What’s it like doing business in the Nordic region? Sales Manager for Trelleborg Pipe Seals, Gudrun Uhlmann, says the trick is to have a pair of jeans in your suitcase at all times. Read on to find out why!
Who are you?
Gudrun Uhlmann, 61, Sales Manager for Trelleborg Pipe Seals in the Nordic region.
How long have you worked with Trelleborg and what do you do?
I have been working in sales for Trelleborg for almost 14 years; supplying our Forsheda brand of pipe seals to concrete and plastic pipe manufacturers in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Finland. Prior to this, I worked with polymer testing and material development in other product areas for more than 40 years.
What is the key challenge that you face in your job?
The key challenge is to keep up the good work, keep up the good service, and come up with new solutions whenever customers face new challenges and needs.
What do you like about working with Trelleborg?
Trelleborg has a wide knowledge within the field of polymers, and within Trelleborg Pipe Seals, there is a lot of knowledge about sealing technology -- and I like that. I like working in a company with so many competent colleagues around the world. Trelleborg's Forsheda Pipe Seals also has a very good reputation in the market and our customers have always trusted us to find the best solution for their different business needs.
How do you think the business in your area is evolving? How can companies such as Trelleborg meet this challenge?
The world is changing with climate change and big infrastructure projects increasing demand for better, more technologically advanced products. New pipeline systems are nowadays expected to have a lifetime of at least 120 years. Local municipalities are very focused on the durability and environmentally sustainable aspects of products.
This is why we as a company need to be one step ahead in developing products to meet this demand, getting them certified, and testing their lifecycles can take a long time.
What is it like working in the Nordic region of Europe?
The Scandinavian languages are pretty similar so we understand each other rather well most of the time. However, some words sound the same but have different meanings, so we always have to be careful not to be misunderstood.
While there are some cultural differences, the Scandinavian way of doing business is mostly the same. We are rather relaxed when it comes to clothing, for example, and if I came to a production meeting overdressed, it would show that I did not understand the business. So a good pair of jeans is a must-have in my suitcase.
What do you do in your free time?
During the winter, I do some fitness training. Nothing serious, but just because I enjoy exercising and the nice feeling of relaxing in the sauna afterwards. In summer, I enjoy playing golf. I also love spending time in nature. In Sweden, nature is never far away, so outdoor activities are an integral part of life even though I live in Gothenburg city center.