What do you do when you’re left with big shoes to fill? Try’em on, tie them up and start running. Florentina Taudor, General Manager Renania Trade, talks about the company’s achievements 2 years after she took over the perfectly-healthy and successful market leader of the safety equipment business and what it takes to go from good to better.
AdHugger: You’ve been the General Manager of Renania for over two years now. How do you take a profitable market leader company from the hands of its founders and further develop it?
Florentina Taudor: When things are going very well, it’s hard to see what can be improved. You know great things are expected from you, but those have to be even greater than what’s already accomplished. I started by taking a leap into Renania’s future and trying to see what it will need to be a successful business several years in. Once I had that figured out, I took a step back and consolidated the company’s foundation.
AdH: What did you find as necessary for the future and what do you mean by the company’s foundation?
F.T.: I believe the future is about digitization, design and technology – combined. By the company’s foundation I mean how we operate at the very basics. Therefore, we applied those factors to the way we work. With the immense efforts of my team, we implemented the WMS system in record time. This is a digital mechanism which lets us access our database and check on stocks and accounting with a simple bar-code scan. This obviously improves on our time management and productivity.
Let’s not forget about the human resource: we constantly hire and train people to efficiently use the new technologies we implement. We now have 133 employees, we’re constantly looking to expand our sales team in the territory and we provide them with state-of-the-art client management solutions.
AdH: Considering that the nature of the business is largely B2B at present, a good image within the community is desirable. How do you manage that, as a company?
F.T.: I mentioned earlier design and technology. We apply those within our company as our sales teams are equipped with tablets and what we call Renania Configurator: a soft that allows the client to design and configure their safety equipment on the spot, with the desired colours, materials and features to fit their business. By the time our sales rep leaves the client, we’re already working on their order. However, we apply the same philosophy outside of the company.
Recognizing the importance of good design for future generations, we empowered a young talented team from The Alternative School of Creative Thinking to take part in the international Young Lions Design competition at Cannes Lions. They made the country proud and won Gold against around 30 other countries, proving our intuition was correct: design is worth investing in. Therefore, we went further and organized a camp, Future Creators (Creatori de Viitor), where youngsters were encouraged to think from a designer’s perspective. In short, our responsibility towards communities and our focus on education, as well as the quality services we provide take care of our image all on their own.
AdH: Apart from the social and educational commitments, what responsibilities do you take on Romania’s work safety industry?
F.T.: We are organizing a series of events meant to educate the larger audience, the employers and fellow safety equipment providers: we share our expertise and create the opportunities to do so. So far, we’ve organized the first Workplace Safety Management Forum in Bucharest and have created a platform, Renania Academy, that activated in Craiova, Ploiesti, Timisoara and even outside the country, in Chisinau, with more locations to come. We’re in the business of protecting lives, of taking the workers back home to their families safe – and we take it seriously. As a result, whatever we can do to inform people and prevent injuries, we’ll do.
AdH: All in all, what has changed in Renania in the past 2 years?
F.T.: The company’s whole ecosystem, basically. Usually people ask “why change something that’s already working well?”. Well, because by changing it we accomplished even better, quite remarkable results – if I may say so. It is a challenge to see how things could evolve in the long run, but that’s the ability a good manager should have. We’ve passed audits from top 4 companies such as Deloitte with honors, as well as clients’ independent ones.
We now manage to deliver anywhere in the country within 24 hours and we have the largest range of safety products in Romania, available in Renania’s or our partners’ showrooms and online. Our profit and turnover are both up since last year. Our workforce is bigger and stronger every month. We have had and keep on having huge, ambitious objectives, but our results prove our team can achieve them.
Florentina Taudor has over 10 years of experience in executive positions across multiple financial companies with international exposure. She became the General Manager of Renania in 2012, being recommended by her sales performances, efficient organizational skills and talent to inspire people. Her principles: “form, share, cultivate initiatives and reward” created in Renania a system of encouraging competences that allowed the development of a motivational workplace. She was awarded an MBA from Bled School of Management, Slovenia and in 2013 was awarded in Top 100 Young Managers published by Business Magazin.
Renania has 18 years of experience and is the market leader in the import and distribution of health and safety equipment in Romania. In the first semester of 2014, its turnover grew 14% compared to the same period last year. With now a team of 133 employees versus 126 in 2013, the company is well on its targeted profit line. After heavily investing in their employees’ well-being, trainings, team buildings, educational projects and digital systems, Renania passed several external audits with flying colors. Customer satisfaction is one of their main constant goals (full product customization, fast delivery, competent consulting services). The company promises further ambitious objectives are to be accomplished in the near future.