Dragana Jovanovic, Gebrüder Weiss – New Challenges at World’s Oldest Logistics Company
Dragana Jovanovic (Photo: Gebruder Weiss)
During the latest crisis, there have been changes in transport routes, transport costs have increased, and the energy price trends are uncertain as well. Events in the field of realization of payments from countries related to the crisis are also uncertain – says Dragana Jovanovic, the finance manager at Gebrüder Weiss.
Gebrüder Weiss has existed for more than half a millennium. What is your relation to that fact? Is it a big thing?
– The fact that I am employed at the oldest logistics company in the world is a challenge in itself, and, as you’ve noticed yourself, it is a big thing. The company whose basic business principles are independence, sustainability, dedication and service excellence, with a high degree of care about each employee, is worthy of every kind of respect, to say the least. Dedication to realizing each of these goals is a great challenge.
A stable family business which is constantly growing, with 43% more net turnover than last year, the expansion of the global network, as well as the implementation of new technologies and digital tools show that we are bravely stepping into the future. All this provides financial independence and power, investments in new branch offices and acquisitions, new technologies and well trained and motivated employees.
Tell us what your professional development within the company has looked like?
– I have been in the company for only 6 months and I am at the same time the youngest member of the management team of Gebrüder Weiss Serbia. I consider myself a successful business woman, because I do a job that inspires me, which gives me the possibility to work in a great team and cooperate with people from all parts of the world. I am free to say that a “positive orange spirit” is truly present in the company.
What are the concrete responsibilities of the finance manager at a company which transports goods worldwide?
– The concrete responsibilities mostly pertain to following the financial performances of the company, at various levels, the preparation of reports and plans, communication with clients, financial institution, audit companies, external associates. Monitoring the level of money flows and managing them, the organization of sector operations and help to other sectors in the company are activities that are done on a daily level and that always have a high degree of priority.
Dragana Jovanovic (Photo: Gebruder Weiss)
The world has changed suddenly and keeps changing. First there was Covid, now there’s war and inflation. Tell us what is happening in your industry, how are you adapting to new circumstances?
– Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the transport and logistics industry has gone through large transformations. To a large extent, the global changes have affected the business by forcing us to react quickly to new circumstances, to adapt to them and to have our clients’ needs be the priority. The latest events in Ukraine have led to a new disturbance in our industry. There have been changes in transport routes, transport costs have increased and the energy price trends are uncertain, as are events in the field of realization of payments from countries related to the crisis. The instability and unpredictability of the trends of foreign exchange rates, especially the daily dollar oscillations, could be a reason for further caution for all companies which have receivables in said currency.
How do you educate yourself and acquire new knowledge?
– In addition to internal training and education courses, which I have successfully completed as a new member of Gebrüder Weiss, I mostly educate myself through expert magazines, with online training courses and webinars organized by consulting companies. Constantly monitoring the amendments to the law regulations, bylaws and international standards is something that goes without saying in the field of finance. We live in a time when all the necessary information is available online only one click away, which considerably facilitates and accelerates the process of acquiring new knowledge.
Who are your associates, who are your fellow team members and what do the operations look like on a daily level?
– The finance sector of Gebrüder Weiss Serbia has a total of 12 employees. The team I lead consists of both colleagues who have been in the company since its founding and those who have been in the company for less than a month. In a word – a combination of youth and experience. We are divided depending on the type of job, with clearly defined responsibilities and set deadlines.
There is no such thing as a typical work day in the finance sector. The variety of requests by clients, colleagues and the management when it comes to precise information in short deadlines makes every work day different from each other. Setting priorities is one of the big challenges in our job, because the deadlines are usually very short, and changes are very frequent.
Tell us something about your private life – what do you do when you’re not working?
– Balancing between the job and the private life is an increasingly difficult challenge for people in the 21st century. As a mother of two girls, I see being a mother as my most important and beautiful task. Harmonizing between the private and the professional is a delicate balancing act, but at the same time it gives a lot of strength and joy in both fields. We charge batteries together, during travels which make our lives richer and more beautiful, which motivates us to achieve even more together.
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