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ATRADIUS: DENMARK BEST IN SCANDINAVIAIn recent years, the global credit insurer Atradius has centralised several of its functions in Copenhagen. The reasons are a healthy economy, flexible conditions and common sense.
A SMOOTH PROCESS, COMMON SENSE AND INDISPUTABLE ARGUMENTS
These are the three ingredients in Atradius’ recipe for success, which has turned the company’s Nordic headquarters in Copenhagen into the leading company in Scandinavia. Local presence in each market is a must for Atradius, so offices each had several functions that performed the same work. It thus made sense to look at the areas that overlapped when times changed with the economic recession.
- As world trade was hit, we were naturally also affected as insurance claims increased dramatically. There¬fore, we re-examined our set-up and, in particular, the overlapping functions in our Nordic offices. We discove¬red that there were great savings to be made by consolidating many of the functions, and that we would be able to this without compromising our high level of service both to our customers and to our employees. We had already centralised many of our IT, payroll and personnel functions for the whole of Scandinavia in Copenhagen, which was therefore less affected, whereas the number of employees in the Norwegian and Swedish offices was reduced to 30 employees in each location. The office in Finland was relatively new with 10-12 employees and has been unaffected by the consolidation.
Following the reorganisation, the offices in Norway, Sweden and Finland primarily function as sales branches says Jørgen Lund Lavesen, CEO of Atradius’ offices in Holland and Scandinavia with responsibility for approximately 350 employees.
Although there are still offices in Sweden, Norway and Finland - as well as in 38 other countries - Atradius has on several occasions chosen to locate their functions in Copenhagen in connection with streamlining and optimising operations in Scandinavia. Apart from Atradius’ own research on conditions in Copenhagen, mate¬rial and analyses from Copenhagen Capacity also contributed to Jørgen Lund Lavesen’s recommendations for choosing Copenhagen, which the corporate management group in the Netherlands followed.
- We need a lot of space in close proximity to the city centre, and therefore we have paid a lot of attention to m2 prices. Furthermore, we are a knowledge-intensive company, so the availability of highly skilled labour and salary conditions have also been important considerations, and on both parameters, Copenhagen takes the lead. At the same time, Copenhagen Capacity has provided me with well-documented analyses each time we have had to merge some of our activities, which has been vital as these are big decisions that cannot just be made undone next month. All changes have been examined and discussed thoroughly, and therefore Atradius in Copenhagen continues to have approximately 110 employees and is today by far the largest Nordic office despite reductions in staff in the other Nordic branches, Jørgen Lund Lavesen explains.
In an international company like Atradius, multicultural aspects must also be taken into consideration. Many different nationalities and beliefs have to work together, but Jørgen Lund Lavesen finds that this is more a strength than a weakness. As head of the departments in both Copenhagen and Amsterdam, he experiences the differences between Atradius employees, and a few things stand out:
- The Dutch work more hours than the Danes; Friday afternoon at 16.30 the office in Copenhagen is empty - and even earlier in Oslo and Stockholm - but the Dutch are still at work. However, the Danes work much more efficiently and organised compared to many other nationalities, he says.
FACTS ABOUT ATRADIUS
Atradius credit insures companies worldwide. Credit insurance comes into force when a seller in Country A
sends goods to a buyer in Country B. The buyer often has a period in which to pay and in this period the seller lacks his money. If the buyer goes bankrupt or is otherwise unable to pay, the insurance comes into force and ensures that the seller gets his money.
- Atradius has a market share of 31 per cent
- Atradius insures 25 per cent of the total Danish exports, equivalent to approx. 130 billion DKK
Atradius has access to credit information on 52 million companies in the world and daily makes decisions
on credits in 22,000 cases
Atradius has offices in 42 countries and employs 3,400 employees worldwide, including the headquarters
in the Netherlands with 550 employees and the office in Denmark with 110 employees.