The Air Products group is a leader in the industrial and medical gas segment, providing products and services for clients in the technological, energy, health and industrial sectors worldwide. In addition to a number of production facilities, Catalonia also boasts the Spanish headquarters of the company’s operations under the name -Carburos Metálicos- and is the European headquarters for Carburos Médica, which supplies medicinal gases and healthcare services for the home.
In 2007, the multinational strengthened its relationship with Catalonia with the inauguration of its Shared Service Centre (SSC) in Barcelona, responsible for finance, logistics and customer care for a host of states across Europe, Middle East and South America. In the last four years this centre has enjoyed dynamic growth, which has seen it take on new responsibilities and reflected by the rise in the workforce from 100 to 500 employees.
Jordi Cruells, Director, European Accounting and Transaction Services of Carburos Metálicos, points out, “This centre is a clear example of how important Catalonia is for our organisation, as its concentration of a number of corporate areas in a single location - Barcelona – has allowed us to improve convergence processes, increase efficiency, productivity and flexibility within all group companies in Europe.”
The Shared Service Centre in Barcelona – a sure value in a strategic location
Cruells recalls, “We needed somewhere with important resources and competitive costs to match, coupled with a pool of qualified professionals in finance, logistics and customer care, and not least, with languages, as the SSC covers 29 states, which makes it essential to choose a location accessible to staff from locations as diverse as France, Germany or Israel.” There is no doubt Barcelona more than met the needs of Air Products, and on top of this that it proved to be an outstanding communications hub for them. “The road and overall logistics network is a key factor when companies have to link up with the rest of Europe,” adds Cruells.
Apart from those mentioned above, one of the key points giving Barcelona greater added value as a first choice for the new SSC headquarters was, in the words of the director, “that Catalonia holds a privileged position in technological innovation, which helps us compete efficiently in the knowledge society.”
According to Jordi Cruells, once the ideal local was chosen the planning and set up of the new centre received great support from Invest in Catalonia, providing an added value to the location due to “not only its efficient response, but also its determination to constantly provide value to the operation.” Such services included those of Business Location and Investment Incentives. Indeed, the senior executive of the company assures that, “Invest has contributed the knowledge of an organisation with vast experience in counselling businesses wishing to settle in Catalonia, which has proved very useful to us.”
This goes to explain why Jordi Cruells underlines that, “Catalonia will always be at the heart of our corporate strategy. We’re a firm which has put down strong roots in this part of the world and we aim to continue being a benchmark in our field here a long way into the future.”