Having been with us for 24 years, Daniela Esanu, PPG logistics and planning manager, has a unique view on the market in Romania. She tells us about how she and her team coped with a sudden boom in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, the building of a new warehouse and how a miracle or two happened on the way.
A Stable and Successful Acquisition
After graduating with a degree in economics in 1998, Daniela accepted a job as logistics officer at Deutek Technology. She became manager of the purchasing department in 2004. Just two years later, she was promoted to supply chain manager.
PPG acquired Deutek in 2017 and with it, Daniela became our logistics and planning manager, Architectural Coatings.
Daniela says the integration was a “big success” and that it was followed by “the best year in terms of the business” in Romania.
In some companies in Romania, you can see the management changing very often. But that is not the case of PPG. Seeing strong and lasting leadership not only gives us stability but is very important in being able to execute a strategy.
And we should not forget to mention the advantages of being part of a large company, and also benefiting from the experience and know-how of the regional management team.
Do-It-Yourselfers Drive Sales During COVID-19
At the beginning of the pandemic, Daniela and her team had just two days to find a way of enabling all office personnel to work from home, even though some didn’t have computers and there weren’t enough laptops for everybody.
We were forced to make decisions from one second to the next. In logistics, the speed of responding to customer requirements is a competitive advantage that contributes significantly to the company's success.
The team quickly reduced inventory as much as possible, telling all suppliers to stop everything. They realized, however, that people staying at home grow an interest in home refurbishment and have more money to spend as they can’t travel.
It was very, very good for us. We started to receive huge volumes of orders… but without any inventory. We had to build it up almost from zero. It was the most challenging moment in the last two years.
“Miracle After Miracle” to Move Forward, Fast
As part of our drive forward, we have been moving toward automated production processes, and our Bucharest site has nearly finished implementing robots for filling lines.
Having robots in production means you need fewer people on the shop floor – but you need more space.
Combined with the increase in production, it became clear they needed a new warehouse. Therefore, in February 2020, negotiations started with a developer. But one week before signing the contract, the deal fell through due to changes in local legislation.
Daniela knew they had to be in a new warehouse by November 2021. How would they negotiate and sign a contract, build a warehouse and get everything ready in just nine months? She needed a miracle.
That first miracle happened. Then it was miracle after miracle, and all went to plan.
The building structure was there and, thanks to a preexisting PPG relationship with the provider, the contract structure was there too.
Our new warehouse allows us to keep the momentum going and meet our future production needs. It's all about doing better today than yesterday, every day.
A Courageous Female Leader
Daniela is always surprised to hear her team say they want to learn courage from her.
They are all convinced I'm courageous. I’m not so sure. I hope they would say that I am a good friend to them.
When asked about diversity and being a woman in her line of work, she says the team in Romania has “natural diversity”, with four females and three males in top management positions.
Before the pandemic, Daniela and her partner liked to take city breaks every three months. Now they spend weekends at their cottage working on their small plot of land where they grow flowers and vegetables. Her two puppies go everywhere with her. Which is a nice change from the second-to-second momentum helping keep PPG at the top in Romania.