First Responders in Hyundai Glovis Overseas Subsidiaries
Europe Biz Team

Beginning in 2024, the Europe Biz team will take on the role of proactively identifying, coordinating, and resolving issues in the overseas subsidiaries. The Europe Biz team is determined to go beyond the existing management tasks and to become a first responder in the overseas regions.

The Europe Biz Team is responsible for managing and supporting the five EU, Turkey, and Russia subsidiaries in the European region. Beginning in 2024, the team was reorganized into a new Overseas Business Support Office under the CEO, and has shifting its focus from management to proactively identifying overseas issues and supporting direct improvement.

“I will play the role of a bridge between the head office and the subsidiaries
so that different opinions can be well coordinated and reasonable decision
support can be provided. I look forward to your help.”

Since the beginning of the year, Noh Seung-tak, tema ldaer of the Europe Biz Team, has been working hard to solve overseas issues. One of the challenges is the expansion and revitalization of communication channels.

“As our overseas business reaches a mature stage, it is essential to have a collaborative system to eliminate risks and discover new growth engines through open communication. This is something that we are constantly thinking about not only in our team but also at the actual level, and I think that most of our team members have a variety of work experience, such as procurement and management of domestic and overseas finished vehicles, and we use this to our advantage to communicate efficiently with our subsidiaries. This year, I will take the lead in identifying and resolving issues in overseas subsidiaries by using the ‘put yourself in someone else’s shoes’ mindset and Lifestyle 2.0 ‘SPEAK OUT LOUD’ to facilitate communication within the team and with subsidiaries.”

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In his new role in 2024, Noh has two main things he’s planning and working on. The first step is to ensure that the overseas subsidiaries are well prepared for the future. While the company as a whole has set the medium- to long-term direction for the future, business plans have also been drawn up for each overseas subsidiary. It would be great to implement all of these plans, but in reality it is difficult to do so while managing current business. Therefore, the Europe Biz team will work hard to support and assess the feasibility in advance and focus on more promising businesses.

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Secondly, Europe Biz Team is actively considering activities to prevent similar phenomena by building a database of issues that have occurred in overseas subsidiaries. As the saying goes, “reviewing the past and learning the new”, Europe Biz Team is data mining existing issues so that they can detect them based on past lessons and provide quick signals to related organizations. Once the data is complete, they plan to provide a manual that can serve as a guide to corporate issues such as the Overseas Issues Report.

Currently, the Europe Biz Team is divided into two work groups: Sales Support and Production Support. The most important thing Noh wants to encourage in his team is teamwork.

“I think teamwork is the most important thing, because we have team members with different backgrounds and skills. We have to work together as a team, as a community of people who are meant to go together. Helen Keller, a famous American author and educator, once said, “It takes two flints to light a fire,” and we want each other to be partners in stoking the flames of success.

Please tell us about yourself.

I worked as an expatriate for VPC in the USA until January last year, and am currently responsible for supporting vehicle business in Europe. I’m supporting the expatriate work of the GLOVIS EUROPE’s vehicle business by taking into account what I did well and what I lacked as an expatriate in the overseas vehicle logistics business, and I am doing my best to provide practical help out of sympathy.

I am in charge of supporting production and procurement logistics for European production plants. As an expatriate in India, I have experience in procurement logistics for import and export of production plants, and currently support procurement logistics and forwarding business related to production.

As the organization changes, there will be changes in the work done by the working groups

The Sales Support Working Group is responsible for supporting existing operations (transportation of finished vehicles from Hyundai’s Czech Republic and Kia’s Slovakia factories to Europe, annual transportation fee contracts, etc), anticipating issues that may affect our business with our customers and discussing countermeasures to ensure timely management decisions, deliberating on investments in infrastructure (trucks, trains, port development, compound (shipping center) development) as a weapon for achieving business growth in the European finished vehicle transportation market, and helping customers win contracts.

