Interview with Michèle van Praag-Daudel, Senior Sales Consultant – EMEA
Q: Michele, you are the Sales Consultant for Steelcase and represent a non-resident corporate member of AmCham Estonia. Could you please tell us a little about how your company operates in Estonia, your partner network and priorities in Estonia?
A: As part of Steelcase’s Clients Without Borders team, my colleagues and I work with fast-growing, innovative companies. Estonia is home to many of these tech-savvy, disruptive organizations with an appetite for innovation. Steelcase works with a global network of over 800 dealers that know the local business landscape, culture and language. In Estonia, we work hand-in-hand with Intera, our dealer partner based in Tallinn, to be recognized as a knowledge-driven company that helps organizations improve and transform the way they work.
Q: Overseeing Estonia from a different country, what is your take on the region, its main advantages and challenges in your industry? How would you compare the market to the neighboring countries where Steelcase operates?
A: Things move fast in Estonia. From getting things done to quick decision-making, the speed makes it a truly exciting country to do business in. At Steelcase, we work hard to understand and tackle the unique challenges new generations and technologies bring to our way of working. Our Estonian customers – established and emerging companies alike – keep us on our toes, always helping us learn.
Q: We have heard a lot lately about the company’s innovative approach to designing its products. What are the most recent developments currently in Steelcase and what is the strategy for the future?
A: At Steelcase, we always put the user first. We observe people at work and study how they interact, behave, concentrate, collaborate, socialize. We then translate these observations into insights that inform our product development. This human-centered approach allows us to help companies design spaces that really contribute to better work experience for people around the world.
A good example is the new Steelcase Flex Collection. Our researchers found that teams need flexibility and autonomy over their day-to-day activities and space – especially teams using agile and design thinking methodologies. They need to be able to control how and where they work. By studying these teams’ diverse behaviors, our designers worked on creating an interconnected system that supports the needs of the team as a whole, as well as individuals. They created the Steelcase Flex Collection, a collection of moveable height-adjustable desks, tables, whiteboards, carts, space dividers and accessories that can be rearranged in a matter of minutes, on-demand, by anyone to create environments for people to do their best work.*
*Steelcase Flex Collection will be available in Fall 2019 in Estonia
Q: Besides offering high-quality office furniture, what is one of the biggest aims of Steelcase? Perhaps, new ideas and projects in the pipeline?
A: Steelcase leads the way in creating great experiences by offering a range of architecture, furniture and technology products and services designed to help people reach their full potential. We will continue to focus on topics like digitalization and AI – leveraging our partnership with Microsoft – and how they impact the world of work. Employee well-being – in terms of ergonomic, cognitive and emotional well-being – will also remain pivotal for us. At the end of the day, we want to help organizations create a better day at work for their employees.
Q: Has AmCham network in Europe been helpful to Steelcase and if so, how has your membership benefited your company?
A: As a member of AmCham for over 10 years, we are in contact with nearly every Amcham entity in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Relationships and networking opportunities are invaluable. In Paris, for example, our membership helps us get in touch with C-suite executives. We recently co-organized an event with AmCham at our Paris WorkLife, and the feedback we received was very good. We look forward to continuing working closely together.
For over 105 years, Steelcase Inc. has helped create great experiences for the world’s leading organizations, across industries, through its family of brands – including Steelcase®, Coalesse®, Designtex®, PolyVision®, Turnstone®, Smith System®, Orangebox® and AMQ®. Together, they offer a comprehensive portfolio of architecture, furniture and technology products and services designed to unlock human promise and support social, economic and environmental sustainability. Steelcase Inc. is globally accessible through a network of channels, including over 800 Steelcase dealer locations. It is a global, industry-leading and publicly traded company with fiscal 2018 revenue of $3.1 billion.
Headquarters: Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Revenue: 3.1 billion USD (2018)