As Poslovni writes, the Praktik brand has become an almost indispensable part of the product range, distributed in the most important construction centers and specialised stores throughout Croatia.
Likos is a family company created in the early 1990s when Ivica and Dragica Kovačević decided to replace relatively safe managerial positions with a private business, admitting that they had no strategy for what would happen to their company in 10 or 30 years.
“We knew we had to do something when we saw that almost all large systems had started to fall apart, so we registered a company for various activities and started with one fax machine, a desk, and an electric typewriter,” recalls Ivica Kovačević.
One of the critical years in the development was 2001, when their son Nino joined the company operationally and when they moved towards more complex products and market models.
With existing and new partners from Germany, Belgium, and Italy, they started distributing electric and hand tools such as drills, grinders, screwdrivers, wrenches, etc. They did all this from a rented business and storage space. “By persistently working on the market, we expanded the sales network and achieved steady and sustainable sales growth. We built a business facility of 2500 square meters on the previously purchased plot and moved into it in 2003. We used about 1,500 square metres for storage and rented the rest as office space. The most important strategic decision in our business was building and developing our own brand. It was clear the position of distributors of foreign products would come into question in the common European market, which Croatia was preparing to enter. We have decided that, like our previous suppliers, we will go to China and organise production with the producers there designed by our employees from the selection of assortment, product design, packaging and product quality control”, says Kovačević.
The project proved successful, and they have built a serious Praktik brand that includes four product groups: Electric tools, Garden machines and tools, Hand tools and accessories for electric tools, and the Water Program (pumps, water pumps, etc.)
In the last few years, they have been rapidly developing the battery-powered tool program under the Flexpower brand. Their product range is present in almost all retail stores and retail chains in Croatia that sell technical goods.
Success at the fair
Likos has a revenue of around HRK 50 million and 24 employees. Exports account for about 10 percent of the total turnover in the regional market, mainly to Slovenia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Due to the limited possibility of growth in the small Croatian market, they decided to take a more decisive step into export.
On this track, at the end of September of this year, the company presented at one of the world’s largest specialised trade fairs for electrical devices and tools, “International Hardware Fair 2022” in Cologne, Germany.
They point out that, according to the first impressions, it was successful and that more than 150 contacts for potential cooperation were made, several of which have already been realised (Montenegro, Hungary), while contacts and discussions with several new clients from Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Kosovo, Greece, Lithuania, Germany, Tunisia, Jordan, and other countries are in the process.
“In our business policy, our goal in the next three to four years is to increase exports to approximately 25 percent of the total turnover, that is, to at least two million euros.
Given that we now work partly in our own warehouse space and partly in rented space at another location, and with the aim of increasing the efficiency and expediency of deliveries, we have purchased 15,000 square meters of construction land in the industrial zone of Donja Bistra. We plan to build a new logistics center with part of an automated warehouse system based on vertical storage.
We are in the design phase of the aforementioned warehouse and plan to complete the investment in 2024,” concludes this entrepreneur from Zagreb.
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