Head of Sales Support
My name is Andrea, and I have been working for LEONI since 2018. My first job was in Corporate Controlling, but just 6 months after I joined LEONI embarked on an internal transformation program, as part of which I took on the role of Finance Manager. What did this mean for me?
All finance-related tasks (analyses, calculation of savings) were my responsibility.
Coordination with the management teams from the sites and corporate functions
...and ultimately the responsibility for the entire program. I was in charge of coordinating with the heads of the individual work packages, such as the Operations section or Purchasing. I also provided the interface with the internal corporate bodies such as the Executive Board and Supervisory Board and to the outside, with the capital market.
But this was only the start of my exciting and varied journey because as early as 2020 I was additionally assigned the role of Head of Calculation Support. My main tasks in this role included harmonizing calculation processes, introducing comprehensive standards, and transferring the results to our partner departments, such as Development and Sales.
Since 2021, I have been responsible for LEONI's global Sales Support. Here, my team and I provide all support and back-office activities for our global sales, such as calculation support, sales administration, marketing and much more.
Are you now thinking primarily SAP evaluations and Excel? There’s much more! – I am the central contact for all matters concerning sales, which is an incredibly dynamic setting. Regular coordination with the Executive Board, many and varied meetings with customers at the top level, first port of call for your central claims management and managing our Ukraine Task Force. We were one of the first companies in Germany to create such a task force when the war broke out at the end of February 2022. The task force immediately set about its tasks with full commitment and worked around the clock to achieve the best possible outcome for our Ukrainian employees, our customers and the company as a whole in this exceptional situation.
My job in a nutshell? The range of my tasks and activities is incredibly wide – I cannot at present imagine a more varied job with more potential to effect change and more creative leeway for myself.
What does your working day as a Head of Sales Support look like?
Start of the day
I usually start my day with a quick espresso at home before heading for the highway to Kitzingen. While driving, I listen either to a variety of business podcasts if possible or I make my first calls to my team and my colleagues in China and India. Whether colleagues or executives, the interpersonal aspect is always extremely important to me. Alongside the regular meetings I therefore always cultivate informal discussion (face to face or virtual coffee) to understand what concerns and motivations my colleagues have in their professional and private lives.
The focus in the morning is on getting up to speed with the teams. We discuss the day-to-day business, current problems, and possible solutions but we also talk about internal projects for the future. An example: we are in the process of establishing a global calculation database and are thinking about how to integrate and digitalize the interfaces with other departments, such as Purchasing and Development. Going forward, this database will help our sales employees worldwide automate most product calculations and create internal benchmarks. But we also discuss which events or tech days our Sales Marketing will attend and which prototypes and products we want to market to customers in the near future. So, as you can see, my segment has a very broad and varied base, and it offers a varied array of subjects.
Between 12 noon and 1 p.m. is “lunch break” (if time allows). I enjoy going to our canteen in Kitzingen, with the appealing name “Kupferkessel” (copper kettle). It always serves fresh and regional products with changing menus. A nice side-effect of this is the fact that I always meet many colleagues from different departments there without prior arrangement, which also allows us to discuss issues informally.
My afternoons are usually really busy because there are so many meetings. My various teams have many points of contact with all kinds of departments, for example Accounting, Purchasing or the shop floor. On top of this, there is a whole variety of special topics, such as the contribution of Sales to our internal performance program or the Ukraine Task Force.
In the late afternoon and evening I can usually be found in my office working through emails, analyses, invoices, or other to-do lists. But I always also try to take the time to meet up with my colleagues in the office and to talk to them directly about the issues because exchanges within the department are extremely important to me! Our coffee kitchens and generous open spaces also provide a lot of space and opportunities for having conversations.
Back onto the highway! My evening begins after the last phone calls with my teams in Mexico and the U.S. Back home, I swap my office outfit for sneakers and go running or out for a walk – the exercise does me good! Occasionally I prepare presentations for the Executive Board or Supervisory Board and plan my next day.
Why did you opt for LEONI as your employer?
LEONI is a major player in the German automotive sector with a global presence – more than 100,000 employees in just under 30 countries. I was impressed by this right from the start. Our product, the cable harness, is needed in all cars be they with ICE, hybrid, or fully electric power. So, without LEONI nothing moves. At the same time, our products can be part of sustainable and clean mobility, which is extremely important to me as a young person, in particular. But to be honest, the most important factor was my own personal impression. I had a really good feeling right at the start of the interview and introductory conversations. Every single person really matters, and everyone can make a difference here. But of course, I was also immediately won over by the good cooperation and camaraderie.
What do I appreciate particularly? It really is true that everyone who wants to forge ahead with projects, tasks or issues here can do just that, regardless of their position or status.
What is the work culture at LEONI like?
In early 2022, we introduced desk sharing with a view to opening new forms of working together for us. Desk sharing means that anyone can sit next to anyone. This gives me the opportunities to clarify issues directly at my own desk and across departments. Mobile working along with the accompanying flexibility and individual freedom goes without saying at LEONI – this for me demonstrates the great positive change our corporate culture has seen. In addition to this, I am a big fan of an open-door policy: my door is always open, whether the physical office door in Kitzingen or my virtual door when I work from home.
What has been your best / most exciting moment at LEONI to date?
I was able to take big and rapid steps from the beginning. In 2019, I became the person with overall responsibility for our transformation program after just one year. One of our goals was to save large sums over the long term, and during this time I began every working day by looking at our tracking system. Finally, at the end of 2020 the moment had come: we reached the magical savings threshold, and even one year earlier than planned! I really was incredibly proud – of the entire transformation team, of us as an organization and of the more than 1,000 colleagues thanks to whose great support and passion we were able to implement the individual initiatives and ideas successfully. From Mexico to Serbia and China and truly across all parts of our value chain ... we have created a great “gearbox” in which everything now interlocks.
Through this success, we have demonstrated that we stand firmly together during a crisis, and we tackle it. To celebrate this milestone in a fitting way, together with our CEO Aldo Kamper I organized a surprise party for all project managers by way of a thank-you. For me, this was an incredibly valuable and great moment that I was able to share with many wonderful colleagues.
What characteristics do you think someone needs to bring to be successful in Sales at LEONI?
- Do you want to assume responsibility and push ahead with your issues and projects independently and boldly?
- Do you love communication of all kinds, with your colleagues at the sites, with Logistics, Purchasing and many more?
- At the same time, do you enjoy implementing and achieving shared goals and successes together with our customers and partners?
- Are you ready for many different challenges, both great and small, and do you always look forward to the new and unknown?
If the answer is yes, as far as I am concerned this means: challenge accepted!
What three words would you use to describe LEONI briefly and succinctly?