“There is no alternative to nearshoring”

André Wehner, CIO of MAN Truck & Bus SE

MAN Truck & Bus SE, although part of the Volkswagen Group, has actually been based in Munich for decades, where trucks from the TGS and TGX series in the 18 to 44 tonne weight class, among others, are manufactured. The company is present on almost all continents. MAN’s IT is also internationally positioned – among other things through a nearshoring model in Portugal.

There are good reasons for nearshoring in the southern European country, especially since Portugal has developed into a top location for outsourced IT in the past six years: Portuguese universities are internationally recognised for the high quality of teaching and research, especially in the field of engineering. Portugal belongs to the European top league in terms of English language skills – even ahead of Romania or the Czech Republic.

Portugal also offers a high-quality ICT infrastructure, especially for nearshoring IT concepts. According to the World Economic Forum WEF’s Global Competitiveness Report 2020, Portugal ranks 23rd out of 141 countries in terms of infrastructure quality and 6th in terms of infrastructure improvement for ICT as well. And in the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index Report 2020, the country was praised for its ultra-fast broadband connections, where the country ranks just behind Sweden in second place.

Portugal is also a popular destination for expats because of its comparatively low cost of living – the weather and good food do the rest. Since 30 October 2022, Portugal has been offering digital nomads from all over the world a one-year visa. This makes it very easy for IT professionals from outside Europe to come to Portugal and work here.

More efficiency in prices and quality

The low costs are also reflected in the efficient price structure from the companies’ point of view: the average annual salary for a software developer is significantly lower than in Germany and other European countries. Efficiency as the sum of low costs and high quality – that is what Portugal offers.

Afonso Eça, professor of finance at the Nova SBE business school in Lisbon, recently said: “We have an attractive tax system with a flat rate of only 20 per cent for freelancers. We have more and more successful start-ups setting up their software development centres here. And we still have relatively low labour costs – at least compared to other major European cities.”

“It’s quite clear,” confirms André Wehner, CIO at MAN Truck & Bus in Munich, “that we initially set up our IT locations in Lisbon primarily for cost reasons. But that is not the only reason: with our nearshoring in Portugal, we are also going where we can find the skills and resources that are not readily available to us in Germany, but which we urgently need for our further development.” At MAN, this applies not only to Portugal, but also to other locations in Ankara/Turkey, Krakow/Poland and Pune/India.

André Wehner has been since June 2021 CIO of MAN Truck & Bus SE, one the leading European commercial vehicle manufacturers and provider of transport solutions. His main focus is to support MAN’s transformation towards autonomous driving, electrification and digitalisation.

Previous to MAN, Wehner worked over eight years as the CIO, CDO and Head of Company Development for Skoda. Prior to these roles he was responsible for Group HR IT of VOLKSWAGEN in Wolfsburg and as the Head of IT Support Processes for Audi.

Wehner started his career with various management positions within the telecommunication industry, including Alcatel, Kabel Deutschland and E-Plus.