The Covid pandemic provided a massive fillip for Logitech, the maker of PC mice and keyboards, headphones, headsets, webcams, speakers and other devices. In the company’s early days, some of these things used to be made in Cork, but not anymore. Instead, Logitech runs a shared services centre from City Gate in Mahon, where employment is rewarding.
The pandemic heralded the new era of working from home, and with it the need for lots of PC peripherals. Logitech’s year-end is March, and for FY20, the period before Covid took hold, Logitech reported annual sales of $3bn. In the following 12 months, as crazy Covid restrictions were implemented worldwide, turnover surged 76% to $5.3bn.
That momentum continued in FY22, when revenue improved to $5.5bn. For FY21 and FY22, shareholders were rewarded with $300m in dividends and $580m in share buybacks. As societies return to normal, Logitech’s sales growth has ceased and the share price has halved from its 2021 peak.
As with its tech peers, markets tyranny dictates that in the coming year the company will have to review its 8,200 person headcount, none of whom, the company is proud to say, are unionised.
Logitech was founded in Switzerland in 1981 and production facilities were established in the US, Taiwan and Hungary. The company landed in Cork in 1998 but in the 2000s the company decided to concentrate manufacturing in Asia.
Logitech’s owned manufacturing facility at Suzhou extends to c.720,000 square feet and accommodates 3,000 employees.
Headquarters in Lausanne and an office in Newark, California, handle product marketing, sales management, technical support and other admin functions, while the base at Hsinchu in Taiwan has a focus on engineering, manufacturing support and quality assurance.
Logitech Ireland Services in Cork provides accounting and administrative services to Logitech’s EMEA activities, where annual sales are $1.7bn. Last November the company officially opened its new City Gate Plaza office, where employment is c. 300 people. In the year to March 2022, 266 people were on the payroll, up from 192 the year before.
Thirty-three-staff were categorised as R&D and 233 were engaged in accounting and administration. Average annual pay was €80,000 and staff also shared in €1.1m worth of share awards.
Despite its mega profits, Logitech still calls on unspecified IDA Ireland state aid, funded by taxpayers. For the state, return on investment in substantial: €2.4m of PRSI in FY22 and €8m or more in income taxes.
KOSTAL Group, a German family-owned company, opened its new sustainable flagship office in Budapest, bringing a new way of working into the KOSTAL Family. The new business services center will be the hub of the company's overall operations and global sustainability efforts, which is also reflected in the design of the office.
The family-owned multinational German company, mainly known as an automotive supplier, with a presence in 21 countries on four continents, that always focused on technological innovation decided to open a new chapter of its business by investing in the innovation of internal structures and processes. As a result, the new central hub for global business services has opened its doors for the latest members of the KOSTAL Group.
KOSTAL Business Services Center is not merely an office and is not even a location. It is a way of working. In our office, the work is fully flexible. No one is forced to come to the office for whatever number of days per week - unless they want to,
emphasized Péter Csucska, Managing Director of KOSTAL Global Business Services (KBS) regarding the office culture.
A roadmap to go full steam
Both local and global end-to-end processes are currently being created at KBS. Some activities like Finance, PMO, select IT topics, and Sustainability are already up and running, while many more are at various stages of transition, and build. Here in Budapest, the plan is to exceed 300 employees by the end of 2024.
More details and Photos on HIPA's website.
(Source: ABSL Romania)
Greetings from Timișoara! I am Ciprian Tudosa, Site Manager in Deutsche Telekom Services Europe Romania (DTSE RO) Timișoara since December 2016. Our focus, in this second office where I manage 220 employees, is HR Administration services.
Deutsche Telekom Services Europe Romania’s vision can be summarised as follows:
“We are the first-choice service provider by realising the leading digital Telco and driving business profitability with happy customers and dedicated employees”.
Of course, this is not achievable without having clear and well-defined, yearly objectives on innovation, digitalization and automation.
I started my career as a telecom engineer, first as a technician at an Internet Service Provider, then as a network engineer. Developing my leadership skills, I advanced to network department head in the same ISP, then Operations Manager in a Managed Services project at Alcatel, Project Manager and Team Lead of the Project management department at Atos, Transition Lead at Alcatel HR Shared Service Centre, Head of HR Shared Service Centre Timisoara at Accenture, and now the present position.
