Excellent Achievements During the First Months Resulted in Twice as Big Expansion of the NKT Unit: Not Only Residents of Vilnius Return to Kaunas but Also Emigrants
Photo: NKT archive
The financial services center “NKT Lithuania”, located on the scenic shore of the river Neris, in the “Kauno Dokas” business center, has been operating for only a few months, but its plans for the first year have already been exceeded several times: the unit, which became the first services center of the global cable manufacturing giant NKT, quickly justified and surpassed the expectations of investors, and the head of the unit, Ilona Antonovičiūtė, speaks about the development plans and the wide opportunities available in Kaunas.
NKT, established in Denmark in 1891, is one of the world’s leading cable manufacturing companies.
By acquiring or selling other factories and businesses, over the past hundred years, NKT has expanded its portfolio of products and markets, always maintaining its core competence – to be unrivaled cable manufacturing professionals.
When asked what the most important thing for the company is today, Ilona Antonovičiūtė first mentions one of the most important purchases of the NKT company that took place in 2017: a part of ABB’s company that manufactures high-voltage cables was purchased together with the whole factory, a boat, staff and ongoing projects. It was an important decision for NKT: the capacity of complex cabling production has grown, thus creating even more opportunities to carry out complex and large projects around the world.
“The company is not afraid to make bold decisions and it changes together with the needs of the entire market. NKT production offers opportunities and contributes to the prevailing megatrends in the energy sector, from the promotion of green energy to the creation of an energy system among countries,” says the head of “NKT Lithuania”.
The decision to locate in Kaunas was determined by the possibilities of the city
The unit in Kaunas started its work in February and it is the first company service center serving all NKT Group companies.
“The initial idea was to create service centers in Poland or in the Czech Republic, as in these countries there are already operating factories of our company. Nevertheless, the market of service centers both in Poland and in the Czech Republic is already overloaded, the unemployment rate is low, competition for workers is particularly severe, thus, the search for alternatives began. It can be said that just because of the initiative and consultations of “Invest Lithuania” NKT decided to choose Lithuania for its financial unit, and after visiting Kaunas, the city was chosen both because of a more favorable competitive environment and the potential of Kaunas to grow and expand,” I. Antonovičiūtė recalls the start of NKT in Lithuania.
According to her, the company has already foreseen a significant growth perspective: “The initial plan was to bring together 30 staff members during this year. However, now, in the first months of operation, we have exceeded this number and by the end of the year, we most likely will have about 70 employees. We plan to grow next year as well, to invite other NKT units and departments and to take on more complex financial processes. The premises of the current unit in “Kauno Dokas” can accommodate 80 employees, but we have a possibility to expand and we will use it.”
Not only the team but also the nature of the work will expand
Currently, “NKT Lithuania” is engaged not only in the transfer of financial transactions, but also in the implementation of new systems, process improvement, revision and automation work. According to the head of the unit, the great start in Kaunas convinced the company to accelerate development plans: “The fact that we decided to implement some processes faster, I think, was the result of an obvious positive change created by the work of our unit. Our working pace, proposed ideas and changes we made with no doubt pleasantly surprised the decision makers of NKT and encouraged them to transfer larger volumes of work faster than originally planned. Therefore, I am sure that the next year will also be the year of growth – we will develop more complicated financial processes in Lithuania, and the IT Digitalization Hub Center in Kaunas is considered.”
According to I. Antonovičiūtė, there is a sufficient market for different specialists in Kaunas and Lithuania, therefore, the plans to open new centers of service of NKT in other countries are not even considered.
Not only residents of Vilnius return to Kaunasbut also emigrants
What qualities of NKT attract financial professionals? First, the company’s internal culture, international environment, intensive cooperation with other units and teams, wide opportunities to travel and participate in various projects.
“As one of the employees said, the company provides hands-on experience. Indeed, there are a lot of opportunities to develop your full potential: we do not have employees specializing only in one field and focusing on a very narrow area. The organization tends to change, and each employee can be a part of that change and get a visible response to their ideas and suggestions. The ability to influence a large organization and its processes encourages employees to be creative and responsible.”
Knowing and realizing that the number of people with the necessary knowledge and abilities to work with the necessary systems is, if any, very small, the NKT invests in training and the growth of their team. The search for required specialists is carried out not only in Kaunas but also in other cities or even countries.
“Already today part of the company’s employees are foreigners, or they commute from Vilnius to Kaunas, or they are Kaunas residents who worked in Vilnius and returned to Kaunas. We also have Lithuanians who came back from emigration. We noticed an interesting trend: if earlier the young specialists came to Vilnius in the pursuit of the international environment, better salary and better working conditions, today we see the reverse processes triggered by international companies coming to Kaunas, more interesting jobs and a satisfactory work salary.
So, we do not concentrate on the Kaunas residents alone – we have a broader perspective. We are open to different people from different countries, we help them with visas, permits to live in Lithuania. It is important for us that a person would be suitable not only for his/her professional skills, but also for some internal values and attitude to help us maintain a friendly and open culture of NKT which we have been nurturing for more than a century,” says the head of “NKT Lithuania”.