Our Working Methods
Our situation varies greatly from one country or company to another.It changes according to the market context:
- Markets at different stages of development,
- Variable market share,
- Average branch size varies by as much as 10 times, as does the size and population density of the countries,
- Different cultures,
- Different customer structure.
Our response to this diversity is working methods founded on trust and monitoring, initiative and each person’s accountability.
Trust and monitoring
Managers place their trust in each associate. This faith in People must be earned. Objectives are established, an operational framework is defined and performance is monitored; the rules of the game must be adhered to. The finance department ensures that Sonepar, electrical equipment distributor, has the latest reporting tools. It continuously improves the reporting processes and makes them more efficient. When an associate has a new idea and asks Sonepar’s managers the following question: “It’s never been done – can I try it?”, the answer will be: “Yes, we trust you, to the extent of course that the investment is not excessive. It is then up to you to account for the results.”
In view of the diversity that characterizes us, priorities, objectives and organizational schemes – such as for procurement and logistics – must be local. Allowing the companies and countries to take initiative also creates an opportunity for each associate. “It’s true – we really feel like we are managing our own business. And that’s exciting! We can be as creative as we want, as long as we are mindful of the group’s basic principles. But that’s life – there are always rules one must abide by…”, says a member of the SJC (Sonepar Junior Committee).
Each person’s accountability
At Sonepar, you will be accountable for your decisions in terms of budgets and within the limit of the authorized investments. You will receive advice, support and warnings, but it is you who will need to decide and answer to your associates, your managers and your Board of Directors for your decisions.These various exchanges therefore suggest the need for sharing and coordination in order to improve efficiency, strengthen the competitive edge and optimize costs. At Sonepar, the coordination desired by General Management is made possible by a number of committed, responsible players.
- Country Managers, who are involved on a cross-company basis in the group’s key functions, such as defining the product offering, procurement, marketing, back-office functions and optimizing the return on sales.
- Centers of excellence, informal groups made up of specialists who provide consulting and support services in technical, logistical and IT-related areas. These specialists are appointed and directed by the respective Investment Committees.
- International committees headed by specialists and permanent managers dedicated to a specific area (E-Business, Finance (IFC), Supplies (ISC), Marketing, Suppliers, Junior Committee (Europe and North America), Human Resources (IHRC), etc). These committees develop and propose group initiatives and approaches based on the best practices identified.
- Ad hoc groups, which carry out projects or complete temporary assignments.
In these coordinating bodies, the rule is to think “globally” and to leave one’s local hat at the door. The challenge is to work as a team on a policy or shared solution in order to complete a project successfully or solve a problem. Our working methods are also unified through exchanging ideas, sharing, synergies and common tools.