While my career path has followed a natural course, my defining career moment was when I joined Alcatel. My previous background was working in a rather small national business, and within Alcatel, a multinational company, I had the chance to work with and learn from other experienced people, as well as benefit from their guidance, which led me to my current position.
I didn’t necessarily choose to work in the BPO/SSC sector, but I maintained the course within the telecom industry. Working for Deutsche Telekom AG, one of the most important players in the telecom market, with a stable presence in many countries, and having the chance to build a new Service Centre from the start was an opportunity hard to refuse. I’ve grown a lot since taking this position, and the learning never stops! The three most valuable lessons, for me, were listening more, having patience, and acting—any decision is better than no decision.
However, I am on a constant path of improvement, broadening my skillset, especially in terms of sales, marketing, and communication. As I am rather a man of action, with a technical background, I need to listen and better understand the challenges before I act.
Alongside my professional development, I dedicate a balanced amount of time to my personal life. I have a passion for nature, and I am glad that my wife and my 2 boys (6 and 9 years old) also share this hobby. In the winter we ski, in the summer we hike, and, whenever I have a few moments for relaxation, I play the guitar and read.
In my experience, it is impossible to achieve professional success without investing in your personal life. It’s what keeps you grounded and gives you wings at the same time. Some further advice for young professionals would be to stay curious and flexible, as this fosters growth and learning opportunities. Lastly, avoid being too proud, as this will block your thirst from developing further.
We are living in very interesting and turbulent times, says Business Service Center Forum Vice Chair Ivan Tomko.
The sector of shared and business service centres has grown into the third-strongest pillar of the Slovak economy over the past 20-odd years. The development implies that the sector has shaken off certain myths, such as that the centres are just call centres.
“As this sector employs about 40,000 people, we actually have 40,000 ambassadors who tell their relatives and friends what these centres actually do – and that this is far more than just calling customers,” said Ivan Tomko, vice-chair of the Business Service Center Forum (BSCF) at the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), in an interview with The Slovak Spectator.
They provide professional services, like financial and IT, thus helping their parent companies to grow. The increase in managerial positions at such centres in Slovakia, from 9 to 11 percent during 2022, is proof that they are attracting more sophisticated jobs and competences.
“They are responsible not only for Slovakia, but for a larger region, and they are even taking on global roles,” said Tomko. He cites the simplified example of an accountant sitting in Slovakia, responsible for managing all the invoices of a given company totalling tens of millions of dollars around the world.
The Slovak Spectator talked with Tomko about the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the new digitalisation and automation wave, as well as the possible usage of the ChatGPT chatbot in the real world of business.
What effect has the Covid-19 pandemic had on the shared service and business service centres sector in Slovakia?
The pandemic has had a minimal impact on the sector, while maintaining productivity and functionality. As we work in offices across the globe, we were able to switch to the home office model very smoothly. At the beginning, we looked for the best models to maintain the engagement of employees, but otherwise the pandemic and remote work had a rather positive effect on productivity. On the other hand, working from home had a negative impact on creativity and relationships. These are better built in the workplace where employees are physically present.
Have the impacts differed compared to abroad?
I don’t have any such information, but I don’t think that this sector behaved differently abroad. The foreign sister companies of our member organisations have not reported any differences either. Now that pandemic measures have been eased, individual organisations are taking different approaches to getting employees back into offices to maintain creativity and corporate culture.
Why is it such a challenge in your sector to get people back into the office?
It’s a general challenge; it doesn’t pertain just to our sector. Most important current legislation doesn’t recognise home office work, which causes a lot of issues for employers to be compliant and not expose their companies to risk. But if there is any sector able to smoothly switch to the home office model at almost 100 percent, then it is ours. And employees got used to it. Some of them terminated rentals and moved back to their families or somewhere else and re-established their daily routines. For example, somebody moving out of Bratislava to Rožňava, his or her children attending a kindergarten or school there, their life now adapted to new norms. Being physically five days a week in an office in Bratislava does not fit very much into their new lifestyle model anymore. On the other hand, when employees again spend time together in the office, more creative ideas arise and the work progresses better. This is a message that we try to pass on and inspire them to return to the office.
