Empty Slavonia? Not quite. One ultra-modern company based in Vukovar-Srijem County is a very good friend of some of the top German car producers…
At a time when newspapers and portals are filled to the brim with uninspiring stories about villages and towns of Vukovar-Srijem County slowly emptying every day, in Gradište, a place close to Županja, one of the most modern companies in Croatia in terms of business organisation and work process is doing exceptionally well.
As Poslovni Dnevnik/Branimir Bradaric/VL writes on the 29th of April, 2018, Multinorm deals with the design and construction of parts used in the production of cars. For almost twenty years now, Multinorm has been doing business with numerous European automotive giants, including massive German car companies such as Audi, BMW and Volkswagen.
Incredibly, nearly 99 percent of their products end up on overseas markets, which acts as hard evidence that Croatian companies, especially those from more overlooked regions, can be perfectly competitive on big global markets. Multinorm’s director, Igor Begović, says that the company operates in a way that customers come to them with their demands and ideas, and then employees in numerous project offices and plants bring that idea to its eventual finished product.
Today, the products made by Slavonia’s residents are an indispensable part of the story for German car companies, exporting them across the entire world. “It’s a huge responsibility, because the product must first and foremost be of quality and functional, and timeframes must also be taken into account. Over the years, Multinorm has built up a certain image of itself in Europe, so we’re known about from quite a distance and our quality is known, there can’t be one without the other,” Begović says.
He also adds that co-operation with automotive companies involves a high level of complexity, but it’s also impossible to fulfill absolutely everything that customers want and expect from them. And those from month to month show how it can be done. Speaking of co-operation, Begović says that it is extremely important to adapt technology, but that it’s also necessary to adapt to the business commitments of precisely those who’re looking for, and then paying for the product.
“When it comes to dealing with customers from abroad, there are only ever talks about the price because the delivery times and the highest possible quality of the product are naturally implied. With us it’s still a little different, but we’ll be able to adjust to it very quickly. In other words, to be successful in dealing with companies which operate globally and place their cars on numerous markets, one must work and think in the same or similar way, no matter how good or not that is for us,” explains Begović.
Even the appearance of the new building in Gradište tells us immediately that this is a modern and quality company that records excellent business results. Walking through the offices with the employees, as well as the look of the project office itself adds to that impression, while the full picture gives a look at the drive itself, with modern machines. For example, the two recently purchased machines cost 760,000 euro, one of which cost half a million euro, and is the most modern machine of its type currently available on the entire market.
All this is done in a space where everything is known, exactly who does what is known, and just who is responsible for what is known. The new Multinorm facility in Gradište has seen a considerable investment of about 40 million kuna, of which a large part is co-financed by welcome funds from the European Union. When talking about business and adaptation experiences, Begović says that the biggest obstacle to everything was having local people learn to think in a ”German way” in regard to business. In order to acheive something like that, employees are earning good wages, well above the average in Vukovar-Srijem County, as well as various other labour rights, such as Christmas and Easter breaks, as well as paid overtime, and more.
Additionally, the company’s workers went through education and training that enabled them to perform their jobs excellently. In turn, absolute commitment to work and maximum engagement during working hours was expected.
“We’ve decided, through training within the company, to specialise people for a particular type of business and associate them with certain operations, so they’re much quicker to learn how to do their work to a quality level, and if they end up leaving the firm for some reason or another, they can be replaced relatively quickly. It’s been proven that this is a good way of functioning for both us and for our employees,” Begović reveals.
In the meantime, a way to secure the workers was needed, so practical classes for high school students were organised in agreement with the local schools in both Županija and Vinkovci. Students got acquainted with the company’s business and way of doing things, they also learned how to work and establish good work ethic. By the end of their education, they are largely prepared and trained to start working at Mulitinorm thanks to this hands on, practical approach. Begović also states how the company plans to continue expanding. The plan is to build another plant, engage in horticultural landscaping, and even set up solar panels on the roof of the building, which is approximately 4,800 square metres. By doing that, the company would be independent when it comes to electricity, not to mention careful when it comes to the environment.
“We’re planning to continue to expand and modernise the company in the future, and it can only prosper and be competitive on the European market, and today, we can boast about modern technology, in respect to both machines and to IT equipment. In addition, it’s important that the workers are satisfied with the terms of their work and their salaries, and they say they’re very satisfied indeed,” says Ilija Vucić of Multinorm.
Among the workers is Marko Vrgoč who is working on the control of the finished products that are being delivered, he just returned to Multinorm from Germany where he worked and lived for years. He says he is extremely satisfied with the conditions of his work which aren’t far behind the conditions in Germany where worked for nine years.
“I’m not thinking about going to Germany or anywhere else, simply because I’ve got no reason to do that. It’s better for me here than there. I’m at home, with my family, my friends, and the working conditions are great with it. The pay is more than good and that’s very important. Honestly, I’m better off here than in Germany,” concluded Vrgoč.