In November 2009, Vestas looked to offshore staffing solutions to be able to lower its operating costs. Vestas needed to hire more than 200 FTEs at that time. The company looked around the contending offshore outsourcing destinations — in India, Canada, Mexico, Singapore, and the Philippines (their matrix showed a couple more alternatives) — and compared these countries side by side in terms of ease of doing business, cultural compatibility, availability of skills and competency, communication skills, cost, infrastructure, staff turnover, and anticipated salary increases / inflation.
“We had chosen to set up an offshore outsourced team in the Philippines,” Finn Poulsen, Vice President and Managing Director at Vestas. Mr. Poulsen cites access to competent skills, increased presence in Asia, language skills, culture compatibility, strong government support, lower attrition rates, lower cost base, and favorable background checks as critical factors that led to this move.
“With the Philippines, we saw the opportunity to achieve cost savings, but more importantly the opportunity for scalability so that we could then implement our new organization model of PLAN-BUILD-RUN,” Finn said.
Vestas, which used to be with PEZA or Philippine Economic Zone Authority, also shared the story of its expansion within the Philippines. Finn shares being with PEZA helped despite considerable admin work in compliance with its regulations.
When asked about what he would change or try to do differently the second time if he had the chance to change the past, Finn said he would give a lot more focus on the human resources side of putting up a business. (He remarked that less than half of the 10 original employees had remained with Vestas until today.)
Finn also shared that a lot of their new hires were borne from their internal referral system, however, they are very interested to work closely with the schools in the Philippines to nurture new talent.
Vestas has been producing wind turbines ever since I was born. It has installed almost 49,000 wind turbines in 73 countries on six continents. For more information about Vestas, visit www.vestas.com.