I’m Rob Eberstein and I joined the Hatmill family in 2015. I have known Simon for many years and have thoroughly enjoyed working with him previously.
I have over 15 years’ experience in the retail industry in the UK. I started my career at Sainsburys where I had 2 very strong experiences. Firstly, I helped develop around 15 category plans working with cross function teams (both Sainsburys and suppliers) to drive sales and profitability for the category, through the development of key strategies and action plans. The Floral category grew by 30% post category plan, so the changes were impactful. Secondly, I joined the CONI project to take avoidable costs out of the value chain. I saved Sainsburys over £15m on an annualised basis on 10 different product areas. The savings came from various areas (raw materials, packaging, transport, change of suppliers) and were often 20-30% reductions. I specialised in negotiating better costs from branded suppliers, achieved through understanding the balance of power between respective organisations. My experiences at Sainsburys complemented each other well and provided the perfect grounding to how teams working together can achieve great things.
After a spell developing online businesses and following my entrepreneurial instincts, I returned to the retail industry as an independent consultant in 2009. These experiences cover the entire value chain from sourcing, cost re-engineering to supply chain and logistics through to business planning and category management (range, merchandising, promotions, pricing, display) and retail operations. Some examples of the assignments I have worked on include:
- Sourcing mobile phone accessories from the Far East for Carphone Warehouse
- Preparing suppliers for the new CDC at Andrew Page
- Scaling Merchants on the eBay platform. We helped Debenhams become the fastest retailer to achieve $1m sales.
- Optimising warehouse and transport costs for Sainsburys largest fruit importer
- Developed the Category & Range Review process at Wyevale Garden Centres
- At Bestway, I have developed the Category Management process, engaging with the cross functional team (Trading, Marketing, Supply Chain, Best-One, Depot Operations & Finance) and Suppliers with the aim of delivering an improved offer for customers whilst also driving sales and profitability for Bestway. The outputs of the category plans are category strategies, updated ranges, retail planograms and sales aides for independent retailers and planograms, category signage and launch plans for depots. The benefits of Cat Man have been clear to see, with improved communication and co-working between category teams, a greater focus on convenient retailers and their customers, reduced ranges and simplifications within the business and improved terms with suppliers.
Making things better, faster or cheaper, helping companies make more money whilst delighting their customers is what excites me and gets me out of bed. There is always a way to do things differently, to improve and this usually involves teams working better together, strong communication, clear processes and systems that support the processes.
I am married to Silvia and our daughter Olivia keeps us very busy and entertained. I have played team sports all my life (hockey and cricket) and though I perhaps don’t play as much as I would like to due to family commitments, you will find me at Lords for a few days every summer.