The Production Support Working Group provides support for all logistics related to the production of vehicle, such as parts procurement and transportation, C/C operations, and issues arising from each overseas subsidiary in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey, and Russia, which are production bases in Europe.

What are the latest issues related to your work?

We are making unprecedented investments in assets in the European region, including trucks, trains, intermodal facilities, and import port development, for the transportation of Hyundai and Kia sales subsidiaries’ finished vehicles in Europe and the future of the European region. In the past, under the tripartite contract between carrier, customer and Hyundai Glovis, the carrier was responsible for asset investment and we were responsible for operations at the logistics arrangement stage, But starting this year, we are making the leap to becoming an asset-owning integrated logistics company that directly operates integrated logistics for the first time. So 2024 is a new milestone and a year to leave our mark on the road less traveled.

Since the end of last year, shipping through the Red Sea has been impossible due to attacks on ships by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, an escalation of the Israel-Hamas war. In the case of our Turkish subsidiary, we needed an alternative means of transportation for the urgent sea shipment of parts from India, and our team traveled to Turkey to provide hands-on support to the expatriates who could not afford it. In this way, we try to be the hands and feet of our overseas subsidiaries and solve difficulties together.

In your work, what is your main focus?

We focus on areas that support the healthy launch and operation of our business, such as ensuring profitability in Europe and the timely deployment of our logistics assets, as well as operating as a double-freight operation to minimize our idle assets in the event of a customer sales slump.

Communication, coordination and business support between overseas subsidiaries and headquarters is a core part of my job, and I am always thinking about how to collaborate in the most efficient way. Since the intentions and thoughts of overseas subsidiaries, relevant departments at the headquarters, and management may differ, I am most concerned about the accuracy of information delivery to prevent misunderstandings and dissonance among each other.

With time differences from the local area and various business channels even within the Korea, what are the tips for smoothly managing tasks?

Work happens between people. I believe that communication is the most important skill in the collaboration between the European Employee Assistance team and the units in Europe, as well as with the relevant departments at headquarters. In addition, departmental selfishness must be eliminated, such as forcing projects for the sake of one’s own team’s performance, delaying or killing projects by over-assuming and over-judging business risks, and causing inefficiency in focusing on the essence of the work by adding unnecessary tasks instead of providing practical support. As the CEO pointed out, we should not be guilty of departmental selfishness, which is like looking at your own business with a racehorse blindfold. We are doing our best to build a win-win cooperation system that enables the entire company to have a broad perspective and smooth communication through open communication.

Because of the time difference between Europe and headquarters is different, we try to communicate what we need to know before the Europeans arrive at work via Teams or email, and when they arrive at work, we have a focused meeting to share what we need to know. If it takes them a long time to understand the information, they get it the next day, and in that case we try to communicate with them as much as possible in advance to make sure they get what they need the first time.

I think there is a lot of work to be done between the Sales Support Working Group and the Production Support Working Group.

Production has an organic relationship with sales. When sales decline, production plant utilization declines, inventories increase, and plant liquidity deteriorates, leading to disruptions in the production supply chain, including parts companies. In addition, there are no cars to sell when the production sector is down due to logistical problems, labor supply and demand issues, or defective parts, such as during the coronavirus pandemic. From production to sales, Hyundai (Czech plant), Kia (Slovakian plant), Glovis Europe (logistics) and Mobis (parts) are a community of destiny for the success of the Hyundai Motor Group in the European market. Therefore, in order to create a synergy of 1+1=3, it is absolutely necessary to work together in order to react to sales booms and busts in advance.

I agree. Production and sales in overseas factories cannot be done in isolation from each other, and maritime issues such as the Red Sea shipping ban that affect production can also affect local sales. so we identify logistics issues from the perspective of the entire logistics process and find ways to minimize risks through mutual discussion.

When has there been a sense of reward in your work?

I’m happiest when I hear feedback from expatriates who say, “I feel like the HQ support organization is on my side. I’m also happy when customers tell me they appreciate my work. I’m also happy when I hear from a local expat that a client thanks me for reaching a milestone, but most of all I’m happy when I get a thumbs up from my colleagues.

When I can help an overseas subsidiary get the emergency support they need and make a positive impact, that is the most rewarding part of my job.

What do you think are some of the things you can improve on going forward?

As the Overseas Regional Support Office reports directly to the CEO, it is a transitional situation to establish smooth communication with overseas subsidiaries. I think the key is how to bridge the gap between the support team and the overseas subsidiaries, which have to monitor the areas of exaggerated reporting to get a good rating, and hiding business sluggishness and delays to avoid criticism for failures. I have seen many cases where a crack in the wall of a huge dam caused a very small leak, and the golden time for repair and reinforcement was missed, resulting in the worst situation of the dam collapsing. A system must be in place to call for help when it is needed, and to prevent and proactively monitor potential risks from developing into actual incidents through transparent and efficient operations. This requires the expertise of the headquarters support team and the relevant organizations, as well as constant and open channels of communication.

As a support organization, informal communication and collaboration will be the most important goal of our work, and understanding the various situations that occur in overseas subsidiaries and their future impact and response will be paramount. To this end, we will need to further improve our expertise in various tasks to maintain smooth communication with expatriates and strengthen our role as a center of collaboration based on information sharing with relevant departments at the headquarters.

What are your plans and goals for the first half of 2024?

My goals for the first half of the year are to support integrated logistics orders for domestic dealers in Europe, and to support the construction of compounds and the purchase and timely deployment of direct trucks.

This year, there have been many problems related to factory operations due to international logistics issues. We plan to prioritize the stabilization of logistics by actively responding to the needs of overseas affiliates.

In your opinion, where are the strengths or competitive advantages of the Europe Biz Team?

Our strengths are the expertise of our managers, who are expatriates who have participated in land, sea and air warfare in related fields, and good internal cooperation and communication with managers who have excellent work learning skills and open minds.

The team is composed of people who have professional experience as expatriates in overseas corporations, as well as people who have been managing and supporting the business of the corporation for a long time, so we already have expertise in the field. There is mutual respect and support because communication between team members is smoother than on any other team.

What are you going to say about your new role?

I am constantly studying to improve my English conversation skills, which is my strength. I also travel to advanced business locations to acquire specialized know-how related to the logistics of finished vehicles in all of our overseas locations, discover and learn standard manuals, and share them with the team. Above all, I plan to become a marathon pacer for expatriates and a supporter who helps them finish with a good record by taking their feelings into consideration. I don’t want to be an auditor and point out problems, so my CS slogan for this year is “Satisfy colleagues and impress customers like a warm neighborhood brother in 2024!”

There hasn’t been a lot of change in my business continuity role, but I am now more focused on supporting our overseas corporation. As the situation of overseas factories changes according to the international situation, we want to identify global logistics changes so that we can respond proactively. We also plan to develop knowledge in line with changing trends, such as new businesses and new technologies, and strengthen support for future growth.

Finally, what would you like to say to the employees of Hyundai Glovis?

Firstly, take care of my health, take care of my mind, so that I don’t use my dear colleagues as a dustbin for my emotions. I want good, healthy, encouraging feelings and words to flow to the important people I meet. I want them to stop looking at the current situation and start dreaming of a better future, so what if I am the mood maker in my organisation?

Second, for ex-pats, especially those who have expanded their responsibilities and taken the time to interact with locally recruited ex-pats, it is encouraging to have just one person in the company on your side. For ex-pats who have made courageous decisions for their children’s education, their own careers, and their advancement, I hope to be their first advocate, keeping criticism of failure or lack of work to a minimum. I hope that the language of support and encouragement will be “You are doing well because of you!” rather than “Because of you!” ^^

The first quarter of 2024 is coming to a close. I know you’re all working hard in your respective roles, and if you have colleagues who are struggling with unseen challenges, I hope you can offer a little comfort and support. I wish you all the best in achieving your goals for the year, both at home and abroad.

By Editorial Department