Daniela Sima, the manager who wants to lead the independent retail in the Champions League

He has 22 years of experience in the Romanian retail market, a background that legitimizes Daniela Sima, Senior Director of Procurement at CBA Partners, as one of the “little dinosaurs” in the industry. Recently, he crossed the barrier and represented the interests of the alliance of some of the most important domestic retailers, which aims to improve their level of competitiveness in order to keep pace with the expansion of international players.

She spent her pioneering time at Selgros Cash & Carry, a company where Daniela Sima worked for 16 years and gained experience in the positions of Category Manager, Purchasing Manager and Marketing Manager. She has stuck to the role of buyer and honestly says that “once you’re in the procurement business, your purchases will always flow through your veins.” He expressed his creativity in category management projects or in opening new stores where he was actively involved. “I like to think that I am a creative person, I have been involved in the layouts, and made the categories so that they relate to each other according to the principles of cross-trading and to attract more clients,” says Daniela Sima.

The international retailer’s tenure was also a moment of great changes in the Romanian business landscape. When Daniela joined Selgros, the competition was only at Carrefour and Metro. “So we are talking about a virgin market, which has changed drastically in the meantime with the entry of big players, such as the Schwartz Group. I stayed with Selgros, but I can’t help but notice what other retailers are doing. I love watching them, love analyzing their strategies. It is clear that Those who care about the assortment, as well as the price, will benefit.Because time is very precious to everyone, the Internet has developed a lot recently, I believe that food retail will not decrease, people will still want and will frequent the experiences in stores.Many consumers like to contact the product Before buying, rely on tactile experience.“The Internet isolates you from some sensory experience,” says the manager.

One of the opportunities of that period, in his view, was the opportunity to learn the ABCs of acquisitions from the experienced people of the Selgros Group, along with the trainings organized in Germany. “There wasn’t a lot of knowledge back then. I learned by doing. That was the big challenge, but Silgros was a very good teacher,” notes Daniela.

Life After Celgros

Her career proceeded naturally with the entry into the training area, where Daniela tried to teach key account managers how a buyer thinks, that aside from numbers, in negotiation, the human element is very important. “The boyars have changed today, and unfortunately, many people focus on numbers, and you no longer have that human interaction. I think human interaction is very important, even if we are in the world of numbers, even if everyone defends their company goals”, believes the director.

He frankly admits that, despite his difficult temper at times, he was always a human manager, relying more on the relationship with people than on the results you can get from negotiations. “I may have lost 0.1% at some point during the negotiations, but in the long run I am convinced that I gained more. I was tough, but I was right. The open doors I have at the moment in many companies are due to my way of being,” confirms Daniela.

In his opinion, one of the essential qualities of a manager is the sincerity of admitting that there is always room for learning and improvement. “As a manager, you have to keep yourself informed, don’t just rely on your experience, learn from the people around you and your team and don’t think you know them all. It’s better to succumb to your weakness, and from here we learn and become better. I made mistakes because I did. There A complete error theory, and I don’t agree with not letting people make mistakes. “They help you grow,” Daniela says.

The way she learned to relate to the culture of error was also influenced by her passion for golf, a sport that helps her secure her work-life balance and which she has been practicing for over 15 years. “I love golf and through practicing it I’ve learned to have more patience, and set my goals very well. It helps you have the energy to get back to the top when you’re at the base of the mountain. It taught me to start over, because it wasn’t easy.” For me even when I left Selgros, but it is important to get up and move forward with the same values. The sport taught me to strengthen myself mentally and to think differently,” says Daniela.

On the other side of the barrier

An interesting decision was made last year, when Daniela became the Senior Procurement Director for the CBA Partners SRL Alliance, which consists of Barta Ati Satu Mare, Elan-Trio Odorheiu Secuiesc, Dacia SA Alba Iulia, Safeway Stores Cluj Napoca, Konsta Splendid Mediaș and CBA Nord Vest Satu Mare, companies with a cumulative turnover at the 2020 level of more than 800 million lei, more than 70 supermarkets, cash-and-carry locations and 1,400 employees. From this position, Daniela represents associated companies in negotiations with national suppliers.

“I would say CBA Partners is a multinational because we have Romanian, Hungarian and Jordanian. They work differently, I was able to understand them, understand how they work, the fact that they might not have access to a lot of information, but they are evolving and they want to learn. I see that for this The alliance has great potential. They are the most important independent retailers in Transylvania, together with Unicarm, and they have the potential to become a better name”, believes Daniela.

It is not an easy path as local retailers have been on the same path for years, and the strategy needs to change in order to stand a chance in the face of modern retail expansion. “After many years of driving the same car, on the same road, it’s normal for a new way to seem strange to you. We have to admit that in the local retail space a lot of adding has been made, and that’s what these companies have lived on. But we are trying to change the paradigm. And to become competitive, so we need, among other things, to monitor prices, the steps that international retailers are taking. We have to have categories where you have smaller margin and turnover and categories where you have higher margin,” says the manager.

Upon detailed analysis, Daniela claims that negotiating in traditional retail is definitely more difficult because suppliers have so far given another package of business terms to local retailers. “I’m trying to bring my knowledge to IKA and trying to convince suppliers that it’s time to try it out. Retailers are ready for change, they want more development, and they’re showing their suppliers that they want to get closer to the mindset and approach to what’s happening in international retail,” says Daniela. .

Finally, seriousness is also one of the strengths of local retailers, with which they can protect their business in competition with international players. Building partnerships, opening new ones, and implementing existing tools in the store is just as important.

“Traditional retail has a lot to learn, but it is not a losing battle. If that fear of modern retailers disappears, the future will look good. If you want to play in the Champions League, you have to play with the equipment and rules of the Champions League, with a coached team. You just have to be More discerning with the help you give to others. If we sit down and complain that IKA is coming to us, and that they’re opening stores on the conveyor belt, we’re not going to solve anything,” says Daniela.

What’s next for Daniela Sima? “You know, I still make mistakes and allow myself to be vulnerable. I love staying in the retail area, I love negotiating, I love making people discover themselves and discover their values. The manager concludes that it is important to give feedback and tell people what they are doing well, not Just the bad.”

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