Interview with Henning Weber, A&R Sri Lanka
A&R Insights Interview with Henning Weber, A&R Sri Lanka
Henning Weber, Managing Director A&R Manufacturing (PVT) Ltd. Sri Lanka, has lived with his family in Sri Lanka since 2014. He tells us about his experiences:
Mr. Weber, you are the managing director of A&R Manufacturing Ltd. Sri Lanka. What are your greatest day-to-day challenges locally?
Henning Weber: I would call it “intercultural management”. On the one hand this means communicating the ideas of our company and customers with their European influence, but on the other also using the synergies which arise from the local values and cultural characteristics.
What do you value in your employees in Sri Lanka?
Henning Weber: Above all their spontaneity and flexibility. With regard to attitudes to work, the same applies to our Sri Lankan colleagues as to anyone anywhere in the world: if you treat your colleagues with respect and appreciation, if you take their ideas and suggestions seriously, then they will be highly motivated to achieve the objectives which you have defined together.
Does the local network of infrastructure and suppliers meet your requrements?
Henning Weber: The infrastructure is entirely sufficient for our requirements. Our local network of suppliers is small, but functions very well. We source the majority of the technically sophisticated raw materials which we process as import products from Europe and China. We are able to make use here of our A&R supplier portfolio which we have developed over the decades.
How long does it take to transport the goods to Germany?
Henning Weber: The transport time by sea varies from five to six weeks, depending on the route. By air, it takes approximately seven to ten days.
Do the social and political circumstances directly affect your day-to-day operations?
Henning Weber: I am pleased to answer this question with “no”. Since our foundation, our company have neither been affect by strikes, nor have there been any losses of production arising from issues with taxes and duties, or refusals or delays for licensing due to the authorities. This must be credited to our business compliance. Alongside A&R’s internal code, it is not possible to guarantee smooth operation anywhere in the world without adhering to the local statutory conditions and guidelines.
Where do you see the need for action in the next few years?
Henning Weber: Above all, we need to see more stimuli to open up career paths for young Sri Lankans outside government administration. Private businesses miss out on well-qualified personnel. That’s because tradition and the interests of the family often take precedence over the decisions of the individual. With this background, it is sometimes difficult for me to maintain our mostly young workforce’s belief in the possibility of fulfilling their potential in their careers.
You have been living with your family in Sri Lanka since 2014. Have you been able to get to know the land and the people more intimately?
Henning Weber: When you live and work in a place, you automatically get to know the country and the people more intimately. I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of the colleagues and friends who give me new insights every day into the Sri Lankan way of life.
How would you describe the country?
Henning Weber: No travel guide could summarise it better: fabulous beaches, varied animal life, tea plantations, cultural sites, friendly people!
What are your hopes for the future?
Henning Weber: That Sri Lanka will continue on the liberal path which has been forged over the last few years.