Always looking into the future
When Cenk Ozkan first decided to switch jobs early in his career, he set off on an adventure that saw him joining a global company and travel the world while helping crack deals worth millions. The company, of course, was Wärtsilä, and interestingly enough, some had doubts about Cenk’s choice.
“Back then, Wärtsilä still had a smaller footprint in Turkey and many of my friends were worried that I would be joining a small firm, in spite of its global presence,” he recalls. “I was working for an auditing company then and I had a huge amount of respect for my manager there. It was based on his advice that I decided to join Wärtsilä, and I have had zero regrets.”
The fact that he has spent nearly 20 years working for Wärtsilä is proof of this. Currently, Cenk works in Finland as a Business Controller where he is responsible for overseeing sales-related activities and supporting the sales team. The move, he says, has been an eye-opener.
“After I moved from Wärtsilä Turkey to the global organisation, I felt more comfortable and confident because I started to see the full picture. My colleagues feel the same way about their experiences as well and we have had many discussions on how we can provide solutions to accelerate the company’s business, for both energy and the marine division,” he explains.
When experience and innovation matters
One such solution was to locally abandon fixed prices and instead implement pricing based on running hours for long-term service agreements. A move that ended up giving both Wärtsilä – and its customers – flexibility in terms of cash flow, taxation and planning. As a result, more than 60% of the Wärtsilä installed base were covered by such agreements.
“This solution made us think from different perspectives, and especially from the customers' angle,” says Cenk. “We all need to think about such long-term solutions instead of reacting at the last possible minute.”
This is crucial considering the magnitude of the contracts signed and how it can impact customers’ businesses. Placing the customer first, says Cenk, allows Wärtsilä to offer solutions that are delivering actual value for their business. This, in turn, adds to the goodwill and reputation that Wärtsilä currently enjoys in the industry. Case in point was an episode where Cenk and his team were involved in a service agreement negotiation with a marine customer.
“We were working 13-hour days to ensure that everything was in place. There were times when the customer’s expectations were not realistic. Using my experience and knowledge of such deals, I managed to ensure that the agreement was executed keeping the customers’ best interests at heart,” explains Cenk.
“The customer representatives and my team got together again, and we worked on a new deal. I even escalated the request to our top management to get their approval as the deal was outside our authorised limits, but I knew it would be okay as the deal thoroughly met all of the customer’s needs. As a result, more than a million Euros worth of sales was done as well as order book accruals worth several million additional Euros. "More importantly, we have gained a happy customer who still continues to work with us,” adds Cenk cheerfully.
The key to Wärtsilä’s success
Credit for the success of the deal must also be given to Cenk’s philosophy of not giving up, no matter the circumstances. This makes him focused on coming up with new solutions. When ideating, he also relies on the spirit of teamwork at Wärtsilä to cross potential roadblocks as they appear.
“If I believe in something, I do not give up until I achieve it. However, I’ll be the first to admit that I do not know everything, which is why I am very glad that we have the team-playing spirit at Wärtsilä. This allows us to share ideas and come up with solutions together. I believe that friendship is the most effective bond to bring success. And that, combined with open communication, strengthens job satisfaction,” he says.
It is this attitude that has helped propel Wärtsilä forward. As the company celebrates its 185th anniversary, Cenk credits the boundless curiosity of fellow Wärtsilians along with the company’s engineering legacy for helping make the company more resilient than competitors.
“Because of continuous R&D activities and the fact that we listen to needs of our customers, we are the industry leader, especially when it comes to setting innovation trends,” he adds. “The projections we make are based on facts gleaned from our vast database, and as a result, our customers trust our judgement and expertise.”
Over the next 5 years, Cenk foresees Wärtsilä continuing to push the envelope while keeping potential risks and rewards in mind.
“When we are prepared for alternative futures and keep ourselves ready for change, no matter where it comes from, I am sure we will always be better than we were,” he concludes, with a smile on his face.