Giel van Stiphout
Position: Category Manager | Brand: Clipper | Location: The Netherlands
"For my job as a Category Manager, I travel 2 times a year to China!"
Tell us: since when are you working for Plato Group?
Three years ago I entered Clipper gifts, one of the brands of Plato Group.
How did you end up at Plato Group?
The Plato Group was a customer of my former employer. I was interested in the company because I heard some good things about it in my network.
I was connected with the CEO of the Plato Group on linkedin and send him a message that I was interested to talk. He connected me to the purchasing manager for a job interview.
What are your tasks and responsibilities?
Since September 2017 I work as a Category Manager for Clipper, supplier of promotional products in Europe. As a category manager I am responsible for multiple categories. My job is to introduce new products to the assortment. I will actively manage the introduction of new products to support company sales, margins and return on investment goals. So basically my task is to develop and manage category level plans that align with the company’s strategic direction.
How do you experience working for Plato Group?
Very good! Plato Group is an international company with a combination of business and family culture. A company that is in a transition which makes it dynamic. I feel very pleased and energetic in my current role. The fact that I can combine traveling, commercial activities and analytics in one job makes it challenging and fun.
What was your highlight in the last 3 years?
The fact that I got the job of category manager for Clipper around a year ago. Now it is for me the challenge to perform the role in a good way.
Could you share with us fun and/or interesting facts about working for us / your job, which people should know?
For my job as a category manager I travel 2 times a year to China. The first time I have visited China was two years ago. What intrigued me was the cultural difference in doing business. It's easy for foreigners to make mistakes. For example the way you present your business card. if you're giving it to a someone who is Chinese, present it in both hands. Also the use of wechat, a Chinese social platform, is very interesting. WeChat is a very popular app in China and in terms of functionality and possibilities, this app is far ahead of apps that we use in our daily lives. It is a mix between Whatsapp and Facebook, but this app is so advanced that you can even pay with it. Also another thing is that the Chinese do not send text messages but sound messages. This has everything to do with the Chinese language. A supplier of our company explained us that the modern Chinese language consists out of 12.000 characters and as Chinese you need at least 4,000 to 5,000 characters to read and write. The fun is to experience these kind of cultural things and learn from it.