R&D personnel are both employee and entrepreneur
This article appeared in Dutch in 'Technisch Weekblad'
Joeri Voets: ‘TMC is one of a kind.’
TMC is the largest company in The Netherlands that seconds its employees at companies like Shell, Unilever and DSM. After the initial start in the hightech region of Eindhoven, the division north of the rivers is now busy creating a distinct profile for itself. Managing director Joeri Voets: ‘In the upcoming years we are going to continue making investments.’
Despite the crisis, TMC, the company that detaches employees at large companies, has kept on growing in the last few years, says Joeri Voets, TMC manager of the west. After a Ph.D. in physics and years of working experience at chip giant NXP, Voets states: ‘Despite the strenuous market conditions we have been growing steadily. This year, the western region has even made a big step when it comes to results: a significant contribution to the whole company by a combination of growth and occupancy.’
TMC is a unique company in The Netherlands. It employs about 650 people who, nearly all, busy themselves with research, development and engineering. The vast majority have completed a technical / science study at university. They make up a new generation of inventors. ‘They develop things that did not exist yet, for companies. This is why our slogan is: “It’s people who drive technology.”. We are a company in the heart of technology, so the ultimate target for our people is realizing or contributing to a breakthrough in technology.’
The people are employed by TMC, but in actual practice they work at companies like Shell, Unilever, DSM and research institute TNO. Still, TMC is not a standard seconder or temp agency. ‘In the old days, temporary workforce used to be hired through temp agencies or project posting, but this is not the way we work.’, says Voets. ‘At TMC, knowledge and expertise can be purchased. In this situation, it is suitable that one employs people oneself, which is what we do.’
Even though the personnel are employed by TMC, they are partly entrepreneurs as well. ‘We call the people who work for us “employeneurs”, thereby underlining each person’s autonomy. We add entrepreneurship to standard employment, for instance by individual profit sharing. Everyone that works for us as an employeneur, knows which turnover they generate at the customer’s and what its gross profit is, of which they receive a 10 to 50 percent: not too bad.’
Its unique vision on employeeship accounts for TMC’s innovative power. It is also the basis of the company’s success. The company can count on a growing interest of customers north of the rivers. For large companies there are many reasons to knock on TMC’s door. ‘In the field of research and development there is no other company that has a focus on that like we have, nor is their company structure based entirely on keeping highly qualified R&D personnel on board. This enables us to provide a fast and flexible catering to our client’s needs and wishes.’, Voets explains.
According to him, real competition is non-existent. ‘I don’t think there is another company like TMC in The Netherlands. Competitors do many more different things than we do, as their scope is wider. We are the specialist in the field of consultancy and engineering within R&D.’ Joeri Voets gives another reason why companies think it essential to use TMC’s services: ‘As soon as one needs expertise for a certain project, whilst the maximum amount of people have already been employed, the project will be delayed. On the current world market, appearing on the market too late is much worse than facing some extra costs.’
‘We are the specialist in the field of R&D within consultancy and engineering.’
In order to prove how effective TMC is, the company had a quantitative model made that shows the advantages for customers when doing business with TMC. ‘We did this because otherwise customers might think that, with us, they only pay extra for expertise. This may be true on a monthly basis, but as soon as a company browses through its project portfolio and considers which expertise is necessary at what particular moment, then it will soon discover that working with us does not make things more expensive. Hiring and firing people themselves will cost them much more.’ TMC is better at managing that risk, according to Voets. ’Just put that risk into TMC’s hands.
We can deal with it, as we also have other customers who are asking for the same expertise. This is how we rotate expertise as effectively and efficiently as possible between our various customers. That is the model out of which we make a living.’ TMC is optimistic about 2015 and further on. Voets does not only see growing potential for the company, but for its customers and employees as well. ‘To me, 2014 has been a year in which we got used to the fact that we live in different economical times than ten years ago, but in which rest and stability have come in too. The continuous decrease has stopped. That stability ensures that we and the companies that surround us, being our customers, start thinking about the future again instead of watching the costs in a panic.’ For the western division in the upcoming years, Voets is going to make focused investments in the operational capacity regarding internal people, and in some other areas too. ‘We do this because we realize that we should look further than 2015. If one wishes to provide service to a certain field of customers in future, then this is an excellent moment to begin.’
TMC seconds highly educated professionals in technical environments. TMC distinguishes itself by providing scarce competences that are necessary for the development of complex products and projects. The focus is on projects that are of utmost importance to our customers. Next to that, TMC contributes to project continuity and flexibility at our customers’ and we are able to provide them with strategic knowledge continuously. TMC works in research, development and engineering for customers in, for instance, hightech, food & beverages, process industry and civil engineering. Like no other, TMC is capable to find the right committed specialists by its so-called Employeneurship Model, that combines employeeship and entrepreneurship in new labour relations. This unique model consists of the following five elements: employment on a permanent basis, individual profit sharing, one-to-one career coaching, specialized business cells and an entrepreneurial lab.
Turnover 2014: 57.5 million euros
Number of employees 2014: 648