Keeping an eye on the big picture
When Selina Hipp started planning her career path, logistics wasn’t even on the list. Neither was the chemical industry. But now she combines both in her role as Business Development Manager Switzerland DACHSER Chem Logistics.
Determination, inquisitiveness, and a fair amount of courage—it is with these qualities that Selina Hipp approaches many aspects of life, including her career. When the opportunity arose to try something entirely new at DACHSER in Switzerland, the 31-year-old jazz dance enthusiast didn’t take long to say yes. But her new role as Business Development Manager Switzerland DACHSER Chem Logistics came with its share of challenges. “The chemical industry is important for DACHSER’s operations in Switzerland and holds vast potential,” Hipp says. “Working in this very exciting, but also complex, market environment means first building up a specialized skill set.” This meant lots of analyzing, learning, and close collaboration from day one. “We gelled as a team right away, and my colleagues are always on hand to offer advice and assistance,” Hipp says.
A detour toward logistics
Hipp has felt at home in the DACHSER world for quite a while now. It’s almost five years since this young German woman made the lateral career move to join the company. “When I saw the ad for a position at DACHSER, I thought it looked exciting. I was already familiar with the brand because my uncle worked in the transport and logistics sector,” Hipp says. But it certainly wasn’t a given that she herself would end up working in logistics. Hipp gained her initial professional experience while she was studying business administration—first at an event agency, then at a management consultancy, before being recruited by a technology start-up. “These different positions taught me how to gain trust, how to prepare and present information for specific target groups, and how to engineer cost-effective planning and organization. And to always keep an eye on the big picture. But none of this seemed to have much to do with logistics,” Hipp says.
“The chemical industry is important for DACHSER’s operations in Switzerland and holds vast potential.”
By now, logistics has become her second home. Hipp started at DACHSER in 2016, proving herself an asset as an assistant to the country manager for Switzerland. It was there that she served as a point of contact for branch, sales, and department managers and as a liaison to other international subsidiaries and to the Head Office in Kempten, Germany. “It was a very varied job, requiring a great deal of patience, empathy, and perseverance. At the same time, I was given responsibility over several projects, for example in the field of innovation. I helped roll out Idea2net, DACHSER’s strategic innovation program, in Switzerland. I was also in charge of the reception and supervised twelve trainees.” While she was busy with all that, Hipp also studied part-time to gain her Master’s degree, focusing on strategic management. The next rung on her career ladder was the newly created position of Business Development Manager Switzerland DACHSER Chem Logistics.
A new position
Although the DACHSER Chem Logistics corporate solution already existed in Switzerland, Hipp was tasked with accelerating its expansion. Prior to taking up her new post, she completed a wide range of training courses at some of DACHSER’s international branches. She also worked with DACHSER Chem Logistics experts at the Head Office in Germany, as well as with her new and former boss, Switzerland Country Manager Urs Häner, on raising the profile of the industry solution for Switzerland.
“Over the next five years, we want to establish the DACHSER Chem Logistics corporate solution as a well-known player in the Swiss chemical industry and the preferred logistics partner for local chemical companies,” Hipp says. “That is our mission and I’m looking forward to doing my part to achieve it.” She has the full support of the experts at the Head Office, who are her key contacts for any technical questions. Hipp also works closely with the Swiss sales managers and their teams. Her work focuses on market analysis, helping the sales organization with queries about all aspects of chemicals, and evaluating or even putting together training courses.
In addition to her responsibilities as Business Development Manager, Hipp continues to look after the Idea2net innovation program in Switzerland together with an eight-person ideas committee. All employees can submit their ideas for improving the DACHSER world. For example, in Switzerland work is underway on tutorials designed to help trainees with their day-to-day learning processes. One employee idea that is currently being developed by the Head Office in Germany relates to the technical aspects of customs clearance information.
There is another issue that lies close to Hipp’s heart. In the future, she would like to see more women pursue a career in logistics: “I’m often the only woman at the table, and I can imagine that a female point of view would be a major asset in many cases.” At DACHSER, women in key positions are still in the minority, but they are not a rarity. The company’s Grevenmacher branch in Luxembourg is managed by a team of young women. And other country organizations—in Europe and in Asia—also have women in management positions. “Their success is a real incentive for me,” Hipp says.