Handling the Brain-Drain – the Denca way

Shifting Roles

It’s not just Denca’s customers that face the issues presented by the loss of in-house technical capability and competencies. Consequently, Denca itself has to address and respond to the very same challenges.

In some ways, the reduction in the availability of specialist technical skills across manufacturing and process companies has increased the impact on technical service organisations such as Denca Controls. In recent years, we have seen our role at many customers change.

Our projects used to be mainly client-led. As a result, we were typically supplied with a detailed scope document. This set out clear information and instructions as to precisely how the client wants the project to run. Importantly, also the expectations regarding the expected outcomes. Over the past few years, Denca has increasingly found we are actively involved in supporting our customer to define the scope. We both look at the range of what they want to achieve and also how to put these objectives into a coherent and practical working document.

Demand for Technical Capability

These shifting roles mean the availability of high-quality technical, skilled and experienced engineers becomes even more critical for Denca. Furthermore, our continuing success compounds this position! Denca is growing and there is a strong need to employ more engineers and project managers.

Increasingly, Denca engineers and Project Managers must be flexible and able to seamlessly adapt to working with different customers, on different sites and with different rules & regulations. Above all, they must also be comfortable with switching between industry sectors delivering competent quality standards in all that they do. Diplomacy in supporting clients to an acceptable and satisfying solution is another valuable skill!

Beyond Technical Capability

In practice, the competency required of our engineers goes beyond technical ability. The Denca philosophy can be set out in 3 words that encompass the Denca Way:

Approachable – Responsive – Imaginative

Our staff engage with and deliver on this philosophy. As a result, every member of our team is extremely valuable to the company. Starting with initial recruitment, we need to deliver the working environment that meets their needs and keeps them satisfied and committed.

The managers at Denca understand this very well. Hence, they go to great lengths to provide a good working environment with plenty of opportunities for varied and interesting work. We are always keen for employees to develop their careers. Our growth means there are regular opportunities for engineers to take on additional responsibility and authority in line with their growing experience. Above all. this approach continues to be central to our philosophy as we’ve grown in size in recent years; now employing 100 plus staff.

Growing our own

The Denca Apprenticeship and Post Graduate training programmes are key to our future. It’s not just for altruistic reasons that we have developed and implemented our own courses. There’s a hard-headed business reason behind the decision to consistently and continuously invest in providing ongoing training for the young engineers of the future. A flow of well trained, appropriately experienced talent is essential to our ongoing success.

The same criteria apply to our trainees as to the experienced people we employ. They need to have the right qualities to succeed and work to the Denca way. Over 10% of our staff are on in-house training programmes. As engineers reach (and go beyond!) retirement age, there is just not enough suitable talent to simply go out and hire to meet our needs.

As a result, Denca is a wonderful mix of the generations. It is vibrant, hardworking and supportive, yet tremendously good fun.

Balancing People with Technology

Industry 4.0 is set to have a significant impact in our field. Integrated data systems offer huge opportunity for increased efficiencies and cost reduction. Therefore, our customers are increasingly looking to invest in these areas for their own businesses. Things are no different at Denca. We are making significant investments in our own systems to improve operational efficiency. These are enabling staff to carry out their tasks while also delivering the necessary information for effective administration of the business.

Denca is developing and applying our own custom ERP system. With most proprietary ERP systems, such as SAP, the user must adapt its operations to meet the parameters of the ERP system.  Denca’s is to take our established and proven processes and develop our system to deliver to our specific needs. Additionally, we log and integrate all the information needed to run the company operationally, financially and legally.

The system is proving immensely valuable in helping us to our primary goal: better and more efficient service to our customers. Want to know more? Contact us

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