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When Expertise and Vision Collide

When Kornel Barna ran into, Jonas Seidel at the stadium of Mannheim’s local football team, SV Waldhof a couple of years ago, he never imagined that he might end up working with his former student. Since then, they continued to keep in touch and met regularly, exchanging ideas on topics that they were both really interested in, such as soccer and the highly dynamic and diverse logistics industry.

Kornel Barna
Kornel Barna

A year ago, Jonas Seidel told Kornel Barna about his newly founded company SI Trading and shared his vision of supporting companies in dire need of scarce goods. The start-up’s story really piqued Barna’s interest, and he continued to follow the company’s development. In August 2022, he keenly accepts Seidel’s offer to join the company’s management team.

“What really had me sold on joining SI Trading was the focus the company places on future trends and its ambitious goals to grow into different markets and industries. Surely, there is a risk associated with such lofty aspirations, but the numbers speak for themselves – and the numbers and the success of the last two years have shown that this strategy is paying off,” he explains.

Kornel Barna Sets His Sights on the U.S. Market

Kornel Barna has held the position of Global Director of Supply Chain & Business Development at SI Trading since November 1, 2022, overseeing numerous responsibilities. Primarily, he and his team will work on identifying and implementing new business ideas. In addition to establishing new and developing existing partnerships in the logistics industry for the SI Electronics and SI Food divisions.

Conquering the highly competitive U.S. market is at the top of his agenda, followed by other ambitious goals such as working with Suntat, a premium food brand and his former employer, to develop an export strategy alongside SI Food. The manufacturer of vegan oriental products has been planning to enter the U.S. market for some time.

“Having lived in the States for several years and the fact that my mother is American have given me a solid understanding of the American mentality and market. Additionally, my many years of working in the food industry have provided me with valuable experience, which makes me confident that we will be very successful in the U.S. We are planning on using SI’s global network and our new office in Miami to set up a logistics warehouse for Suntat.” Barna explains.

Barna Knows the Nitty-Gritty of the Industry

Talking about food logistics specifically, there is a lot to consider. Currently, the production capacities of some manufacturers are fully utilized, and demand is often higher than supply. Seasonal influences, like the quality of harvests, are exacerbated by political factors such as the war in Ukraine. Barna is familiar with how unique and difficult to plan supply chains in the food industry are. Therefore, one of his tasks will be to help customers establish new supply chains, as well as optimize, monitor, and check existing ones for market compliance.

"What really had me sold on joining SI Trading was the focus the company places on future trends and its ambitious goals to grow into different markets and industries. Surely, there is a risk associated with such lofty aspirations, but the numbers speak for themselves – and SI Trading can stand tall and proud of the success achieved in the last two years.”

Kornel Barna Global Director Supply Chain & Business Development, SI Trading

But it's not just the food industry that has to deal with severe supply chain volatility, and electrical equipment manufacturers are also suffering from an ongoing semiconductor shortage. Although experts say the semiconductor market is expected to become more stable in the upcoming years, it is without a doubt, the market of the future. Some e-cars already contain up to 10,000 microchips and this figure is set to double due to burgeoning technologies such as self-driving vehicles.

Why He Remains Loyal to the Logistics Industry to this Day

In his new role, it is particularly important for Kornel Barna to pass on his knowledge and coach his team in all extended supply chain aspects, including purchasing, planning, warehousing, transportation, and customer service. He also brings plenty of experience to the table and continues to remain loyal to the logistics industry, which for over 25 years still fascinates him. “In logistics, no two days are the same. Demand changes at lightning speed, and we must constantly adapt to new situations – today more than ever. This is exciting, and definitely keeps you on your toes”, Barna tells us. His fascination for the logistics industry, however, has only grown over time.

Barna Actually Wanted to Study Dentistry

In his younger years, he initially wanted to become an oral surgeon, almost enrolling in a dentistry program. But his father convinced him to study business administration, and Barna was accepted for a place at DHBW Mannheim and chose to major in transportation and logistics – a spot-on decision, as it later turned out. During a trainee program at Unilever, Barna was able to gain management experience early on and further expand his logistics know-how. In addition to various positions at other companies, he worked as an independent consultant advising customers on all aspects of the supply chain.

Barna Continues to Teach at DHBW Mannheim

After graduating, Kornel Barna gives sales and logistics lectures at various educational institutions, including DHBW, since he was in his mid-twenties. “Through teaching at the university, I have already made many valuable connections. Although my job at SI naturally comes first, I would like to continue doing this in the future. I enjoy imparting practical knowledge on young people. It's also a way for me to keep in touch with new talent and maybe convince one or two of them about SI,” says Barna, laughing.

He can hardly wait to finally get started and make his plan with SI Trading come together “The early days will certainly be stressful and turbulent, but also incredibly exciting! SI is a company where talented people with a strong entrepreneurial mindset work and where innovations and creative ideas are quickly implemented.”

We wish Kornel Barna all the best in his new role and look forward to working with him!


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