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Please visit our social media channel on LinkedIn and read the following interview with our new managing directors, in which Oliver Arnold and Matthias Hummel share their ideas about the retail of the future and the future of Vizona.

“We are fighting for the marketplaces of tomorrow“

From 1 July, four new but not unknown hands will be guiding the fate of the South German shop fitting company Vizona. Oliver Arnold, the current COO and Matthias Hummel, a former CEO, become the new owners and managing directors of Vizona leading the company into a new era. Many are surprised by the management buyout in the middle of the global pandemic. The question on everybody’s mind: Who are these two men who are investing in the future of retail and shop fitting right now?

“With our skills, we complement each other perfectly for the joint leadership.“
Oliver Arnold, Managing director Vizona

Oliver Arnold and Matthias Hummel, Vizona is anything but new territory for you. You both “grew up” in the company.

OA: We have seen each other grow up in the company for over twenty years. We have always complemented each other well in the different personal development stages. Through the various stages and departments we have passed through, we have both developed great loyalty to the company. Matthias is a project planner with heart and soul. You can always sense his keen passion for the craft. At the same time he has always been the visionary.

MH: Oliver is a true professional in supply chain management, with the necessary sensitivity for strategy and communication. With his holistic understanding, he keeps an eye on projects in all their complexity. I can rely on that, while I'm more on the front line when I am with clients. With our skills, we complement each other perfectly for the joint leadership.

The growing online market has been putting pressure on the stationary retail sector for years. Now, whole months of sales are also missing. Why do you believe in a future for fashion stores, department stores and car dealerships?

MH: Let's be honest, Corona will have a considerable impact on the market. But this has also sharpened the awareness of how necessary changes are. We will see new models of thinking, a new way of addressing customers, new spaces. And if our customers are fighting for a more social and stimulating shopping environment, why not use our experience to actively support them?

OA: The lockdown has shown us the social frustration that arises when we all only shop from home. With the re-opening, people are literally pouring out to experience something together. Nobody wants empty city centers. Retail just has to absorb this energy with surprising concepts.

MH: But we don’t want to pretend that we know exactly where the journey is heading. If tomorrow healthcare will suddenly go through the roof and pharmacies will be the marketplaces of the future, we will be ready. At the same time, we want to continue with our core industries such as fashion and automotive and actively support creative and new mindsets.

“We have used the time of the pandemic to question how we can best respond to the new challenges and needs of our customers.“
Matthias Hummel, Managing director Vizona

Do you also have to reinvent yourself for that?

OA: Today, fast pricing is required and that you can get into the following sampling phase just as quickly. This can only succeed if you also work on your internal structure. We have done that. We leave the departmental thinking behind and reassign competencies according to projects. Internal handovers with many friction losses no longer exist.

MH: We have used the time of the pandemic to question how we can best respond to the new challenges and needs of our customers. In order to be able to realise the demands and objectives of the customers even faster, the consolidation of skills were strongly needed here at the Weil am Rhein location. We wanted to become more dynamic again. We also incorporate our technical expertise into key account management. This means that the customer meets from the very beginning contact persons who understand the project rather than just trying to sell something.

OA: What we naturally retain and what our customers have appreciated for years is our own centralised logistics with quality assurance and control, final assembly and dispatch. These services have always been an essential part of successful projects and contribute significantly to our customers' trust in us and our company.

Will Vizona also remain in the region of South Baden?

MH: We don't really have to think about that. The triangle of three countries is extremely diverse. The direct connection to Switzerland and France and the proximity to Italy and Austria is not only a logistical advantage. There is also a very lively cultural exchange between the border regions of South Baden, Alsace and Switzerland. In the middle of an enchanting landscape, the Black Forest, the Jura and the Vosges are not far away either. In short: We feel very comfortable here. And we also see our responsibility to offer and secure jobs for the region wherever we can.

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