Don’t you have the power to order employees to return to the office?
Not yet. From the legislative point of view, there is still an extraodrinary situation (mimoriadna situácia) in effect. The government ordered employers to enable those employees to work from home. But even if we could, we don’t want to order people to return to their offices. We can function in a hybrid model that combines work in an office environment and working from home, and this is the path at least most companies in our sector want to follow. At the same time, when we manage to convince people to come again to the office, they very quickly discover the pleasure of being in physical contact with colleagues.
Under what model will the companies in your sector operate after the extraordinary situation is over?
I assume our sector will not return to 100-percent work in offices. We are expecting a flexible model, with shared days in the office and working remotely: for example, two days in the office and three days at home or vice versa. People will meet once or twice a week in the office, have team meetings and they will work on their projects remotely. The offices will not be designed for 100-percent attendance either. Their layout will be different. They will support collaboration and will not expect all employees to be in the office at the same time. We believe that this will be a win-win solution, as we can maintain the effectiveness of work and the satisfaction of employees under such a hybrid model.
Is the energy crisis affecting the BSC sector in Slovakia?
As we are not an energy-intensive sector, we just have office spaces that we need to heat and we need electricity to operate. The direct impact of the energy crisis on the sector is not so significant. Despite this, our member companies have introduced energy saving measures. For example, they limit heating during weekends. But the energy crisis may impact us indirectly via our clients. These are often companies hit by higher energy costs and they are economising their expenditures. This may mean that they will not buy so many services from our parent companies, and shared service centres could have, theoretically, less work. On the other hand, the current situation may push these companies to search for saving measures. This may be shifting operations onto our centres, because it’s more effective to have for example one financial department for the whole group and not one per organisation. But this is the basic reason why shared service and business centres have been created. This is not directly related to the energy crisis as such.
Companies like Amazon, Dell, IBM and others have announced a wave of layoffs. Do these also pertain to their shared service and business services in Slovakia?
I see these workforce planning moves as efforts by these companies to optimise their costs in order to stay competitive and survive economic recession and inflation. But our member companies have not reported any major changes in their workforce in the country. Slovakia is still perceived as a strategic location and even registers the arrivals of new companies and the extension of existing ones. This is also a signal that the sector as such is both stable and strategic in the long term and able to absorb new investments. Therefore, there is a theoretical chance that we will come out even better from this situation. Not right now, as most companies are rationing, but later this year.
Does Slovakia remain competitive?
Available data indicate this. For example, the number of employees has been increasing. Last year it increased by 4.3 percent. This is 1 percentage point less than the year before, but it does keep increasing. We have skilled, very well educated resources with excellent language capabilities here, even though there is a perception about lack of qualified people.
Does only Slovakia suffer from a lack of a qualified labour force?
What we have been hearing from our colleagues abroad is that this is a general phenomenon, especially in terms of IT and technical positions, Slovakia is not an isolated island in terms of this.
Could you name any new arrivals or expansions?
Several new companies arrived last year. One was Kyndryl and the second one is Freshfields, their main activities are in the field of law. Zurich Insurance opened a new centre in Košice in December. Takeda, which opened its Innovation Capability Center (ICC) in Bratislava last April, is already an established company with over 300 employees. In general, shared and business services centres in Slovakia are growing, with few exceptions. There are individual cases where some positions are being transferred away, either to a cheaper country or via automation. This is good news for Slovakia, because the jobs that remain or are created here are more sophisticated and with higher added value, not low-cost jobs in so-called administrative manufacturing. This even further anchors the companies in Slovakia, as the expertise and skills obtained make potential moves elsewhere more difficult.
What impact does automation and digitalisation have on the need for labour in shared service centres?
Digitalisation and automation are a clear trend now and I believe it will even accelerate. With the advent of more and more sophisticated artificial intelligence, we cannot imagine today how fast this process could be. In many things we are just at the beginning. ChatGPT, a publicly accessible tool developed by OpenAI and launched last year, indicates what will be possible to automate. This extends the pool of possibilities where AI could be used.
