Once customs, always customs

Everyone knows him and every now and then you come into contact with him: Customs. Most people could probably do without meeting Customs. The situation is different with Maja: She is a team manager for Customs & Trade and thus heads the export department of the Arvato Supply Chain Solutions - with heart and soul.

Maja Kuhnt - Teammanager Customs & Trade

Maja, who was born in Düren, Germany, made the leap from the customs department of a medium-sized company to that of a large corporation about six years ago. Above all, she wanted to develop herself personally, but also professionally. This plan was a complete success, because since the end of last year she has been responsible for the export of the entire company from the Düren location as Team Manager Custom & Trade and heads a team of seven employees. "My current position was created in the course of a restructuring, in the past the division was much smaller and in terms of import and export it was not responsible for the entire company but only for one business division.

"In our export department there are many exciting challenges for which my heart beats," explains the 37-year-old with a smile on her face. "Thanks to this diversity and the really comfortable working atmosphere, I am very happy with my job and cannot imagine going anywhere else at the moment". The cooperation with international teams and locations is what makes the job even more interesting for Maja. She regards the strengths of the Arvato Supply Chain Solutions, especially in the area of customs activities, as the extraordinary consulting competence and the international exchange of knowledge. "Few service providers on the market have such extensive and detailed knowledge as we do. This can certainly be seen as a unique selling point," says Maja. "Our customers appreciate this because we work together with them in a spirit of partnership and rely on an open exchange of knowledge and opinions.

Legal affinity presupposed

The current turmoil surrounding Brexit is presenting the export department with new challenges. Not so much the technical component, but rather the fact that Maja almost has to double her team in order to successfully master this task. After all, the future will see more than 160 customers from different industries at different locations being serviced from a customs point of view, sometimes running several businesses. Many of them previously had no internal or external contact with customs, which makes the task even more difficult.

But it's not just the expertise that is relevant for new employees: . "In order to be able to do this job, you not only have to acquire the know-how, you also have to be prepared to work with laws," says Maja. "We have to follow all the rules on a daily basis, be very strict and make sure that it's done the same way in other areas - sometimes it can be pretty dry, but it's incredibly important." The accuracy with which Maja and her team work is highly appreciated by customers. Few companies offer such intensive support and in-depth knowledge of customs and import & export regulations.

Teamwork is a top priority in their department. New colleagues are always welcomed openly and cordially. Maja is responsible for the technical integration and ensures that new team members are also trained externally. "We mainly work with lateral entrants, as the customs sector in Germany is neither an apprenticeship nor a recognised field of study. It is important for us that our employees are always up to date, especially with regard to the legal background. Accordingly, our employees regularly attend further training courses, to which we are legally obliged anyway".


In our export department there are many exciting challenges for which my heart beats.

Maja Kuhnt
Teammanager Customs &Trade

New way of working

Because Maja is very familiar with the laws, she is the main point of contact for the team and other divisions when it comes to specialist questions. In addition, her process optimisations and systemic solutions give her a lot of pleasure with which internal processes can be optimised in the long term. Due to her experience Maja is very well versed and knows how to solve complex tasks. But the new position as team manager also presented her with challenges: "Since I've been leading a team, I've had to deal more with the different characters - that was new for me," says Maja, who has been cycling to work every day since moving to Düren. "Because today performance is defined by my team and no longer by the commitment I make myself". To prepare for the new situation, she attended a Personal Development Program for prospective managers last year. The main topics were her own presence, conducting conversations with employees, de-escalation and dealing with conflict situations.

During her time at Arvato Supply Chain Solutions, Maja also specialized in export controls, which she particularly enjoys. Since then she has devoted much attention to the subject of embargoes, i.e. bans on the export of certain goods such as military goods to certain countries, organizations or individuals. In the area of compliance, too, the Rhinelander has in-depth know-how that she is happy to pass on within the company. "Since we cover this area centrally, I also train colleagues at our foreign locations and familiarize them with their work," Maja explains. She doesn't have to be on site to do this. It is sufficient for her to communicate with the national companies that ensure compliance with the legal requirements. Maja also attaches great importance to building up knowledge in her private life, but also to learning Italian. Then she will not only be able to communicate better with her Italian colleagues, but also with her partner's family - Le auguriamo ogni successo (We wish her every success).




What You Need to Bring in Customs & Trade!

  • Teamwork
  • Accuracy
  • Legal understanding

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