"Confidence about the future"
Alexandr Oshurkov, 24, began working at the Almaty cement terminal in southern Kazakhstan as a mechanic in 2010. Just one year later, HeidelbergCement acquired the terminal, and Oshurkov was promoted to Sales Manager. He currently holds the position Regional Sales Director with responsibility for the southern region of Kazakhstan.
Sergey Nikolayevich Pchelintsev, 56, has been working in the field of building materials for 25 years. He started his own dry mix production business in 1992, and has been with HeidelbergCement since 2006. Currently, Mr. Pchelintsev is the General Director for all HeidelbergCement subsidiaries producing concrete and aggregates in Kazakhstan.
What brought you to HeidelbergCement?
Before joining HeidelbergCement, I ran my own building materials company. In early 2005, I met a group of managers from HeidelbergCement. At the time, the Company was planning to enter the market in Kazakhstan for the first time. For about a year, I was consulting and providing representatives of HeidelbergCement with information about things like the market situation and development of the building materials industry in the country. After the Company finally decided to enter the market, I was offered the opportunity to join HeidelbergCement. Frankly, it was a difficult choice: to keep my own business or to be employed by another company. I chose HeidelbergCement, and I must say that I made the right decision!
I worked at a local cement terminal, which was then purchased by HeidelbergCement in 2011. When the terminal was purchased, every employee continued working there – no one was fired. I did not even think about leaving. What’s more, I was inspired by the new opportunities and prospects I learned of after joining HeidelbergCement.
Having had experience with local companies, and now working for HeidelbergCement in the same industry, is there a difference between your work then and now?
With my 25 years of work experience in the production of building materials, I joined HeidelbergCement thinking there was nothing new that I could learn. How wrong I was. Quickly, I understood that there were many areas where I actually had very little knowledge. Over the past seven years, I have had the opportunity to improve my professional skills in both production and management of the workflow. HeidelbergCement has a clearly structured production process, along with an accounting, control, and accountability system ensuring that decisions are made in a timely manner, and that work plans are continually optimised. Here, we do not work randomly, but according to clearly defined strategic and tactical plans adhered to throughout the production process. Of course, there was nothing comparable in my previous experience.
There is a difference in terms of working with customers. Now, we are building relationships with our customers using a completely different approach: At HeidelbergCement there is a system of regional sales representatives, who work through personal meetings, making the Company more customer-oriented.
How would you describe HeidelbergCement?
It is a reliable, stable company with clear policies. The key factor is that HeidelbergCement has a strategic vision for its future development. The Company makes its plans not just for a year or two, but for many years in advance. This gives employees a tremendous boost of confidence about the future.
At HeidelbergCement, you have opportunities to fully realise your potential and apply your abilities. Even more importantly, employees are able to develop both their skills and their careers. The Company creates all conditions for you to continuously develop yourself, obtain and apply new knowledge and skills for achieving your goals.
And, for me, that’s what makes HeidelbergCement an attractive employer. A good employer is, first and foremost, one that keeps its word and lives up to its obligations to employees. A company should care about the career development of its employees, which in turn has a positive effect on sustainable development and prosperity for the company itself. Undoubtedly, HeidelbergCement is such a company.
Yes, I agree with Sergey. Working here, you feel socially secure: salaries are paid on time and business travel costs are reimbursed promptly. This is a very important aspect here in Kazakhstan. As a HeidelbergCement employee, you feel confident about the future. You see that you are valued, and your work is well paid.
Describe your vision of yourself and our company in 5 years.
The Company is growing, and has good prospects in Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries. This region offers favourable conditions for the further successful development and expansion of our Company given its political stability and solid economic growth. As for me, I can say that I think about how to share my knowledge with the younger generation of the Company.
I believe that in five years HeidelbergCement will expand its presence in the countries of the region. I think our current cement facilities will transfer over to dry production, and cement terminals will be upgraded with modern equipment. In addition, customer service and support levels will be improved.
As for myself, in five years I expect – naturally – that my career will be developing and that I will be tasked with more diverse assignments with a broader scope.
What do you wish the Company for its 140th anniversary?
140 years is a long time, which means that the Company has a long track record of making good decisions, especially taking into account the global changes in Europe and the whole world over that period: world wars, collapse of states and changes of governments, scientific and technological advancements, automation and computerisation. In the face of all these challenges, HeidelbergCement managed to grow into a world leader in production of building materials, with modern methods of management and communication, innovations, and the most advanced production technologies.
I want to wish the Company further prosperity and that it continues to push forward the frontiers of innovation.
I wish our company continued stability, sustainable growth, and a favorable future, with highly skilled and loyal personnel.
Sergei Nikolayevich, the last question is for you: What advice do you have for the younger members of HeidelbergCement?
First of all, I want to mention the importance of diligence and devotion. One cannot become a good specialist or manager without diligence and full commitment to one’s work.
In addition, I want to encourage the younger generation to permanently self-improve and pursue new knowledge, because it is always important to remain competitive and be a true expert in one’s field.
(The interview was conducted in 2013.)