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Discussion Questions :
watching Thomas L. Friedman: The World’s Gone from Flat, to Fast, to Deep, (Links to an external site.)please discuss the following:
What should Ferro HR do to “identify, train and develop people with an international outlook”? How can you, as an HR professional, ensure that you have the international outlook, skills, and experience for a global company?
Ferro: The Shift to Becoming a Global Company (US) Ferro Corporation, a US$1.5 billion manufacturer of coatings, plastics, specialty chemicals, and ceramics, has been a successful international enterprise for over 90 years (founded in 1919) and is now becoming a model for being a global company. Several of its foreign operations, particularly those throughout Europe and Latin America, have existed for longer than 85 years, while in the last 20 years or so, important expansion has occurred in Asia, particularly Thailand, Indonesia, China, and now Vietnam. About two-thirds of its 5,200 employees are employed in Ferro ’ s overseas operations in 23 countries, and over 60 percent of its revenues and profits come from sales in over 100 foreign countries. Despite its impressive international record, only in the 1990s did Ferro begin to see itself as a global company. According to David B. Woodbury, vice-president of human resources, “ There was quite a bit of sharing of information and technology among our operations in various countries, but each foreign division or subsidiary operated highly independently, formulating much of its own strategy for manufacturing, marketing, finance, and human resources. ” Since then Ferro has reorganized its corporate structure to focus on products and business lines across international borders. “ Each business thinks there is a strong need for global managers, ” say Woodbury. “ We have to identify, train and develop people with an international outlook, skills, and experience. Like all other facets of the corporation, Human Resources has to evolve into a global operation. ” Source : adapted from Brandt, E. (1991), Global HR, Personnel Journal, March; updated (2010) at www.Ferro.com.