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BASF Canada encourages collaboration across different backgrounds, global teams and departments to increase digitalization efforts.Provided

Ashwin Arakkal Koottapanakkal joined BASF Canada Inc. at its GTA headquarters in 2021 as part of the company’s strategy to drive digitalization and innovation and strengthen BASF’s competitiveness in the industry. AK, as the DevOps engineer in transportation management is known, came for the cutting-edge and challenging work, using data and computing power to optimize BASF’s digital transformation.

“In transportation, we address questions like, how we can track shipments in real time, how we can optimize multiple loads so they can be transported together in the same shipment, what planning tools we can utilize, and where we can generate additional revenue for the business,” says AK. “Delivering quality solutions to the business is our top priority.”

They’re also working on new ways of achieving those solutions. “Working with teams from across the globe was an altogether new experience for me,” AK says, referring to his close collaboration with transportation teams throughout the 163-year-old chemical giant.

“I’d say that this has increased my productivity immensely,” he continues. “I start my work early in the morning to catch up with the global teams, and I get a lot done by noon, which also gives me more time with my family in the evening. We work with a lot of flexibility, moving into temporary, agile teams with the other hubs as the situation warrants. And being part of this just broadens your knowledge and perspective, letting you know what is happening in the other regions.”

There’s a similar benefit to working within BASF Canada’s GTA team, he says, “where we have people from 10 to 15 countries with their different perspectives and experience.”

Ensuring diversity in the workforce has been one of the key factors in making BASF Canada a driving force for digitalization, says Beatriz Gaytán Diaz, digital services manager. A 29-year company veteran who came from Mexico to BASF Canada in 2022, she lists the GTA’s advantages: “A hot spot for diverse tech talent, world-class universities, immigration policies for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) professionals – they’re all part of why Toronto is one of BASF’s new venues for collaboration,” says Gaytán Diaz.

“BASF Canada is fostering those venues, to jointly research, analyze and develop innovative solutions to pressing real-world challenges,” Gaytán Diaz says. Digitalization is one of BASF’s strategic pillars, and its business units are very focused on their digital transformation road maps – to better link the business units with IT and address customer needs.

As well, it’s focused “on continuing our journey to an inclusive culture at BASF,” adds Gaytán Diaz. “With talent coming from different cultures, we encourage them, via the employee resource groups, to link with employees of similar backgrounds and interests, to network within BASF.”

Along with solid benefits, including the $500 subsidy every five years for buying home-office furniture – because, AK says appreciatively, BASF “really cares about employees maintaining health and productivity at home” – the networking encouragement is part of the larger “footprint” BASF Canada wants to create, Gaytán Diaz says.

“We are currently working hard to position BASF as a brand in the marketplace to attract more tech talent. Talent is crucial for us, because we have to provide the right tools to smoothly transition BASF to a digital future.”

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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