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They used to have to deal with 10 different Kuoni purchasers who all wanted more or less the same contracts. Now just one person comes to them, and they can sign a single contract for the whole Kuoni Group. There were, of course, some service providers who noticed that we wanted to use our greater purchasing power to negotiate better prices. They were no longer in a position to dictate higher prices to the smaller Kuoni units. But the vast majority of service providers are right behind our new organization.

Nicolas Delord: At Dorking we tend to buy in the more individual services. But here too our partners prefer the much simpler process of working with just one Kuoni buyer. Of course they were also worried that our greater purchasing power would lead to lower prices. But they understood very clearly that this also meant that ultimately we could bring them more guests.

Thomas Goosmann: I should add that a few service providers were sceptical about our new unit, because in many cases they had been in partnership with Kuoni Tour Operating for years. They have also had to go through a process of change, which has not always been simple. All in all, though, the positive reactions now easily outweigh the negative.

Creating a new worldwide Procurement and Production Unit in such a short time is a huge challenge. What has gone smoothly and what hasn’t worked so well?
Nicolas Delord: Everyone was clear about the aim and about the benefits we wanted to achieve for Kuoni. Everyone also understood the new structure and backed it. However, the implementation was very challenging. Taking over the existing processes used by the individual tour operating departments and reorganizing them to make them more efficient was not an easy task. But after six months we had done it. We were using the new process to put together holiday products for our markets as we had planned.
Takis Filippopoulos: In our Scandinavian hub we were already working within this type of structure for the Sweden, Norway and Denmark markets. The new organisation is based on the successful Scandinavian model, so the implementation wasn’t difficult for us. We have simply extended our activities to cover other Kuoni markets.

“We needed to make sure we got the best buyers.”


Thomas Goosmann: Building up P&P at the Zurich hub was not a straightforward task. Our business is very much based on people and their know-how, so Human Resources was heavily involved. We needed to make sure we got the best buyers, so we had to do a lot of explaining. There were also a lot of personnel changes within the teams in the first year, though this is quite normal when you’re building up such an important organisation. The international mix within the team is also important. At the Zurich hub, for example, we have people from Scotland, France, India Germany, Spain and, of course, Switzerland.

P&P began operational work at the three hubs in March 2010. So, after a year of work, is the reorganisation now complete?
Takis Filippopoulos: The organisation is in place, but a process like this is never really complete. There are always improvements that can be made to the way we do things.

When you were producing the first holidays for the Kuoni markets in 2010, what did you learn that will influence the way you now do things in the new season?
Takis Filippopoulos: We now know the individual Kuoni countries a lot better. We have a better idea about the products that they sell. We’ve also learned more about the amount of work we have to do, so we can now divide up the tasks more effectively within the team. This has made the whole planning process easier.

Nicolas Delord: During our first year of operations it was important simply to supply the products to the people doing the selling in the different countries. We can now concentrate more on the quality of the product portfolio and on making processes even more efficient so we can achieve more synergies. We have more time, better tools and better communication between us all.