Sandro Tavares, IT Manager at Midea Carrier, shares his perspective on management, business operations, and digital transformation in times of crisis.
Avenue Code: Tell us how you became the IT Manager at Midea Carrier.
Sandro Tavares: I had a long and interesting career in IT before joining Midea Carrier. I started my journey studying Computer Science and working as an intern at Eletrosul. As soon as I graduated, I was invited to work at Portobello, where I grew from Junior Analyst to CIO.
After this, I decided to apply for a master’s degree in logistics while working as a market consultant at Bunge. My responsibilities included redesigning processes and managing projects related to the logistics integration of Bunge in Brazil, as well as coordinating Bunge’s IT infrastructure projects. I then became IT Manager at Karsten, where I reviewed IT governance and guided the ERP selection process.
In April 2009, I was invited to manage IT for Tigre Group, which had 5 companies in Brazil and 9 companies in Latin America and the USA. This was without a doubt my biggest challenge, as I had the opportunity to restructure the strategic IT plan and also direct our SAP solution implementation. This took 2 years and a team of more than 300 people, including employees and consultants, and it resulted in a new level of IT sophistication and management control.
At the end of 2014, I was invited to take on another new challenge, this time at Midea Carrier. My focus here has been leveraging the Midea Carrier business model that was already very successful in China and replicating it in Brazil and throughout Latin America. And so begins my great adventure at Midea Carrier!
AC: Technology develops constantly. What are the biggest challenges in orchestrating a development team, and how do you achieve positive results?
ST: One of the biggest challenges is to be prepared to face the most adverse scenarios. Throughout my career, I have experienced many circumstances. I have worked in companies focused on investments and technology that generated positive financial growth, allowing us to focus on innovation and automation; but I have also seen periods of financial instability where companies had to rethink their entire strategy and adjust their budget to the reality of the moment. In this case, the focus was on maintaining operations and supporting the business.
Strategy changes like these affect a team's motivation significantly. Being part of an IT area and not seeing innovation projects can be demotivating. One piece of advice that I always give is that it’s important to tell the team where the company is. A well-informed team may be upset about a situation, but they will never be negatively surprised.
Another major challenge is ensuring that a team is constantly updating their technological expertise in addition to gaining closer knowledge of business goals. An important strategy is to actively stay in contact with the entire team through tools like one-on-one meetings.
AC: Can you tell us more about how Midea Carrier views sustainability?
ST: Midea Carrier believes that there is no real development without a commitment to the environment. For this reason, we have a pioneering strategy in the adoption of policies and actions to reduce damage and preserve natural resources like water and energy.
In 2010, Midea was ranked one of the top 100 green companies in China, while Carrier was one of the first companies in the world to set targets for reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Between 2006 and 2010, factories reduced water use by 30%, and they also reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The joint venture of Midea Carrier maintains the same principles that Midea and Carrier hold individually.
AC: We saw an article in which Midea Carrier donated air conditioning to the COVID-19 combat center. Can you tell us about how you see the pandemic affecting your sector?
ST: Solidarity has always been important in the world we live in, and it is even more important at a time like this. On the one hand, we have an economic impact on the market, but we cannot forget the social impact. There was a time when 100% of our team was working remotely, but now we are gradually returning, following safety policies.
Regarding the donation, I reiterate the words of Midea Carrier's Marketing Director, Simone Camargo: “Midea Carrier is committed to collaborating to fight the disease in Brazil. With this donation, we hope to contribute to the rapid recovery of patients, mainly for the control of temperature and humidity, helping to ensure the comfort of the medical team and hospitalized people, in addition to minimizing the proliferation of infections.”
AC: How do you see the future of business after the pandemic? Will processes remain the same?
ST: I am absolutely sure that processes will change. This was not the first crisis, and it will not be the last. The difference is that the crisis brought on by the pandemic came as an avalanche, at a very high speed. It will not be easy for the world to return to normal. This will have a big impact on how people get back to work. Another point that will change is the face-to-face component of business: the world will get used to virtual meetings and events. Since we see that this new dynamic works very well, it will be difficult to return to the old model.
Much is said about the "new normal," and I believe that we will have positive takeaways from this moment that will be used for future improvements.
AC: How has Midea Carrier faced the challenge of digital and Agile transformation? Is that part of the company's culture?
ST: Midea Carrier has invested considerably in digital transformation, understanding that it adds value to our products and services. Projects like analytics, IoT, artificial intelligence, and others are on our radar and are already generating good results for the business. Our emphasis on product innovation is apparent in several models available in the market. In the production process, we are focused on implementing concepts from Industry 4.0. We expect to invest even more in digital transformation in conjunction with Carrier and Midea, which have considerable investments in the USA and China.
AC: What is the culture of Midea Carrier in relation to partnerships?
ST: We have a very strong model of partnerships and outsourcing. Various logistics, commercial, IT, and other operations are carried out by partners. We understand that the company needs to focus on core business and outsource other operations to reduce costs and improve services. In the IT area, we have a considerable outsourcing model, where services such as our datacenter, service desk, telecom management, developments, user support, and more are carried out by partner companies, with excellent results.
AC: Could you tell us something you did that you are very proud of?
ST: I am very proud of everything I have built in my career, as I have always acted with motivation and with pleasure in doing a good job. I believe that I have left a great legacy in every company where I had the opportunity to work. The feeling of leaving the places where I worked with my head held high and knowing that I did my best is formidable. This is my biggest motivation: making my mark, making a difference, and being remembered.
AC: Thank you for your time today, Sandro! It’s a pleasure to hear about your career journey and your work at Midea Carrier.
Andressa Lopes is the Inside Sales Lead at Avenue Code. She loves to talk to people and create new possibilities. She is also crazy about plants and piano.