Please tell us more about your Business Center of Excellence. How is it different from a typical shared service centre?
Juan Marin: In the mindset of everyone in this business today, shared service centres are very much focused on the back-office and activities that are purely transactional. All these things that you know today that influence changes in the industry, mainly technology, suggested that we need to move to a much more strategic organisation model. For companies like ours, ArcelorMittal, everything started in a shared service centre and the main rationale was to put processes in a low-cost location, namely the administrative and back-office staff. Now the focus is rather on how to use the people that we have to contribute to the business and to create added value. To my mind, the key takeaway is added value.
What is something absolutely important is that before the business centre of excellence stage we were talking about clients, very complex SLAs, legal documents, etc. and this is now changing a lot to a partnership approach. We are now partners to the business, we ought to be closer to the business and we will be able to provide not just simple KPIs, but release some added value and proposals of how the business may change.
You have mentioned the evolution from SSC to BCoE. What technology have you used to foster these changes?
Technology is now everywhere. Look how many times you visit a bank nowadays – you go there once or twice in a lifetime because there is no need to go there more often! This is the part technology plays in our lives and everything is becoming automated and standardised, ran by IT systems. I recently read an article about some jobs of the future and it struck me that all these jobs are somehow related to what we do now in our centre. We implement robots and automation,
we introduce data analytics, so that our people can focus on bringing added value, but at the same time they are not replaced one on one. We are also exploring how to expand these activities and how to make our people more of thinkers rather than doers.
Please tell us about the future of your BCoE, with 2030 in mind.
In the past we used to be focused on financial matters and transactions, now however there are a lot of opportunities in other areas. We are knowledgeable people with good skills and therefore we can develop activities in HR, Procurement and IT. So not only Finance, but also other expert fields. We consider that all activities done all over the world can be centralised in one single location, one single team and performed in a much more standardised manner. And in the long run we want to play the role of the integrator.
What is the career path in ArcelorMittal BCoE?
We normally recruit a bulk of our employees straight from university or some lower-level positions, but we are also looking for experienced experts, because as soon as we move up the value chain, we need people with a much higher level of expertise, not only juniors.
Can you tell us about the ways you support your employees after hiring them?
We have a program called Global Employee Development Program, which is basically a 6-month training program for talent management. We want to measure the potential, development and careers of our people. Through it, they can also acquire the needed competences for future positions and growth and we manage the challenge of our people. We are also very closely linked with our business. This gives people the opportunities to grow not only in BCoE, but also in various areas of ArcelorMittal structures in the global context. They can move to internal audit, they can move to other different departments, which is also important as it is much wider from the location perspective. We facilitate moving abroad and for sure we strive to match the expectations of our people to the expectations of our company.
We give a lot of trainings, local ones, but also within the ArcelorMittal university. It provides corporate leadership development programmes to nurture our future leaders. And we also facilitate local group initiatives, through which people satisfy their training needs.
How many employees do you have in your ArcelorMittal Business Center of Excellence?
I do not want to highlight specifically people in Poland, because BCoE is much wider than that! It has one major hub in Poland but we do have some satellite locations abroad as well. Overall there are 750 people that are employed purely internally. However, there are nearly 900 if we count our external employees, hired through outsourcing.
What is the skillset that you are looking for now and in the long run, for 2030?
We are an international company and we are looking for people with an international mindset. Our people need to speak English fluently because this is our main language, as we work with companies situated in different countries around the world. That means that we also need some language expertise in Spanish, French or German as well.
Regarding the hard skills, we are primarily looking for people with a university degree, usually Master’s, but Bachelor’s is absolutely sufficient for junior and entry-level positions. We also want to help our people grow with us, so we support their getting additional degrees, because in the end it is good for the business, too. The last thing regarding the hard skills is an IT-oriented mindset. As I have mentioned, we are moving more and more towards technology, so we need people
who embrace IT tools, applications and mobile solutions. This is necessary not only for IT experts, but also people working in Finance and other departments.
As for the soft skills, we need individuals who can work in a very changeable environment. We constantly change processes, structures, even the organisation name! For us change is the only constant thing in our work. The second thing would be decision making, so we are after people who are sure how to implement solutions and who can offer additional initiatives. On a final note, there is also a lot of need for strategic thinking, team work and effective communication.
How many of your employees are foreigners?
It is quite complicated because we have a hub in Poland and satellite businesses in Europe. In Poland itself the figure is not very high and we would like to introduce more foreign colleagues and internationalise our company here. I am an international myself. I am Spanish and living in Luxembourg, while I work both in Luxembourg and Poland. My teams are located all across Spain, France, Germany, and I visit them on a regular basis. This kind of career is possible in ArcelorMittal, but you have to bear in mind the specifics of working with people in different countries. A certain level of sensitivity to this diversity is crucial.
Could you share a final piece of advice for a young person joining ArcelorMittal BCoE?
People who want to join us will find plenty of opportunities, especially because we are so linked to our business. They need to stay open-minded, but humble and patient at the same time. This last part is applicable especially to Millennials – we value their potential, but they need to wait a while for the added value, because it will come to them eventually. Receiving positive feedback requires just a little bit of patience, but it is worth the wait.
Head of ArcelorMittal Business Center of Excellence Europe