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How Henkel’s new global supply chain hub helps foster the company’s culture

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With an international team consisting of 14 nationalities, one of Henkel’s priorities when it unveiled its global supply chain hub in Singapore earlier this year was diversity and inclusion.

“The workspace concept of Henkel’s global supply chain hub in Singapore plays a strategic role in fostering the company’s corporate culture,” Jackie Ngai, head of human resources, Henkel Asia-Pacific, said.

“With an international team consisting of 14 nationalities, we place great value in diversity and inclusion,” Ngai said.

At the same time, Ngai pointed out that an inclusive work culture is also key to positioning Henkel as an employer of choice.

Apart from diversity and inclusion, Ngai said, “In an ever-changing landscape, speed is of essence and a culture of leadership empowers our employees to innovate, manage changes and make decisions.

“Additionally, a global supply chain model is highly complex and requires a new collaborative approach with employees working in cross-functional and cross-divisional teams as the norm.”

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This informal meeting area is a comfortable setting for bonding and sharing ideas.

Jens Schneider, regional head of corporate facility management for Asia-Pacific and India, explained, “Thus, the workspace concept of the global supply chain hub takes into account four considerations.

Firstly, giving employees freedom to decide which location and work mode is right for achieving their tasks. Secondly, providing a choice of workspace modules to support team and individual productivity.

Thirdly, allowing flexibility and physical movement as part of the office daily activity to foster employee vitality; and fourthly, having leaders act as role models of the work culture.”

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This informal meeting area is an open, flexible setting for project discussion.

Schneider said, “The key to productivity is providing a variety of formal and informal spaces and facilities that gives employees the flexibility to choose what is right for achieving their tasks.”

Schneider added that the Singapore hub implements an open office concept with flexible seating arrangements to encourage greater communication within the department and with colleagues from other departments.

“This is complemented by a wide variety of formal rooms and informal spaces to cater to different needs and levels of collaboration and work privacy. Additionally, employees are the pulse of the corporate culture and they have a role to play in ensuring a clean, pleasant and sustainable office environment.”

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This informal meeting area is a setting where employees have the option to stand or sit. Employees can also brainstorm their ideas on the writeable wall.

In total, the hub has three video conference rooms, two focus rooms, two phone booths, two shared offices and three informal collaboration areas.

Throughout the office, all chairs and stools come with ergonomic features to promote good posture and spine health.

Employees are also encouraged to adopt considerate behaviors, like cleaning up the desk and room when leaving, keeping ringtone and voice at moderate level, and making rooms available to others when not in active use.

One of Henkel’s five core values and a top priority for the Singapore hub is sustainability and all its employees are certified sustainability ambassadors.

“A daily Earth Hour is implemented whereby lights are switched off during lunch hour. Centralised waste bins are used and this is expected to eliminate the use of more than 13,000 plastic bags a year. Reusing furniture from Henkel’s office in Shanghai has resulted in more than 16 tons of carbon savings. Also, the office carpet is made from recyclable materials,” Schneider explained.

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There are three bookable video conference rooms for formal group meetings and video conferences.

A piece of advice Ngai has for those looking to redesign their offices is –  “the company’s vision, values and culture are important considerations”.

Ngai explained, “The office environment sets the tone for how employees go about their work, how they interact with each other, and what behaviors are acceptable. For Henkel, whose vision is to be the global leader in brands and technologies, our goal is to design a dynamic and collaborative workplace concept where employees are inspired to reach their full potential and are proud to be associated with.”

Photo / Henkel

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