Entrevista a José Ángel Alberdi en El Diario Vasco

Interview with José Ángel Alberdi in “El Diario Vasco”

Here is a replica of the interview with José Ángel Alberdi on May 27 in the Economics section of the newspaper El Diario Vasco.

“We must recognize the work of all those companies, especially SMEs, which innovate daily, because without them we would not be now, either as a country or as a society, at the levels at which we find ourselves.” José Ángel Alberdi is aware that we are immersed in the so-called fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0. As CEO of HRE Hidraulic, he highlights the importance of carrying out R&D&I policies, something that the Elgoibar company is very aware of.

– How do you innovate at HRE?

– It is one of our critical factors and one of our pillars. For this reason, we are always immersed in innovation projects, both at the product / technology level, as well as at the organizational and management level. This company and country commitment leads us to invest around 3% of our resources in R&D&I every year. We see innovation in a transversal way, and that it not only serves to create new applications and products. We hope that the synergies will positively affect the other departments of the company. Companies are innovating since we are born, because if we do not die.

– What makes this company different?

– From the very beginning, we have understood that quality, constant innovation, and solutions with a high technological content must be our hallmark. To this end, we have a wide and comprehensive range of products that provide our clients with global solutions. We also have an Engineering Department with a team that has a high level of technical expertise, equipped with the best and most up-to-date tools to offer individualised solutions to all our clients. Another important thing that makes us different is our intelligent warehouse management, which lets us optimise our stocks as much as possible.

– Why did you decide to offer a training service?

– We consider it our duty to return and offer society the knowledge we have acquired and developed in our industrial division. It is a synergistic unit with the industrial division because it lets us apply the knowledge we have gained in real industry. In the late 70s and early 80s, there was little quality formal training in this technology, which had a great future and was essential for progress. So we decided to collaborate on training people.

– What is the company’s added value?

– We are one of the oldest companies in the sector, and this means we can offer our clients the experience gained over the years. We are continually evolving, moving at the speed of the market, and anticipating client needs. We are always on the lookout for opportunities through innovation and by developing a solid network of strategic partnerships.

– What should be necessary for a company?

– There is a phrase that stuck with me in my youth. It isn’t mine, but I take it on board, and I think it perfectly reflects part of our strategy: ‘They will be what we are because we are what they were’. We have tried to maintain this philosophy: value everything that many people have done and, with hard work and effort in the past, to learn from our mistakes and seek excellence in the future.

– How should the client be treated?

– One of our most significant challenges and where we have the greatest impact is in building trust by improving our quality in product, service, and management, as well as continuous improvement and business excellence. Our life experience and the current changing environment lead us to offer our clients collaboration beyond their everyday needs. We seek loyalty to achieve the commitment and support that a future that is already here will require of us.

– What would you highlight about the team at this company?

– We are an SME made up of people. That is the most important thing to say. Our employees are the company’s most important asset. We have people with a lot of experience and young people eager to train and evolve in the organisation. I appreciate the team’s commitment, flexibility and versatility and the fact that they understand change and progress as a tool for development.

– Tell us about your career

– After finishing my education, I worked in different technical departments in different positions and at various levels of responsibility until I joined the board of directors and management.

– What qualities should a manager have?

– The greatest virtue of a manager is to lead by example, empathise, be genuine, and be guided by a solid foundation of principles and values. They need to be visionary and entrepreneurial to go out and look for opportunities for the growth, development, and evolution of the organisation. It is also essential to know how to organise and coordinate resources. And to be a team builder, a person who others trust. They should love their work, as they need to be very persevering and have confidence in themselves and their collaborators. And they need to know how to surround themselves with the right people and be humble enough to know that they are the first and the last in the company. By this, I mean that they should be a reference for everyone in the company in terms of the values we have decided on.

– What are the functions of a leader?

– There are many types of leaders. Some are born, and others are made. A manager should set the course to be followed, have a global, forward-looking, and sustainable plan for the organisation. Another of their functions is to guide the team towards achieving the objectives. They need to be constant and stable. The rest of the team should feel that they have a leader.

– What should the relationship between the manager and the workers be like?

– Natural. Roles should be clear so that everyone is aware of their functions. It should be understood that everyone’s contribution is essential, leading to achieving the overall objectives. It is also vital that there is authority and that leadership is clear. We have been promoting a transformation in labour relations based on internal communication, transparency, and participation for years. The aim is to achieve a shared plan based on mutual trust, adapted to a new era, and to improve our company’s competitiveness and sustainability.

Source: El Diario Vasco
Interview and photo by Ion Fernández