He takes things as they come and prefers to look forward rather than back: customers and colleagues appreciate Peer Brämer, the new head of sales at Envases, not only for his many years of experience, but especially for his technical know-how and his respectful approach to day-to-day business. Always keeping innovations in mind, the new boss relies on transparency and cooperation within the team, but also when dealing with customers. In the interview, the 57-year-old reveals how he deals with challenges, who his role models are, and what vintage cars and Lego bricks have to do for him with relaxation.
As the responsible key account manager, you have already been the personal contact for Envases customers for several years. What experience and key qualifications does this give you for your new position as sales manager?
Peer Brämer: Since 2008, I have been working in international key accounts with major clients from various industries and have also been in charge of various sales teams. My experience enables me to implement the interests of customers in sales at Envases in such a way that it also corresponds to the interests of my company. At the same time, I have a high level of technical understanding thanks to my vocational training and my degree in mechanical engineering. My wife sometimes complains in everyday life that I am “too logical”. However, this is enormously helpful when dealing with customers, because it gives me a great understanding of their needs and objectives. As I have already been working for Envases since 2018 and have already intensively supported the customer Heineken, among others, in the industrial division, I am very familiar with the company. I am therefore very much looking forward to my new area of responsibility and to taking Envases forward in the Beverage segment.
Peer Brämer: “Shortage of raw materials creates difficulties for sales at Envases”
What are the toughest challenges you face as the new head of sales?
The pandemic has made the international market situation enormously difficult. Raw materials are currently in short supply and prices have risen enormously. This has naturally also had an impact on our production. It is not always easy to communicate such a situation to customers when selling Envases, to inform them of certain necessities, and to ask them to understand certain decisions. In the medium term, the biggest challenge will be to drive innovation in order to make minikeg even more interesting again, and especially in the long term, for a broad range of customers.
Peer Brämer also expects higher minikeg demand in sales at Envases after Corona
How has the pandemic affected Envases sales over the past two years and what will that mean for future development?
We have clearly benefited from the pandemic with our products. Sales of our minikegs have increased significantly. The fact that many restaurants were closed and events canceled meant that a lot of people decided to drink in private. Barbecues with friends, soccer evenings at home – people were happy to grab a party keg and celebrate joint beer tapping. Of course, we won’t be able to maintain this high level in the long term, because the consumer behavior will change again once the situation returns to normal. Nevertheless, many consumers have made the experience that “the party keg is a good thing” and will certainly reach for this product more often in the future. In sales at Envases, we therefore expect demand to remain higher overall than before Corona.
What has been the greatest challenge in your professional career so far?
The greatest challenge for me is always the next one. I prefer to look forward rather than back and take things as they come. In principle, the most important challenge that every company and society as a whole has to master is to harmonize many different cultures. A harmonious and respectful environment is the prerequisite for progress and development.
Endurance and a clear head in sports and at work
What is the most valuable piece of advice you have ever received?
In a sense, it’s not an advice, but it’s my motto in life: “It is what it is – make something out of it!” That’s what I try to stick to – and that’s exactly what I want to convey to others.
Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela as role models
What drives Peer Brämer professionally or in other words what is most important to you?
There is an English apt expression for that: “a competitive person”. I would describe myself as a “competitive person”. I like to face a challenge and try to solve it. I also like to measure myself against others who are better than me – in sports as well as in my professional life. I used to run marathons with great enthusiasm. For that, you need not only a good physical condition, but also a clear head. Especially when it comes to overcoming difficult moments and carrying on – not giving up even on the last exhausting kilometers. This mentality also helps me in sales at Envases.
Who is your role model in professional and personal respect?
I grew up in South Africa and spent a large part of my adult life there – at a time when apartheid still predominated society. In light of this experience, I have the greatest admiration for two men: Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. For me, both embody empathy, farsightedness and authenticity to the highest degree through their nature and appearance. Their very different actions were characterized by “working together instead of against each other. I also try to follow this guiding principle in my private and professional life.
Peer Brämer focuses on respect and transparency in sales at Envases
What do your customers and colleagues appreciate about Peer Brämer? And what do you wish your employees would say about you as a boss one day?
Whether it’s a janitor or a supervisor – I always treat others with respect. Transparency is very important to me – toward employees as well as business partners. Only when everyone involved knows what’s going on and why certain decisions are being made, that’s when they are motivated and able to contribute to the common cause in a profitable way. I was very touched by the fact that after changing jobs, many colleagues – even those with whom there had once been differences – emailed me to say that they regretted my departure. I was particularly pleased to receive sentences like: “We didn’t always agree, but you always found a good solution.
The past year, and the lockdown in particular, have brought major challenges for many people. What were they for you or what did you learn from this time?
Home office, homeschooling, the whole family at home – for us, too, it was a real challenge to organize ourselves in such a way that we could do all the tasks and no one came up short. So as a family, we created a schedule for ourselves: At what times do I work? When does my wife? Who – in the meantime – takes care of homeschooling with our son, who is in elementary school? Who takes care of which school subjects? In the end, that worked out amazingly well. The fact that the exchange – both internally and externally – works well virtually in many areas was also an important insight. What I used to fly around in world back then…! Of course, in some situations nothing replaces personal contact – but then one does it consciously and not for every little thing. This saves so much time, costs and also protects the environment. This realization will prevail in many companies even after Corona – in sales at Envases in any case, it will!
Restoration of classic car as a relaxation program
What do you do to switch off from your job and find an appropriate balance in your free time?
Sometimes it’s actually hard for me to switch off. An important ritual for me are therefore the evenings with my 9-year-old son. We use the 1.5 to 2 hours when I get home from work and before he goes to bed very intensively together, talking about the day, playing together, building Lego or the like. This 100 percent focus on my young one, who needs and also demands a lot of attention, helps me to wind down and complete my workday. When time permits, I like to devote myself to my hobby and restore classic cars. At the very beginning of my career, I trained as a car mechanic. Even today, I appreciate this honest craftsmanship, where you can see a result after just one or two hours of working on the car. It’s a nice balance to my job. After all, selling Envases usually involves strategic decisions that often only pay off after several years.
Beer in summer and red wine in front of the fireplace
In your job, everything revolves around beer. Cross your heart – what’s your favorite after-work drink? And who do you toast with?
I love drinking beer – but mainly in the summer. On a cold winter evening, when the fireplace is crackling, I like to enjoy a glass of South African red wine – preferably together with my wife.
Please complete these two sentences:
“In ten years, Envases will be…”
… “an indispensable supplier of packaging in the beer sector because we enrich the market with innovative products.”
„In ten years Peer Brämer will be…“
…”the person in sales responsible for the largest share of sales in Europe within the Envases Food and Beverage segments”