Successful world-wide trading is dependent on the rich experience of professionals. In this article, you will hear the vibrant voices of the trading professionals who make up the Trading Business Group which is expanding its business domain by identifying new customers and expanding its product lineup.
“Endless ambition, sweet success, and a deeply rooted sense of pride are the hallmarks of our Trading Business Group professionals.”
Q What are the responsibilities of the Trading Business Team?
I’m Kim Eun-ok, the manager in charge of aluminum sales. Our team trades in nonferrous metals such as aluminum and copper and remanufactured automotive parts, and I am responsible for sales of aluminum raw materials (slab, ingot, scrap) needed for manufacturing aluminum cans and vehicle wheels, among other items. We import these materials mostly from overseas smelters or traders in Australia, India, and the UAE. They are shipped, passed through import customs, stored, transported inland, and finally sold to consumers in Korea and other countries.
Q Since this is a global business, there must be many issues to consider. What are the areas where you pay the most attention?
Accurate market analysis is crucial as prices fluctuate rapidly depending on issues such as interest rates, exchange rates, and stimulus measures in each country. For example, if we expect interest rates to rise, we write up a contract with a variable margin that reflects the interest rate. If we expect an economic downturn due to issues such as COVID-19, we may choose a contract with a fixed margin calculated at the time of the contract signing. Since the amount of capital invested (purchased amount) is large, we always set margins focused on the market conditions in order to obtain high returns.
Paying close attention to the market conditions is essential for aluminum raw material (slab, ingot, scrap) sales.
Q What was your most memorable project?
The most difficult and rewarding experience was when we revised the purchase contract as a means of preventing risk due to the recent Russia-Ukraine war. We had plans to import from a Russian smelter, but when the war began, there were concerns about non-payment and detention of cargo. Because of this, I requested the following revisions in the contract: 1) Immediate refund if the cargo does not reach Korea. 2) Change of payment schedule from payment when shipped from Russia to payment after arrival in Korea (Ulsan Port). At the time, the seller flatly refused the revision, stating that none of its customers, including the US and Japan, had made such a request. However, thanks to close communications and continuous consultations through the Korean branch, we reached an agreement before the war began and were able to maintain more stable business.
Q It doesn’t seem like an easy job to maintain partnerships with domestic and foreign companies. Do you have your own method of doing it?
I consider my five years of trading experience to be my greatest asset. I must have a clear understanding of the overall business process in order to respond to requests from domestic and overseas clients as well as internal customers. Fortunately, when I was in the Operation Team in the past, I managed the same items that I now oversee, and I’m aware of major customer requests such as for shipment, claims, and settlement. I can also resolve issues by communicating more accurately with the Operation Team. If anyone is interested in work in trading sales, I would recommend steadily building up experience in operations work.
Q Tell us about the responsibilities of the Trading Operation Team.
I had been working in copper trading operations, and since 2020 I have been in charge of distribution and operation of remanufactured automotive parts. Remanufactured parts are parts that have reached the end of their lifespan and undergo a series of processes (disassembly, washing, assembly, and inspection) to be reborn as parts with the performance and quality levels of a new product.
Q The items that you handle seem very diverse. Which field do you find most interesting?
Actually, all of the items handled by the Trading Business Group have their own appeal, but if I had to pick one, I would choose copper. As its nickname “Dr. Copper” suggests, copper is a nonferrous metal that is often used as an indicator for economic assessment.
As such, copper prices are greatly affected by the international situation, and the real economy can be predicted by the increase or decrease in copper demand. I found it very interesting and fun to be able to judge and predict the world economy through copper.
Q Each project seems to be very large in scale. How would you describe your efforts for each project and do you have any special know-how in trying to reduce mistakes or errors?
That is true. This business involves huge amounts of funds, and the smallest mistake can have major consequences, so everyone works hard without letting our guard down. I don’t know if this can be called special know-how, but I set dozens of alarms on my phone. I set alarms for each important timeline so that I don’t miss anything.
But more importantly, the most powerful safeguard is the fact that we work as a team, as a group, and not as individuals. Within in our team, we have designated separate staff responsible for customs and inventory management to double-check against item managers. On the group level, there are appropriate checks and balances in place between the Business Team and the Operation Team to prevent us from missing issues beforehand that could have been lost if we were to work as individuals. This allows us to perform our jobs without mistakes.
The fact that we work as a team or a group, not as individuals, is my greatest strength.
Q Do you have any advice for beginners who want to try their hand in trade?
A few years ago, a webtoon and later drama series called Misaeng was very popular. Anyone who watched the series would have felt the appeal of trade. I believe that the events that take place in the offices of the Hyundai Glovis Trading Business Group are even more dynamic and passionate than described in the drama. For anyone who wants to advance their life to one that is complete with diverse challenges and endeavors, I highly recommend the Trading Business Group.
Q What is the future you dream of in the Trading Business Group?
(Manager Kim Eun-ok)
The image that our group is aiming for is to become a key asset of our company and an organization where everyone wants to work for. Together with diverse endeavors and support for competency development, there are endless opportunities for growth within the organization. I look forward to seeing our Trading Business Group stand tall as the backbone of Hyundai Glovis.
(Senior Manager Kim Hyung-jung)
The future I dream of is one where individuals and the team advance together. In particular, our team actively encourages and supports the growth of our team members, and through this, I envision a future where we can grow as trading experts taking on challenges for higher goals.
Writer Editorial Department