25 years at SEKISUI: Interview with Annabel Beyer, SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH
“One thing always remained the same: The team”, says Annabel Beyer, who celebrated her 25 years anniversary at SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH last year. Learn more about the Customer Service Manager and her years at SEKISUI.
Annabel Beyer started her career at SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH as sales assistant on October 5th, 1994. By that time, she had moved from her home country France to Germany and had published a job-wanted-notification in the local newspapers. She was contacted by Bodo Blume – her boss now and then.
SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH, located in Düsseldorf (Germany), is a distribution company for various advanced solutions manufactured by the SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group. The company enables import and export activities between Japan and the European markets. Even though some products are not produced in the region, European customers benefit from a direct and trustworthy cooperation with the local experts of SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH. Annabel is one of them.
She is specialized on one of the company’s products, ESLON®-DC ESD plates, and ensures that the customer is satisfied. Being in close contact with them and managing their enquiries is part of her job, providing excellent customer service. Annabel is responsible for the French market, handling all projects in France. She also supports her sales colleagues wherever she can. With a graduation and commercial training in France, a specialization on foreign trade and several internships in countries like Germany and Sweden, she has a broad education that suits her job very well.
When she started her position at sales assistant, she was responsible for the order process, the good’s shipment preparation as well as the reordering and invoice verification. On top, she attended several fairs such as the K-Trade Fair and supported her colleagues on customer visits in France and Belgium. To learn more about the products, she used the opportunity to visit Japan a few times. For her, it was interesting to see some SEKISUI production sites and learn on the production and application at first hand. “There are so many different SEKISUI products. Luckily, I could learn about many of them”.
You celebrated your 25-years company anniversary last year. What does it feel like?
To be honest, I felt a bit old. 25 years – that is a long time! I really enjoyed the day though and really appreciated all my colleagues’ gifts and wishes. It felt very special and showed what a good team we are.
What do you like about your work at SEKISUI?
Work is work. There are always aspects you like and things you do not like. However, there is one thing that always remained the same: The team. We are a small team, around 20 people, but a nice one. Most of us have been with the company for some time now, which I think is a good sign, and we get along very well. This makes all our working life a lot easier!
I also like the fact that I am working on small projects in the French market, which I can accompany from the beginning to the end. We have a close contact to our customers, which is important and what I really enjoy.
What was your biggest challenge at work?
To be honest? Writing in German. As I am not a native speaker, writing in German without any mistakes has always been a challenge.
You have been with SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH for many years now. Can you tell a difference in working now and then?
A lot has changed since 1994.
When I started my position, we sent a telex to our colleagues in Japan every evening. Luckily, this changed with internet and emails. Our correspondence got more direct and quicker – with both our customers and our colleagues. We can react to our customers’ need a lot faster than we could in 1994. This is great. However, it can also be a challenge as it means quicker reactions and higher expectations. Business life got fast-moving, and we are expected to adapt to that speed in terms of responses, shipments, and tracking.
Another change I see is our company’s growth. We have been growing over the last 25 years and I think that we will be growing further in the future!
Regarding the actual work, there have not been too many changes, to be honest. Even though we moved offices twice we did not really change a lot about the working processes themselves. It was only last year that there was a big change: we got a new ERP system. Due to COVID-19, we could only have two training sessions and the go-live was done completely virtually. We were all doing home office, with a completely new system. That was a challenge but luckily, not all lot went wrong.
What do you think is special about SEKISUI?
SEKISUI is a very international company. Looking at SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH, we are working with more than 1000 customers in many different countries. And we are aiming at a close cooperation with all of them. This makes working here very interesting.
And of course, it is all about the people. There are many different SEKISUI companies, but all employees belong to SEKISUI and are part of one big team. In my opinion, it is important to have close contact and collaboration with the colleagues all over Europe.
What are you working on at the moment? Is there any special project you are working on?
We are currently re-working our ESLON®-DC ESD catalogue, aiming to provide a French version to attract more French customers. I am helping with the translation. And we are thinking about offering our new website in German and French (besides English), which also involves a lot of translation work. Both projects are very interesting but also time consuming as many different persons are involved and it is an addition to the regular tasks.
SEKISUI published its new long-term vision, “Vision 2030”. In how far does the vision influence your daily work? In how far do you think do you contribute to SEKISUI’s vision?
In my understanding, SEKISUI sets ESG as one of its priorities and aims to balance the improvement of social sustainability with the company’s profitable growth. Our products as well as our good and continuous relationship with our customers contribute to profitable growth. And of course, we are trying to reduce SEKISUI’s environmental impact by reducing the amount of paper used in the office and home office.
With COVID-19, your everyday working life probably changed quite a lot, right?
Yes, that is right. In 2020, SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH adapted to the new situation and regulation, including home office for all employees. That was a change, but we managed very well and can be proud of ourselves.
Talking a bit more private: What do you do when you are not working?
As a mother of two and dog owner, I am used to spend a lot of time outside. I enjoy going for long walks or do cycling trips. I also like travelling and there are a few more countries I would like to explore with my family.
Finally: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully close to retirement and still with SEKISUI.
About SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH
The SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group entered the European market for the first time with the establishment of SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH in 1962. SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH, located in Düsseldorf (Germany), is an export, import and sales base for various products of the SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group in the automotive, chemicals, electronics (information technologies), construction and infrastructure fields. It is responsible for promoting and selling diverse products from both the High Performance Plastics and the Urban Infrastructure & Environmental Products Divisional Companies in Europe. SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH is also responsible for market research in Europe to ensure the sales potential of products is maximized.
All activities of the SEKISUI CHEMICAL GMBH employees adhere to the fundamental philosophy of enhancing customer satisfaction and the mission to provide cutting-edge technologies while meeting compliance requirements as well as the highest standards of corporate responsibility.
Learn more about the company’s product portfolio on www.sekisui.de.