Haglöfs is »Supplier of the year« 2012 at Globetrotter

The Globetrotter award »Supplier of the Year« is highly coveted in the industry and rather unknown to customers even though they benefit most from perfect service and excellent teamwork behind the scenes. 4-Seasons talked to Herbert Horelt, manager of Haglöfs in Germany, and award winner 2012.

Herbert, at the Outdoor Trade Fair in Friedrichshafen, a 20-strong delegation from Globetrotter came to the Haglöfs stand and congratulated you with a thunderous applause. You looked a bit confused…

Indeed. I felt very honoured that our effort had come to fruition. You don’t just become »Supplier of the Year« at Globetrotter, the cooperation has to work on the long term and on every level.

­And yet, Haglöfs Germany has not been on the market for too long…

Strong in the rucksack segment too: Haglöfs from Sweden. | Photo: Haglöfs
Haglöfs is a tradition Swedish company, but Haglöfs Germany GmbH only started in 2003 taking responsibility for the specialist retailers of sports and outdoor goods in Germany and Austria. Nowadays, Germany is one of the most important export markets for Haglöfs. The Globetrotter award shows us that we are doing a good job. We are proud of it.

What do you have to do especially well to become »Supplier of the Year«?

The right products have to be at the right place at the right time. Sounds simple, is sometimes a bit tricky though.

Let’s start from the beginning…

The run-up takes up to two years. At the beginning we have the production development. Prototypes get made and tested by »Haglöfs‘ friends« like mountaineers, professional skiers, expedition participants. Lots of things have to be changed and improved until you finally introduce the sample to the retailer. Half a year before the sale date, the retailer decides what to include in their range.

An exciting date, isn’t it?

Oh yes. Of course we have roughly an idea which items from the collection they might choose. Sometimes products are chosen that we had not expected. The experience of the Globetrotter purchasing team helps tremendously.

So, you start producing the ordered products straight away?

We produce even more to ensure availability. We usually keep a reserve for Globetrotter so that customers will not stand in front of empty shelves in case everything gets sold out quicker than expected. The ideal situation is that all sizes and colours are available from season’s start to season’s end. It is a logistical challenge, because apart from production, there are also factors like transportation or the delivery of material from Gore-Tex, for example. Only one mistake in the chain and you’re already too late…

The »Supplier of the Year« is also supposed to be accommodating and customer friendly. What does this mean?

It pretty much means able to attend to problems and requests immediately. Items for which justified complaints are made will be replaced in the shop without any trouble and sent back to us for examination. Even in border-line cases we usually decide in favour of the customer. And if somebody has torn his favourite jacket, we help and repair it at cost price.

Haglöfs is currently set up at the special spot in the store in Dresden and from March 2013 in Munich. What are the rewards for you?

We can display a broader range and present the whole range of the Haglöfs brand at a glance. Additionally, Haglöfs Germany celebrates its ten-year jubilee in 2013, Haglöfs Sweden even turns 100 years in 2014. There’s lots to celebrate!

Two years ago, Haglöfs was taken over by the Japanese sports group Asics. Will customers notice the change?

Haglöfs continues to operate independently but benefits from production and know-how. A nice example is our trail running shoe: Haglöfs has 150 employees worldwide whilst Asics employs distinctly more people alone in the area of the outsole. It was great to receive new tips. If, then our cooperation will be noticed in a positive way.

 

4-Seasons Info
 

At home in Allgäu

Herbert Horelt (48) was born in Allgäu and is an old hand in the outdoor industry. When Haglöfs Germany was looking for a location, it was not a difficult question for the skier and kayaker: Kempten; mountains, lakes and rivers are right on the doorstep.