BEING a branch of a multinational company allows for exchange of experience and knowledge in both directions, and the enrichment of those on both sides of the exchange. For multinational companies, having subsidiaries in countries the size of Slovakia means having a market where they can test either the latest technologies or new approaches to clients. The Slovak Spectator spoke to Denis Renard, director general of Gefco Slovakia; Ivan Golian, deputy director general and director of the information technology and network department at Orange Slovensko; Peter Tóth, spokesperson of Orange Slovensko; and Pierre Chazerain, CEO of Stredoslovenská Energetika (SSE), about sharing best practices with their parent companies as well as plans for forthcoming years.
The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What business models or best practices from your parent company have you adopted in Slovakia?
Denis Renard (DR): ‘Gefco designs, integrates and operates innovative, robust logistics solutions aimed at a clientele of international manufacturers.’ This statement was applied within all Gefco subsidiaries, including Gefco Slovakia. We set up all services which Gefco provides to its clients: Overland Network Solution – road transport, Overseas – air and sea freight, Logistics Solutions, GefBoxSystem – management of returnable boxes, Automotive – distribution and preparation of new vehicles and Customs Expertise. Since our beginnings in Slovakia we have implemented our operational standards and we monitor our performance regularly. We profit from expertise which we gained from Just in Time (JIT) and Just in Sequence (JIS) logistics provided for our customer PSA. And, last but not least, I would like to mention the implementation of our policy ‘Management through quality’. This is a set of coherent actions, tools and objectives implemented by every manager for controlling and coordinating their group’s quality performance.
TSS: Do you know of any business models, best practices or any other positive experiences which your parent company or other affiliates have adopted from your company?
DR: There were many best practices which were taken up by the company. I will mention just some of them, for instance our SMS follow-up system, which helps us to manage our car fleet and be well informed about all our trucks. Then there was a very successful project which was launched under the name ‘Milkruns’ – standardised transports developed in Slovakia and successfully applied within the Gefco network – and of course our local team developed very strong know-how in JIT/JIS deliveries as well as the know-how which we gained in the cross-dock situated in the Trnava PSA plant.
Ivan Golian: Affiliation to France Telecom (FT) group, one of the biggest telecom companies worldwide, provides innumerable benefits for both sides in terms of transfer of know-how and experience. We exchange experience in both directions very often and we in Slovakia are able to enrich this with our own expertise, which then may be used in other branches.
Such two-way exchange happens very often in the technological field, where Slovakia, with regards to its human resources, local know-how and geographical location, serves for the testing of new technologies, as was the case for example with FTTH (fibre-to-the-home) broadband access or 3G/HSPA, which is a mobile broadband access technology.
Transfer of know-how especially in quality control and development of networks happens via so-called technology skill centres and network operations skills centres. Technology skill centres are located mostly in France and ensure the definition of the technological strategy of the FT group, and selection and testing of facilities or various software versions (SW releases).
Another example is the model of management for corporate social responsibility (CSR). Even though the CSR strategy has been developed for the local needs of the Slovak market, the parent company provided the methodology for CSR indicators reporting and monitoring. At the global level coordinated steps are taken by the branches in the fields of child protection and filtering. Simultaneously, Orange in Slovakia serves as an inspiration for the way we protect the young from access to inappropriate content at the WAP portal.
On the other hand, Slovakia is a source of several innovations and processes which were successfully exported to other countries in the group or implemented at the global level. At the global level the exchange of knowledge is managed via a so-called best practices sharing programme. Within this, for example, an innovation developed by Orange in Slovakia, the Salespad interactive sales aid, is currently being implemented in other branches of FT.
The technological centre of Orange in Banská Bystrica has also developed technologies for end-to-end testing of selected voice and data services, which was consecutively implemented in tens of branches of the FT group around the globe. Another example is the technological supervision of quality of service, which our technological centre currently carries out for Orange Armenia.
In the non-technological segment we can cite as an example the concept of the telecom ombudsman, which originated in Slovakia. Our parent company is interested in implementation of a similar institution in other markets.
Pierre Chazerain (PCH): EDF entered Stredoslovenská Energetika (SSE) as a strategic partner in 2002 and brought certain know-how. SSE has simultaneously integrated into the EDF group and together they apply their strategic plans for specific years. These reflect the philosophy of the EDF group, adjusted to the Slovak market environment and particular SSE needs.
Indeed, with the entrance of our strategic partner we follow current trends in modernisation in areas such as technology, management, commerce and marketing, and finance; we regularly share best practises in production on one hand, but on the other also in the field of operations and basic maintenance, where in emergency situations we have established cooperation with EDF Hungary.
The market opened fully in 2007 and before then we had no experience with competition and an open market, which is not the case for EDF operating worldwide. With EDF being our shareholder, we can explore more in the areas of current trends in renewables (existing examples are investment project in photovoltaic, small hydroelectric plants, biomass), energy efficiency, smart grids (intelligence in the network and interactive exchange of data between producers, distributors and consumers), electric E-mobility, etc, not only in terms of know-how and experience, but also based on smooth cooperation with our common partners or affiliates in the EDF group. We are also profiting from EDF Research and Development experience in finding various alternative resources, drawing from many pilot projects worldwide.
TSS: What are the plans of your company in terms of investments and development over the next one or two years in Slovakia?
DR: Gefco Slovakia has an ambitious but not unattainable goal, which is to achieve turnover of over €100 million in 2012. At the same time we want to continue in our development and plan to extend our logistics surfaces by 5,000 square metres in order to accompany the development of our clients.
Last year we opened a new logistics warehouse in Kechnec and therefore we plan to accelerate our development in eastern Slovakia. Along with all our activities Gefco wants to be an environmentally-friendly company, and that is why we are working more and more on our multimodal projects, which bring not just cost savings to our customers but also reduce CO2 emissions.
Peter Tóth: Orange is currently the most successful telecom company in Slovakia and our ambition is to reinforce this position and build trust amongst our clients with the quality and reliability of our networks and their services, as well as by investments in new technologies. For example, this year Orange is investing in its networks almost 40 percent more than last year. These investments go, among other areas, into enhancement of capacity and the speed of mobile data services.
PCH: Stating our development for one or two years could be very short-term-oriented and we are certainly creating our strategic plan for a longer perspective, which means a 10-year horizon. Definitely, one of our objectives is to become a customer-friendly company, providing the highest quality service to its customers in Slovakia. Of course, we aim to improve our efficiency by means of the services provided; we also intend to continue in providing added value for new and current SSE operations by ensuring professional, highly transparent and efficient services.
20. Jun 2011 at 0:00 | Jana Liptáková