Branch Manager in France for SEI Interconnect Products (Europe) Ltd.
Joined the company in 2004
In 2004, I had already been working in the cable industry for more than 15 years in the UK and France, and I knew of Sumitomo Electric as a major player. In fact, by then Sumitomo Electric was officially the largest cable company in the world, so why not join the biggest and the best?
Culturally, I also felt that it would be an interesting proposition to work for a Japanese company for the first time – having previously worked for British, French, and American organizations. I appreciated being given the autonomy to go out and do what was best for the business.
My job is Branch Manager in France of SEI Interconnect Products (Europe) Ltd., also known as SEPE. We are the European sales company within the Electronics Business Unit of Sumitomo Electric.
Our product range is extremely wide and the industries that we serve are also diverse. For example, we could be selling flexible flat cables for car infotainment systems, ultra-miniature coaxial cable assemblies for medical ultrasound systems, or heat-shrink tubing for aerospace, to name but a few.
In France, I manage a small sales team and ensure the smooth running of the business. I am responsible for developing sales with new and existing customers, and I also facilitate communication between our group manufacturing partners in various countries and our customers in Europe. I have been very fortunate during my years at SEPE to have traveled extensively around the world, meeting colleagues, visiting factories, and forging enduring working relationships with customers and within the Sumitomo Electric Group.
Because our customer base is so varied, the work is never repetitive. We have the benefit that, if there is a dip in one market sector, due to our product diversity we have other options to support the business. As electronics is integrated into more and more new products, SEPE can follow this market growth and continue to find new potential customers almost exponentially. It certainly helps that Sumitomo Electric has great depth of technical expertise from working in leading edge technologies.
During my career at SEPE, I’ve had many satisfying moments, such as winning major contracts at the introduction of 4K flat screen televisions, or more simply knowing that a high-usage car model uses a Sumitomo Electric component that I helped to get designed in.
Even on projects where I have not worked, there is pride in seeing the company’s success. For instance, when broadband fiber was installed in my home, I was pleased to see the engineer using a Sumitomo Electric fiber splicer to join the fiber optic cables.
Thinking back to my job interview in 2004, I met Japanese and British colleagues who still to this day are senior members of staff within the Sumitomo Electric Group. It was encouraging to see that joining SEPE could mean a long and motivating career ahead of me.