Making Changes at H-OI

…we have a new Director Human Resources, Marketing and Communication

Verena Favre tells us about herself, describes her first impressions of the company, and more.

Verena, please tell us something about your professional experience.

Besides my 3 years in Hamburg and Munich while employed at MTV networks GmbH, I worked for over 15 years at H & M Hennes & Mauritz Group involving several different roles and positions in various countries. My responsibilities focused mainly on the areas of Human Resources, marketing, and communication in both retail/sales/expansion and sourcing/production. Most recently — the last five years — I held the position of Head of Human Resources for H & M Production, the group’s sourcing and supply chain business unit headquartered in Hong Kong.

What made the most positive impression on you on your first day?

Definitely the people. And to me, it’s the people who make the difference.

What is your general impression of H-OI after just one week?

It’s a very positive one. I have received a very warm welcome, and everyone has been very supportive in all areas. The work environment and a company’s culture and values are very important to me.

Did anything strike you on your first day that you knew you would be changing right away?

Ha ha, yes…the desk in my office. It’s quite big and bulky and definitely better suited to a conference room. People might not even see me behind that huge piece of furniture.

Obviously, you cannot be expected to have strategy after only one week, but are there any topics that you have always found important in your area of work? A general philosophy?

To secure the future of H-OI, it will be essential to attract, develop, engage, and retain talented people. We want to inspire and create an environment in which people function at their natural best. Talent management will definitely be one focal point in the coming years. This, in combination with the company’s ambition and strategy of digital transformation, means we can look forward to very exciting times.

This leads us right to our next topic:

… we have appointed a CDO (Chief Digital Officer)

Digital transformation leads to agility, and as Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder, says:

“In today’s era of volatility, there is no other way but to re-invent. The only sustainable advantage you can have over others is agility, that’s it. Because nothing else is sustainable, everything else you create, somebody else will replicate.”

Digital transformation is one of the most important topics for enterprises everywhere in today’s world. It is generating a wealth of opportunities, and it is essential for the future success of Hermes-OTTO International in working with its vendors as well as with its customers.

The importance of a clear focus and the necessity to drive digital transformation within H-OI prompted the appointment of Sven Jasper as Chief Digital Officer in January 2017.

Sven has worked for H-OI since 2000; during this time, he has served as General Manager Hardlines Asia, Director IT, and Director Sourcing & Supply Chain Services.

In view of his experience in sourcing, supply chain, and technology, we are certain that Sven, who is truly a digital visionary, and his collaboration with the H-OI team will play an important role in the transformation of our company into a leading sustainable, sourcing, trading, and service organization.

… we have reorganized Research & Development and Business Development

Customer centricity has always been an important factor in the services sector. The founding of the Business Development department last year is the physical embodiment of this commitment within our organization. Our second step along the same road was the addition of our Research & Development team to Roland van Os’s division.

BD’s task is to strengthen our cooperation with new and existing customers. And, obviously, it is a great asset for our product development to be so closely associated with the BD colleagues in our organizational structure. Roland van Os, Director BD and R&D: “The inspiration works both ways: R&D receives all customer-related input first hand, and BD has direct access to the H-OI creative department. This improves our services substantially”.

“We are pleased to introduce to you our new Sales Manager, Kiwi Lee. Kiwi joined the Hermes-OTTO International Sales and Business Development team at the beginning of this year and will work from her office in Switzerland to support new and existing customers,” says Roland.

Kiwi was formerly based at H-OI Hong Kong, where she was Senior Merchandise Manager for KMO and QVC. Over time, Kiwi has gained a wealth of knowledge and valuable H-OI experience; in combination with her solid understanding of the operation and requirements of the customers, this makes her the perfect person for the job. Kiwi will be the face of the company for several key accounts; she will give product presentations to buyers and — an important point — will communicate all product needs internally, providing the R&D team with valuable information about the latest developments on the market and for our customers.

Roland: “We needed to make some changes in our BD department as well. Kerstin Neumann, Division Manager Research & Development Apparel, will be leaving Hong Kong and returning to Germany for personal reasons. With effect from May 15th, 2017, she will take on the role of Product Development Manager based in Hamburg. Kerstin will be responsible for product development, trend forecasting and research & development matters. She will support customers in Europe and coordinate directly with the global Research & Development team in Hong Kong. She will continue to report to Roland van Os. Kerstin significantly contributed to the professionalization of the Research & Development operations and to the development of the sample room in H-OI Dongguan over the past four years.”

Kerstin’s position in Hong Kong will be taken over by Katharina Bobrowski. Katharina brings with her extensive experience and profound knowledge of research and development. Prior to joining H-OI, she worked for several sourcing companies, including Quelle GmbH, and was based in Germany, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. For the last 4 years, Katharina worked for a Hong Kong-based sourcing company where she supervised research and product development. We are very happy to have her on board.

At the moment, the main topics we are working on at R&D are online trend updates, the digital showroom for product developments, fabric sourcing, and design services.

… and we have a bigger office in Wuhan

We look forward to welcoming H-OI China customers to our new Wuhan office.

Over 800 km from Shanghai, 900 km from Hong Kong, but reachable in 5 hours, Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province in central China, is the site of H-OI China’s newest office. This metropolis on the Yangtze river, which has a population of over ten million, is our new hub from which we will exploit the sourcing potential that the central China provinces can offer to our customers.

H-OI China opened a small office in Wuhan two years ago, and in light of increased migration of production from coastal China to the interior and new supplier opportunities in central China, we have now tripled the size of our office presence here. In this stylishly renovated garment factory situated in Hankou, in the center of Wuhan, we offer full apparel merchandising and QA services.