Lamina Technologies CIO Reveals How Motivation and a Strong Team Spirit Can Guarantee the Success of Your Product

Sep 06, 2018

nitsan-elmalam-cio-lamina-technologiesLamina Technologies is a Swiss manufacturer of carbide cutting tools, specializing in milling and turning inserts made of state-of-the-art submicron grades with PVD and CVD coatings. Despite being represented in 50 countries and literary scattered worldwide, Lamina Technologies manages to always unite people with their pursuit of excellence and engagement to common goals.

We have interviewed Nitsan Elmalam, the CIO at Lamina Technologies, and asked him about the current state of Swiss tech market, the recruitment practices they implement to hire remote developers as well as his experience of cooperation with Daxx. Additionally, he shared some proven tips and practices that help startup leaders on their way of choosing a perfect outsourcing destination.

Q: Please tell us the history of how Lamina Technologies got started?

Nitsan: Lamina Technologies was founded in 2001 in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Its founders’ vision for the company was to become a global supplier of technologically advanced simple-to-use cutting tools.

Q: What is Lamina Technologies specialization? What product are you working on? What makes Lamina Technologies unique?

Nitsan: Lamina Technologies produces cutting tools made of carbide, for turning and milling machines. The company has distribution channels all over the world. We are the global pioneers of the Multi-Mat™ concept that allows using cutting tools on a multitude of materials. For example, one single insert can machine harder materials such as steel and function just as well as machining stainless steel or exotic materials such as titanium and Inconel. This reduces our customers’ stock of unused cutting tools, increases production flexibility, eliminates the setup time, and improves efficiency.

Q: How big is your team? Where are the team members located? How do you select the country for outsourcing if your team is remote?

Nitsan: We are a team of 6 people in IT. Some of us work in the headquarters in Switzerland, while the others work remotely from Israel and from Daxx office in Kiev. In addition, we work with some local system administration agents in our remote subsidiaries.

When evaluating a country for outsourcing, I will first consider the ability to communicate well with the remote team. This is related to mentality issues and the ability to understand each other well. Then, we will choose a country with a small time difference from the headquarters in Switzerland, so that we can easily meet on a daily basis. And of course, the selection should be cost-effective.

When evaluating a country for outsourcing, I will first consider the ability to communicate well with the remote team. This is related to mentality issues and the ability to understand each other well.

Q: How can you describe the Swiss tech market today? What challenges do Swiss startups face when recruiting developers locally? What technologies are in a high demand?

Nitsan: Switzerland has a highly skilled technological workforce, but the startup scene is not as developed as in other leading digital countries. I think that this is probably due to the high cost of labor and an inappropriate taxation and regulations in this domain.  In the past, the main startups were operating in the life sciences sector. Whereas in the recent years, two major sectors has experienced significant growth: communication technologies (ICT) and Financial Technologies (FinTech). 

Switzerland has a highly skilled technological workforce, but the startup scene is not as developed as in other leading digital countries. Two major sectors has experienced significant growth: communication technologies (ICT) and Financial Technologies (FinTech).

Q: Do you take part in the interview process? Are there any approaches that help you evaluate the competence of the developers? What top 3 skills should every developer you hire possess?

Nitsan: I take a very active part in the interview process. After the initial personal interview, we insist on a few hours exam with pencil and paper in which the candidate needs to solve relatively simple programming-related questions in pseudo code. Although this might be considered as an old-fashioned technique to run exams, we find it as a very efficient method to evaluate if the candidates have a good understanding of the required programming language principles, if they are organized, and if they pay attention to details. This allows us to predict the candidates’ performance in the future. 

lamina-technologies-remote-software-development-team

We insist on a few hours exam with pencil and paper in which the candidate needs to solve relatively simple programming-related questions in pseudo code. Although this might be considered as an old fashioned technique to run exams, we find it as a very efficient method

Q: What kind of goals did Lamina technologies want to achieve by hiring developers with Daxx? Why did you choose Daxx over other providers to hire developers?

Nitsan: The need to hire developers is a result of a few changes that we see in IT in the past few years. First, Lamina Technologies is constantly growing in all aspects, and with this growth comes the need to supply better tools for the operation. These tools include business management tools, analytical tools, automation software, and more. The other driver for growth in development is the market itself (our customers). In the past few years, the world has gone through a digital revolution. We have more opportunities to approach customers, by introducing new digital channels. All these changes required IT to develop more and faster, and cost-wise it was not an option to dynamically recruit in Switzerland. 

In the past few years, the world has gone through a digital revolution...All these changes required IT to develop more and faster, and cost-wise it was not an option to dynamically recruit in Switzerland.

We chose Ukraine and then Daxx as a leading provider, because of the quality of people, the time zone and the mentality – hard working and easy to communicate with. Daxx has a few modern facilities in Ukraine, and working with Daxx has proven to be a success due to the good candidates they provided to us, and the pleasant and effective recruitment process. 

Q: How do you like the communication with HR/client managers at Daxx? What is your general impression of working with Ukrainian developers?

Nitsan: It is always easy to communicate with the Daxx staff. Whenever we place a demand or even just a question, we get a highly professional service. Ukrainian developers are diligent and ambitious. The communication is pleasant and the product results are good.

We chose Ukraine and then Daxx as a leading provider, because of the quality of people, the time zone and the mentality – hard working and easy to communicate with.

Q: You took your remote developers on business trips to Switzerland. Does it help you boost their productivity and efficiency? What values do you promote among your remote developers?

Nitsan: Managing a distributed team is challenging. Even if the communication is good and the work is properly controlled, you need to always maintain a team spirit. After all, the best interpersonal communication is over a cup of coffee or lunch. That’s why, we bring  Daxx developers to Switzerland in order to feel like a united team. Moreover, they can meet other colleagues and participate in real-life events, which increases the team spirit a lot. 

cio-lamina-technologies-nitsan-elmalam

Even if the communication with your remote developers is good and the work is properly controlled, you need to always maintain a team spirit.

Our remote developers know, and hopefully feel, that they are a part of Lamina even if they are more than 2,000 km away from the headquarters. It is clear to us that if they lived in Switzerland they will be our employees, and not just subcontractors. 

Q: What things according to your experience are the most important to keep the efficiency of your remote team at the competitive level?

Nitsan: Motivation of employees in IT (remote and local) is mainly related to the level of contribution they make in their work, and to the quality of life that the job can grant them both in the office and after office hours.

Key Takeaways:

  • When evaluating a country for outsourcing, consider the ability to communicate well with the remote team. This is related to mentality, the ability to understand each other, and the time difference.
  • After the initial personal interview, insist on a few hours test task with pencil and paper in which the candidate needs to solve basic programming-related questions in pseudo code.
  • Even if the communication with your remote developers is good and the work is properly controlled, you need to always maintain a team spirit.
  • Bring the remote team together to make them feel like a united team.

Read also:

Oktopost Co-Founder Talks About Tech Talent in Israel and Tells How Remote Cooperation Adds Flexibility to Businesses

How Agile Helped Favro Build Engagement to Common Goals Among Their Globally Distributed Software Team

How Managerless Operation and Trust in Team Members Help BrandPacks Boost Productivity of Their Globally Dispersed Team

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