’ marketing strategy to be the preferred name for professional builders has been extreme successful. Today STARK is the strongest brand among professionals. Unrivaled. The strategy however has had an unfortunate side effect. The brand is less appealing to private costumers. In fact, a lot of private builders might be under the impression that STARK sells exclusively to professionals. A new marketing campaign launched this spring shows how private customers can benefit from the know how STARK has gained from the professional market. The campaign has a clear message: STARK is for everyone no exclusions.
STARK launched its spring campaign offering a 25% discount on terrace supplies, both paving and timber, and energy efficient building solutions. Both product categories are carefully selected as they should appeal to the target group: Private homeowners between the age 25-65. The marketing campaign includes a set of commercials featuring a Danish celebrity - Martin Hestbæk. The celebrity acts a STARK employee,
DT Magazine // STARK A critical film crew is evaluating their work
telling all the advantages STARK offers to the customers. “But why should I bother”, he asks the viewer. A question
STARK trucks proudly role over the scene
a lot of private customers watching the commercial will have in common. As you might expect, the question does not go unanswered. “It is no secret that we would like to increase the amount of private consumers”, says Jesper Gaarde, Head of Marketing. “This is a very interesting segment for us. Not only can they helps us increasing our sales volume but they can also improve our profitability because they increase our total margin.
We have been approaching this segment for some years and with the current campaign we intensify the focus. To win them over we in the campaign focus on the advantages STARK has to offer. Our objective is to increase awareness and improve the impact of other campaigns an services. This campaign addresses a broad public and the idea is to get the dialogue started. This correlates well with our relationship strategy.”
“We have set up an extensive battery of metrics to measure upon”, says Jesper. “We’re still in the process of pulling all the data together and analyze the results. Therefore it is too early to draw final conclusions on whether we succeeded reaching our objectives. We updated our website and added 500+ new products. This has been the most visited part of our website in the period of the campaign. The unique visitor index was 218 during the campaign. In the same period three times as many visitors booked an individual meeting via STARK.dk. The sales volume of paving increased with 36% while the volume for terrace timber increased with 85% during the campaign compared to last year. Within the first 14 days we got 1600 new account customers - who all got a customer card combined with one of our three account types. These account customers are important for our business since the value of the average purchase exceeds cash purchases with a factor 7. We also know that account customers are more loyal to STARK while they at the same time are less focused in prices. Therefore”, Jesper says: “it makes perfect sense to increase marketing activities and acquire more account customers.”
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What is sweet sixteen?
What is the main task of Sourcing?
A A sales concept focusing on 16 potential customers a month?
A Find the best suppliers and make agreements with them?
b A new diet suggesting you eat 16 candy bars to loose weight?
b Buy supplies as cheap as possible?
c The title of the new Harry Potter movie to be released later this year?
c Make sure that we never run out of premium items in our branches?
What are Ole Mikael Jensens’ three focus areas? A Innovation, E-business and industry convergence b Lightside, E-business and expanding geographically c Innovation, E-business and Logistics
How many branches does Ferguson have?
Why does Starkki wants to be KING?
A 2000? b 600? c 1300?
b Starkki has a strong wish to turn Finland into a monarchy?
A Starkki is all rock and roll, just like Elvis Presley?
c Starkki wants to be the leading retailer of construction supplies in all local areas where they are represented?
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Published on Sep 16, 2012
DT Magazine is Wolseley's Nordic employee magazine, published three times a year, and read by staff in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland....