I am Mauricio Manzano Podversich, I am the director of Michelin Shared Service Centre in Bucharest since September 2017. This is a multifunction SSC within Michelin’s Corporate and Business Services Operations Direction. We provide services on Finance, Order to Cash, Source to Pay and Personnel domains mainly for Michelin’s European companies.
How did you start your career? Which were your first steps? How did you envision your career?
I started my career in banking and energy sectors in Argentina, after majoring in business administration in college. A few years later I joined Michelin in the UK, where its first shared service centre was established. At the time I was hired as a specialist on the Costing team serving Spanish factories.
The dynamic environment of a SSC gave me the opportunity to evolve in different management positions in UK and later in France, where I oversaw the Finance SSC operations for Europe before moving to Romania.
Working with people and facing new challenges is what motivates me the most. Shared Services is all about people. After 17 years I continue to learn. I still see a future for me in business services, as new challenges and change are a constant in this sector.
What were your key career moments (those that had an impact on your professional journey)?
In my professional life I was sometimes confronted with difficult situations. For example, shortly after taking on my first team manager role in a bank, the company went bankrupt. Suddenly I had to re-start my career in another company, another job and sector that I didn’t know much about. Later, after completing a master’s degree in the UK, I set a new course for my career again, in a completely different environment. Today I reckon that from each difficult moment, new opportunities arise. A lot depends on your attitude to transform change into an opportunity.
My decision to continue my professional education and to develop new skills opened the way for further career moves. It was not an easy task to handle studies, work and family life, but I am quite happy now with having taken that step. I owe a lot to my wife for her support during those intense years.
What is the best three most valuable career lessons you have learned?
I would say that the number one take-away so far is to learn and develop yourself continuously. This requires to permanently look for feedback from your managers, collegues and the team you manage. To listen carefully and take actions on the improvement areas.
Finally, when it’s time to make a career move, listen to your heart rather than your head. We spend a long part of our life at work; in the long run, the work environment, the people we work with and the company values could be more important than financial aspects and perks. If you feel well at work, you are more likely to be motivated and to be successful in your career.
Why did you choose Business Service Industry? What were top 3 reasons for choosing Michelin?
It was a natural choice for me. If you want to work in a multinational and multicultural, dynamic environment, then business services is a good place to be. Most big companies are now moving to a Global Business Services type of organisation.
When I heard that Michelin was looking for people with a background in economics, with language skills for its new SSC, I didn’t hesitate to apply. Having worked for another French company, I had many friends in France who knew about the reputation of Michelin as a people-oriented company. There was no Internet or app at the time to find first hand information about the company; so their feedback, based on actual experiences, confirmed to me that the strong brand image Michelin had globally was in correlation with the company values. I wanted to work for The Michelin Man.
What are your/your company’s plans for 2020?
These are exciting times for Michelin. We are diversifying our activity around mobility and beyond. New acquisitions in the services and high-tech materials sectors are part of a growth strategy that was launched in the past couple of years.
Our Corporate and Business Services organisation will play a role in the company’s growth ambitions. For us in Bucharest, it means that we must be agile, to adapt quickly to the new business environment. Delivering quality services is not enough, we are going to be services transformers, looking at improving processes end-to-end, thanks to the collaboration with all our partners in the Group.
We will continue to make sure that new transitions are delivered on time with quality, and for the existing Service Lines we are going to focus on creating value for the company.
In 2020, growing our leaders and future leaders will be an important part of our talent development strategy. We will also be active in helping our teams acquire the competencies needed for the Digital Transformation that is happening at fast speed everywhere.
Finally, we want to be an active player in Michelin’s sustainability ambitions. Therefore, we are going to address the question of our carbon footprint and be more active in Michelin’s CSR actions.
What do you think would be the keywords of the year for managers in the Business Services industry? Automation? Cutting costs?
Efficiency has always been a big part of our industry; lean management practices and information systems have always been key drivers of quality improvements and waste elimination, leading to cost optimisations. Nowadays we have new tools arriving at a speed never seen before. Not crediting the apocalyptic predictions of some gurus, I am convinced that this is a very good time to be in business services.
We have a unique opportunity to bring value to the business if we focus our people’s skills on the right competencies. Thanks to technology, we can now have a direct impact on improving our customers’, colleagues’ and partners’ experiences. We are in the age of data driven companies, we manage and transform tons of data, therefore we are in a unique position to extract relevant business insights from it.
Some GBS, and their SSCs are leading the way already; we just need to dedicate some time for listening to their success stories and also failures. The community of professionals on the SSC-BPO business have a lot to gain from being open minded about sharing good practices.
Tell us a little bit about your private life. Tell us about your passions, family. What do you do to relax?
I am lucky to have a wife that has supported me all the way. We have relocated to a different country 3 times already, learning new languages, adapting to different cultures. It’s been a challenge each time. I feel lucky for having the opportunity to see the world from different perspectives.
My hobby is photography; I’ve started in England when we went for walks in the beautiful countryside there. I like it the old fashioned way, with a proper camera where you can see the world via the small viewfinder and you think about the best way to compose the image, to show things that escape to the naked eye.
If you were starting now your career, knowing the present and near future opportunities, what would you do? What career would you pursue?
If I had to start a career now, I would probably look towards human sciences like sociology, psychology or something close to it. I think it is important to complement this with STEM courses, to learn about finance, mathematics and statistics.
We live in a world driven by data, so you need to be able to understand the fundamentals of data analysis. Ultimately the human interactions will become the key for any type of job; as the rest gets automated, our ability to interact with others will probably be the most important skill to have.
What are the top 3 skills that you would develop?
The most important to me is to be open for change, at the point of forcing you to step out of comfortable situations. Being aware of your emotions, and other people’s emotions is very important as well. I would say that being open to question yourself and to learn new things is a must.