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A Sonepar people storyOffer helpfull products and services

Ilkka Manner, SLO, Finland, Sonepar Nordic

Ilkka MannerThe head of SLO's sales to industry and public sector, Director Ilkka Manner, has been in charge of these two customer groups at SLO since 1996. Prior to joining SLO, Mr Manner was employed by one of Sonepar's largest suppliers, Schneider Electric. 

“I am responsible for creating and nurturing customer relations with the large industrial customers. Together with my team I also generate the parameters for a tailored product and service selection for this customer group. I'm also in charge of the public sector clients, but only few of those organisations need countrywide coordination - usually they are local and somewhat smaller in size. My industrial customers are both MRO* and OEM** type. Particularly the big end-users seek cost cuts by cutting the number of suppliers they use and by consolidating orders, minimising shipping costs, simplifying and streamlining purchasing processes as well as lowering their working capital. This can be achieved by various tools, which SLO can offer. As the global economy is in recession and consequently the results of our customers are decreasing, the aforementioned issues are going to gain further importance.

OEM customers are also working through a similar process but other issues do exist, which complicate this process and therefore make it slower.

As a representative of an international distributor, I see many good opportunities in the industrial market. By expanding the range of products on offer more business can be gained. This requires good cooperation with suppliers and the international teams of Sonepar have been of great assistance in this matter.

I have also taken note that more and more international customers are seeking international suppliers for electrical MRO supplies too. 

I think that the Sonepar International Key Account approach has succeeded well - and with global customers there have been positive internal cooperation experiences, Mr Manner enthuses.

What makes my job so relevant is that you can offer such products and services that customers really need and which are helpful to them. The biggest challenge for our customers - and us - is product management. Today the product grouping and coding varies from country to country as well as between different customers. Maybe in the future concepts such as ETIM*** classification or Global Trade Item Number system can simplify this process, Manner specifies.”

* MRO, Maintenance, Repairs and Operational materials: products are non capital goods which are used in production processes but are not part of the end product.

** OEM or an original equipment manufacturer is typically a company that uses a component made by a second company in its own product, or sells the product of the second company under its own brand.

*** ETIM (Electro Technical Information Model) is an article classification model for the electro-technical installation sector that describes the features of electro-technical products in terms of classes and characteristics. ETIM was developed to achieve control over a growing mass of  information. The model makes it possible for each item to be clearly described, located, processed or easily to identify. ETIM simplifies communication between organizations operating in the business.

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