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Administration and Management

A large number of our staff are there to support the other departments. This is where many highly skilled people work in departments such as Financial Accounting, Purchasing, Management Accounts, IT, Customer Service, Marketing, Human Resources, Legal, SAP and Corporate Communications.

Interviews

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Verena Wilms, Head of Marketing Services and Event Management

What is your position in the company and what are your responsibilities?

Since August 2010, I have been responsible for planning and coordinating the trade fairs, and I also do the follow-up work. We have one major trade fair at the beginning of the year and several smaller ones throughout the rest of the year. In addition, there are individual, smaller events, frequently seminars, which I also plan. Together with my colleagues, I design and produce the flyers and brochures for these. In August 2011, I also took over the management of the Marketing Services team.

In which countries are the trade fairs you work on?

I am currently planning the trade fairs for Germany and Austria, and, to be quite honest, I have more than enough on my plate with those.

What did you study?

I studied business management at a dual education system vocational college, with a special focus on trade fair, congress and event management. I completed the practical part of my training at 'Legoland', and continued to work there for another two years after I qualified until I thought 'better have a look what else the world has to offer'.

What do you do to prepare for a trade fair, for example the 'Bau 2013'?

The first thing I do is to book the hotels in Munich as early as one-and-a-half years before the actual event. We are on the road with a large team and can easily require accommodation for 60-70 people a night.
Then I go through the follow-up work I did on the last trade fair and analyse what went well, and what could be improved. I give the exhibition stand contractors advance warning and brief the advertising agency, which will then start to plan the stand in consultation with the stand contractor to ensure that their ideas are feasible. As soon as a rough stand design has been agreed, the individual brands can start to work out how and where they would like their motifs to appear on the walls and display areas. I call a brand manager meeting for this, present the stands, give them all the information I have got and ask them if there is anything else they need.
Once that is sorted, the around 15 service contractors involved in the design and installation of a trade fair stand are booked for the respective dates. And the closer the event, the more there is to do. A lot of details are still left to be organised in between, such as a stand party etc. It is always a bit of a relief to see the fruit of all my labours once the trade fair is under way.

Do you enjoy a lot of individual scope and flexibility or is it more a case of having to stick to a set procedure?

You have to be very flexible in Marketing. Due to our brand diversity, a great number of colleagues are also involved in the process. Everyone has other priorities with regard to trade fairs and events, which you have to respond to by taking them on board. If something goes wrong somewhere, it affects everyone along the line: service contractors who will not get the plans and banner printing details on time; the contractors who then have to print these, and so on. Therefore, everybody who is involved has to have a certain degree of flexibility, they must be prepared to have to do it all over again if need be. Sometimes, someone might also have a great idea which simply has to be realised even though there are only five days left to go to the trade fair. That is a huge effort, of course, but of course you still want to make it possible and you do everything you can to push it through.

Do you think the Uzin Utz AG offers good career prospects?

The Uzin Utz AG definitely acknowledges potential. I was really surprised to be given the opportunity of heading the Marketing Services team after such a short time with the company. It is not like that in every company, that you are given recognition and promoted as quickly as this. The general attitude of really supporting the staff is just great. The company supports and promotes you, but also demands something in return. You can reap what you have sowed. In other companies, others sometimes reap what you have sowed. Here, you really do reap the fruit of your own labour.

Do you feel happy here as far as your team is concerned, what is the atmosphere like?

The atmosphere is brilliant and very relaxed, it's great fun. I was already used to an extremely relaxed atmosphere and a great team at Legoland, so of course, I was worried, initially. That is always something that worries you when you change companies: will I get on with everyone in the team, will I get on with my colleagues? I needn't have worried, I was made very welcome right from the start. I started in mid-August, and the first major trade fair was in January, so everyone helped me as much as they could.

Do you have a good work-life balance?

I would say my job is very seasonal. At times, it's five months of go, go, go, so I work longer hours, my private life comes second. But there are also times when things slow down a bit, and I can just take time off in lieu for all the overtime I have done during the busy periods. Which again serves to prove the company's flexibility. That is also something I really like, that I am allowed to manage my own time, I decide when I work how much.
What do you particularly appreciate about the Uzin Utz AG?
I particularly value the way the company appreciates the staff. In the Uzin Utz AG anniversary year, for instance, they organised a lot of events for their staff. You can tell that we are really appreciated.

Sabrina Gold, National Customer Services

What do you do, what are your responsibilities, and how long have you been with the company?

I have been working for the Uzin Utz AG in the National Customer Services department for about six months now. As far as the customers are concerned, I am responsible for the entire north and east of the country for the brands Uzin, Codex, Wolff, and RZ. I take orders, check that the goods have been delivered, negotiate prices, I write or cancel invoices etc. In short, I do everything to ensure that the customers are satisfied. I have daily customer contact over the telephone. As my area is relatively far away from head office, I only get to meet the customers face to face once a year, which is a shame. When I do, it's brilliant to see what actually happens out there in the field, what happens to our products once they have been delivered to the major customers, to see our products on their shelves.

What qualifications to you have?

I qualified as a health care assistant, but working in a GP's practice all day long was not really my cup of tea. So I moved on to a company in the pharmaceutical industry, where I worked in customer services for 8 years. Last year, I did a four-month course in business management to catch up on that side of things.