Could you imagine using ChatGPT in business?
Certainly yes, in almost every business process. This tool or similar tools are available. Today, it can even write a basic script for a computer programme. Of course, an expert still must look at it and say whether it’s correct and makes sense. But the initial job, i.e. writing the script, can already be performed by artificial intelligence. In accounting, it can help with billing an invoice – it will perform the job and an accountant will check whether it was done correctly. AI can also be used in the HR sector, where it can for example help to identify suitable candidates. We are living in a very interesting and turbulent time.
What do you envisage for the future development of the sector? What are the challenges it faces?
The BSCs sector is one of a few in Slovakia that did not ask for any assistance from the state, and operated without any serious interruptions or problems during lockdowns. Thus, I expect stability and possibly growth in the labour force and performance. In terms of challenges, a long-term problem is the lack of qualified labour. We have been constantly addressing state and governmental institutions about this. The BSCF’s member companies have also been giving a helping hand to schools in the form of various projects, dual education and so on. The second challenge is the predictability of state and governmental interventions as well as the legislative environment. The recent changes have not impacted the sector very well. For example, the increase in surcharges for overtime and night work is an intervention into the existing model that potentially reduces our competitiveness. When a parent company is deciding about granting a new mission to Slovakia as one of its affiliations, wage costs are one of the decisive factors. To be successful in the long term, we need to have some security and stability in the business environment.
FULL STORY: (Slovak Spectator)
Presenting the latest report prepared by Cpl Slovakia.
CEE Salary Guide 2023, as every year, presents a list of salary levels in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary for specialist, expert and managerial positions. The report contain up-to-date salary data for 2023, including top-paying positions in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary.
You will find out what are the most sought after jobs and skills in each of the countries of the region, in sectors such as: SSC/BPO, accounting and finance, IT, sales and marketing, engineering and logistics. In expert comments from our specialists, you will learn the current trends in the labor market in 2023, including a discussion on attracting and retaining talent in the organization through the implementation of the People Value Proposition (PVP) and a presentation of financial and HR trends.
We invite you to download the full version of the report.
Best Places For Software Outsourcing Services In Eastern EuropeOne of the biggest consumers of software outsourcing services and a renowned outsourcing location in Europe. Developer costs in Western and Eastern Europe are very different. For instance, many business owners in Germany and the United Kingdom contract with colleagues in Eastern and Central Europe for software development.
For your company’s project, outsourcing software development to Ukraine may be advantageous. By 2025, Ukraine wants to triple its current level of information technology, which increased by 20% in 2020.
Ukrainian software and IT companies adhere to international standards and, in general, focus on creating cutting-edge technologies. There are developers in Ukraine who are enthusiastic about big data, artificial intelligence, mobile development, blockchain technology, and cryptocurrency projects.
Prices: $25-100 per hour
Top Tech Cities: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Lviv
2. Poland – the place with good outsourcing officesWith more than 100 businesses and 255 thousand highly dedicated development team specialists, Poland competes with Ukraine. Poland is an IT partner for 100 companies and has over 255 software specialists available to provide offshore custom software development services. There are many Java, Python, and Ruby developers in Poland.
The nation also benefits from its advantageous location in the center of Europe. Poland’s success in the development outsourcing market is due to a supportive political environment, a strong economy, and technical resources with high levels of expertise.
Prices: $25 – $100 per hour.
Top Tech Cities: Warsaw, Kraków, Wroclaw, Lodz
3. Hungary – a desirable place for software outsourcing servicesHungary is a popular place for R&D facilities because of its welcoming business environment. Hungary is a desirable location for IT outsourcing for many different reasons.
First, Hungary complies with European norms because it is a member of the European Union. Second, Hungary offers reliable market conditions and top-notch software outsourcing services. But in some ways, the nation’s IT market has peaked.
Prices: $25 – $55 per hour.
Top Tech Cities: Budapest, Debrecen, Miskolc
4. Czech Republic – promising software outsourcing services optionThe Czech Republic will be an intriguing outsourcing option worldwide in 2022. To capitalize on the software development market, which is supported by many prominent technical colleges that produce more than 15,000 IT graduates each year, Google, the largest IT business in the world, established a branch in the Czech Republic.
