Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift Europe B.V.

“The Netherlands is an attractive, multi-cultural country with a high degree of tolerance. That enables outsiders to integrate quickly, and most Dutch people speak English. We have over forty nationalities working here: Dutch natives and expats. Residence and work permits are generally obtained within six months. Besides, employers receive a thirty percent tax rebate on the income tax of highly skilled migrants.

The strength of Flevoland and Almere lies in the fact that it is a new area with many young businesses; that generates dynamism. The lack of history presents opportunities. There is enough physical space to grow and that within half an hour of Amsterdam and Amstelveen with its Japanese community, shops and schools. That makes Almere an attractive location for development, strongly supported by the authorities and trade organisations. For example, MCFE is sponsoring a local business community project aimed at strengthening links between the labour market and the education system in Flevoland.”

Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift Europe B.V. or MCFE was founded in 1992 when Mitsubishi Heavy Industries LTD and Caterpillar Inc. concluded a joint venture. Mitsubishi constitutes eighty percent of MCFE and Caterpillar the remainder. The head office is in Almere, where approximately 14,000 forklift trucks are produced annually, in all shapes and sizes. The European sales and marketing function is directed from Almere. In 2007, in excess of 20,000 forklift trucks were sold to European countries, as well as to Africa and the Middle East.

MCFE employs over six hundred workers from all parts of the world. Verhagen: “The Netherlands is an attractive, multicultural country with a high degree of tolerance and international orientation. That enables outsiders to integrate quickly, and most Dutch people speak English. Almere’s cultural diversity gives it its own identity, which is a unique selling point. We see that reflected in our company. We have over forty nationalities working here: Dutch natives and expats. Residence and work permits are generally obtained within six months. Besides, employers receive a thirty percent tax rebate on the income tax of highly skilled migrants.”

According to Verhagen, the strength of Flevoland and Almere is “that it is a new area with many young businesses; that generates dynamism. The lack of history presents opportunities: you have the chance to optimally design the area from scratch. There is physical space to grow here, which is exactly what we‘ve done: first at the MCFE location and later at the back here too with Misubishi Engines Europe. And that within half an hour of Schiphol, Amsterdam and Amstelveen with its Japanese community, shops and schools. The further development of Lelystad Airport within a quarter of an hour of Almere is also a great opportunity for this region, as are the other rail and road extensions.”

That makes Almere an attractive location for development, strongly supported by the authorities and trade organisations. “MCFE is sponsoring the Almere local business community’s ‘Over de Brug’ project aimed at strengthening links between the labour market and the education system in Flevoland. Our processes are automated and that requires specific training. We have our own industrial training school. Almere’s central location means we can recruit staff from across the Netherlands. We have adjusted our travel and relocation allowances accordingly.”

Verhagen is upbeat about the future. “We want to be among the top three in Europe and to further professionalise in line with our mission in which client and quality are central. MCFE has an excellent spot in Almere. The Japanese generally enjoy life here. I have noticed though that the Dutch workplace mentality requires acclimatisation to Japanese management. They perceive the Dutch as open, but relatively headstrong. The Dutch reach decisions on the basis of argument, they do not shy away from discussion; hierarchy means less here than it does in Japan. However, once they support a decision, the Dutch fully support it. Furthermore, social security provision is good in the Netherlands: employers are entitled to annual leave, early retirement and parental leave. That makes for a good quality of life, but takes some getting used to for overseas management. And of course we still have far too few sushi bars here…”

Visit: www.mcfe.com

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