What are your first impressions after these 6 months?

Very positive, I was really surprised that everyone in the company is so approachable. In my last job, nobody knew anybody else, you know, that's just the way it usually is in a large firm. You are just a number. And here, everyone greets me with 'Good morning, Ms Gold!'. You can tell that the team spirit and the working atmosphere are really good here; basically, you are not competing against each other, the way it is in many other companies, you work as a team.

Were you thrown in at the deep end, initially?

You have some adjusting to do in any new job, of course. But the colleagues were always there for me and helped me whenever I didn't know something. I mean, there is no way you can always know everything, particularly if the customer liaison is so extensive and you have so many new brands to look after. But my colleagues really showed me the ropes. And the customers were also very understanding. They knew that this was a new challenge for me and they gave me the time I needed to find my feet.

How many people are there in your team?

There are eight of us in our team.

Customer services sounds like it is quite a busy department! Would you agree?

Yes, we are really busy, actually, there is always something going on and it's really diverse. We are extremely customer-focused, and there are constantly changes on the market that we need to respond to immediately, and which we then have to implement. There's never a dull moment in our department!
What skills does someone working in customer services need to have?
You have to be able to approach customers openly. You need to be able to communicate with them. You need to be able to cope well in stressful situations, as all orders have to be booked into the system by 9.30 in the morning, so sometimes you have an awful lot going on at the same time. You have to be an early riser, as we have to start at half past seven in the morning, at the latest. You have to be able to respond quickly if a product can't be delivered for one reason or another. Because the customer still needs the product, as they have tight deadlines to meet. So then you need to find an alternative as quickly as you can and, for example, liaise with the sales reps as to whether you can maybe arrange for the customer to collect the product from a wholesalers, or whether one of the sales reps can deliver it to the customer.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy everything about my job. Sure, sometimes everything happens at the same time and then you need to take a deep breath and just get on with it, but I still enjoy it, even then.

How does the Uzin Utz AG compare to a larger company, say your former employer?

Everything is far more individualised here. You are not just a number, and the jobs aren't strictly divided. You are allowed to think outside the box here, you can have a look at what the other departments are doing in order to get a feeling for the whole process, everything that's happening. You don't just do your job day after day without any idea of what it's all for.
Do you have career development opportunities, and are you allowed input?
Yes, at Uzin Utz, everyone's input is taken on board, your opinion is heard. That is really great. I am glad that I have ended up here, in a company where you aren't just a number, but appreciated as a human being, where kindness and treating each other with respect is still seen as something very important.

Angelika Seregi, Human Resources Consultant and Business Management Training Administrator

What are your responsibilities at the Uzin Utz AG?

I manage all business management training. I am responsible for the recruitment and training of all BA and industrial business management assistant dual education system degree course students. In addition, I work as a consultant in Human Resources.

What qualifications to you have?

I did my traineeship with the Uzin Utz AG and qualified as an industrial business management assistant in 1994. I was then taken on as executive secretary and worked for the works management for a few years. I left the company in 2001 to expand my horizon. But I rejoined the company in 2007, when I was offered my current position.

Why did you decide to come back?

I had done my training at the Uzin Utz AG, and had already worked here for a few years afterwards. So I had become quite attached to the company, on a personal level. When I got the chance to rejoin the company in the exciting field of human resources, I gladly took the opportunity, as I knew how friendly everyone here is, how nice the colleagues are and how good the working atmosphere. I 'came home', basically.

Why are you particularly interested in the field of human resources?

The exciting thing about human resources is that I am providing a support service to my colleagues. Particularly in the training area, I have a lot of contact with young people, which I really enjoy. It keep me young at heart!

What are the career prospects at the Uzin Utz AG?

Brilliant, in my opinion. I started as an industrial business management assistant trainee, was then offered the position of executive secretary, and now I run the business management training department. That was a super opportunity for me, and I was glad to take it.

How much scope do you have in your day to day work?

I plan and coordinate my responsibilities all by myself, which is another thing I really like about the company. I organise everything related to training myself, such as recruitment interviews or education fairs.

How many people are there in your team?

There are five of us in Human Resources. We are a great team, and all of us originally came from a wide range of other fields.
What do you particularly appreciate about the Uzin Utz AG as an employer?
I love the family-feeling and the great working atmosphere. We have many long-serving colleagues, so you know each other. Especially when you have done your training here, as you spend some time in each of the company's departments and get to know everyone really well. There is a strong team spirit and high level of engagement at Uzin Utz. It is communicated from the top down. The director knows every member of staff personally. There are no barriers, people treat each other congenially and are there for each other as colleagues.

What is your work-life balance like?

We are covered by the collective labour agreement for the chemical industry, and under the framework conditions defined in that, we are allowed plenty of scope for designing our working hours flexibly.
Does the company give you opportunities for further qualification?
We have the 'Horizon' programme, which is run by staff for staff and offers great seminars, for example on how to conduct performance reviews, how to organise daily office routines even better, Excel training and so on. The company also promotes personal development, for instance studying part-time.

Anything else you would like to add?
I am proud to be working for the Uzin Utz AG.