Prices: $25-50 hourly
Top Tech Cities: Prague, Bruno
GlobalLogic Team Extends its Support of Stellantis by Creating a Dedicated Lab.
-GlobalLogic Inc., a Hitachi Group Company and Digital Engineering Leader, today confirmed it is establishing a new automotive-centric software facility in Poland as part of its continued efforts to enable car manufacturers worldwide to develop software-defined vehicles (SDVs). The initiative was prompted by its ongoing collaboration with Stellantis as the global automaker and mobility provider advances its platform for SDVs. The companies’ new partnership phase enables Stellantis to maximize its ability to evolve and deliver customizable open automotive platforms.
According to a recent report from Goldman Sachs, “We are entering a new era where SDVs (software-centric automotive development) will determine who has the competitive edge in the auto industry.” Next generation vehicles rely on software to decrease hardware dependencies in ways that better the whole consumer experience, from driving to maintenance.
Stellantis, a leading global automaker and mobility provider, is deploying next-generation technology platforms that build on existing connected vehicle capabilities to transform how customers interact with their vehicles. This transformation will move Stellantis’ vehicles to an open software-defined platform that seamlessly integrates with customers’ digital lives and greatly expands the options customers have to add innovative features and services via regular over-the-air (OTA) updates keeping vehicles fresh, exciting, and updated years after they have been built.
“As newer digital technologies become available, the infrastructure around and inside our cars should adapt to meet driver expectations,” said Tara Vatcher, Senior Vice President, Software Architecture and Development, Stellantis. “Therefore, it’s important to us that we work with an engineering partner that is dialed in to the cutting edge of what’s possible with automotive solutions. GlobalLogic’s commitment to our success through the establishment of this new facility proves we’re making the right choice in extending our partnership.”
GlobalLogic provides Stellantis with key talent expertise in software, verification and validation platforms, DevOps, and over-the-air integration supporting several Stellantis application platforms. The systems developed throughout this partnership continue to accelerate base software platform development for Stellantis vehicles worldwide.
“GlobalLogic has a deep history of collaborating with global automotive manufacturers. We’re putting that knowledge to work as we, along with Stellantis will reimagine the driving experience using digital solutions. This partnership represents our continued focus on driving the industry towards powerful software-defined vehicle experiences,” stated Ramki Krishna, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Automotive & Industrial Business, GlobalLogic.
Polish IT specialist EPAM has leased almost 8,500 sqm of office space in Brain Park in Kraków, which is being developed by Echo Investment.
The first phase of Brain Park – buildings A and B – recently came into use and has been leased by such companies as PepsiCo, Mercator Medical and Medicover. Echo Investment has now decided to go ahead with the third building of the complex, which will bring its total area up to 43,000 sqm.
It is situated in Grzegórzki district, about 2 km east of Kraków’s Old Town.
Marel, an Iceland-based global supplier of equipment, systems, software and services for the food industry, opens its Shared Services Center in Brama Miasta in Łódź in late 2022, and is now fully operational.
"Congratulations on choosing this place for your daily work. Marel has opened a new shared services center in our city, where 70 people are already employed, but I hope that the number of new jobs will start to grow dynamically", said Hanna Zdanowska, Mayor of the City of Łódź.
What does Marel do? Marel is a leading global supplier of advanced equipment, systems, software and services for the poultry, meat and fish industries. It employs 6,800 employees in over 30 countries, delivering annual revenue in 2020 of EUR 1.2 trillion. Annually, the company invests 6% of its income in the development of innovations. Through continuous improvements in the food processing process, Marel enables its customers to increase the safety and traceability of products. In addition, it contributes to improving sustainability in food production.
Marel has been listed on NASDAQ Iceland since 1992 and dual-listed on Euronext Amsterdam since June 2019.
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11th annual CEE Business Services Awards
Build it or Buy It?: Outsourcing in Poland and Central Eastern Europe
BSC Directors VIP WineTastings, June-September 2023
BSC Charity Beach Volleyball Tournaments - June and August 2023