We took a look in the life of Mr. Andrej Baškovič, CEO of the company Trèves.
Please tell us about your company.
Trèves, doo is a part of French International group Trèves with 23 plants in 17 countries and 4500 employees worldwide. The beginning of Trèves s family business dates back to the year 1836. Trèves family has retained a majority stake in the company until now. We are Tier one automotive supplier, specialized in acoustic and thermal comfort of the cars.
Trèves, doo was born in Slovenia as a greenfield investment to produce and supply acoustic components for Renault Twingo in June 2005. Our facility is placed along the motorway, halfway between Ljubljana and Novo mesto.
We are supplying our parts for Renault Twingo and Smart Forfour to Revoz, for Jaguar E-Pace and Jaguar I-Pace to Magna and engine cover parts to Fiat in Sevel Sud – Italy.
Treves company is writing a very successful story. How do you take care of your company every day?
We are fortunate to have the opportunity to grow with a new, premium brand customer. But it wasn’t always like that. There are always ups and downs; as in life, as in business. In 2012, and especially in 2013, we faced a drastic drop in sales. Can you imagine that we sold as much as we sell now in two months throughout the whole year 2013?
I am grateful to the owner for trusting me and the team that we will, despite poor sales forecasts, with intelligent cost control policy, maintain the stability of our business and prepare the company for new challenges. I am proud that we managed to do that, we doubled the sales and managed to deliver high quality results already next year, in 2014.
You are right, managing ups and downs really do require daily control of the activities in the company. We have clearly defined meeting schedule; daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly meetings are planned in advance… first daily meeting starts at 8:30, I meet my team every day at 9:15. Every day, without the exception! When I am absent, a member of the management team, with an advance agreement, leads the meeting.
At first glance, such relationships in the company seem to be very limiting for colleagues, but we strive to make the meetings short and effective. Once this type of information transfer is systematically used in the company, it is found to be effective and that less time is spent on transmitting information. In this way, each individual has more time to dedicate himself to his professional work.
Congratulations on your success in the past year – you have doubled the capacity and completed a large investment. How big challenge was that for you?
Thank you for the congratulations. When we entered a deal with a new customer, it was clear that there was not enough space in the existing facility to install new production lines. Let me point out here that we do not own the building where the company produces. And the building is surrounded by agricultural land. So we needed to agree with the owner of the building to build the extension, actually two extensions in a total surface of 4.600 m2. It was necessary to carry out all administrative procedures, including changing the municipal spatial plan and the purpose of the land use.
Building the facility and providing of energy was next step, followed by installation of the production equipment and training of the people to be able to perform the audit, which is a condition for the final confirmation of the production. We had 17 months at disposal to execute all of that.
Being aware of pre-emptive longevity of proceedings in Slovenia, yes, the challenge was huge!
At this point, I must point out that without the exceptional engagement of the mayor of Trebnje, where the object is situated, we would fail. Let me mention that the building was constructed, energy provided, production lines installed in 104 days, only 4 days before the scheduled process validation audit date.
Increasing capacity means new staffing needs. Was the search for a new workforce successful or have you detected a shortage of the appropriate staff? Are we (in Slovenia) facing the lack of human resource?
This is extremely good question. Economic growth of Slovenia that started already in 2016 is of course very good news. Slovenia, as a small-scale economy, is very susceptible to all changes. In a positive and negative sense. We came very rapidly from the high unemployment rate to the period when we have problems to get the staff at all levels. It is imperative to introduce changes in the field of various benefits and social transfers. With a little ingenuity, one can obtain more financial resources from the state than somebody who works hard in production. This is wrong.
It is necessary to change the tax policy and relieve the salaries. Current tax policy is not oriented to stimulating and development.
There is a lot of tarnish about what the state and the others in this country should do. However, we, the employers, we need to establish such conditions and such payment that people will be happy work in our companies. This is not an easy task, but I am confident that achieving this goal is possible.
Until recently, your main customer was Revoz and now it is Magna from Graz. Did the change in main client affect your production?
For sure. In our business the investments are very carefully planned according to the planned volumes, complexity of the parts and technology needed. Production facilities are charged between 80% and 100%, 15 shifts per week. It is clear that for every important new project, new equipment needs to be applied. We invested over two million euros only in additional production capacities, including new robots. We implemented some new technologies that were not used before.
As explained in one of the previous questions, we needed to double the size of the building. Currently we are about to change and optimised the internal logistic inside the plant. We are always searching for the improvements, optimisations…. New customer means just additional push towards this goal.
What is your plan for the future? Focusing on existing customers or finding new one?
Our existing customers are the best customers in the world! The main goal is to keep existing projects and to find new business with the existing customers. Our main customers, Revoz and Magna have new projects that are arriving, we will do our best to be a part of their successful story as their suppliers.
Due to the size of our products and resulting transport costs, we cannot sell our parts around the globe. That is why the group has the production facilities in all continents except in Australia.
Focusing to Treves doo only; our market are carmakers which have their facility in central and east Europe. We are just about to start the relation with a reputable carmaker in this area.
You have got an award for the Top management in 2017. What is your skill and recipe for good management and organisation?
Being together with the renowned Slovenian companies – which got this reward – makes us very proud.
My strong believe is that the most important resource in each organization are people.
Therefore, my kind of management is people oriented. Each organization consists of people with different knowledge, skills, experiences, motivation,….
My job is to enable each member of the team and therefore, the company, to grow and develop the skills.
Each organization is a learning institution, therefore training and development must be integrated into all of its processes. That is the spirit of the Top management award.
Do you have any special quote that keeps you motivated?
Automotive business is very challenging, sometimes hard but extremely exciting. New products, new technologies, constant need to reduce carbon footprint, to improve comfort of the products, etc.. All that is putting in front of us new challenges every day.
Success of the company is a success of the team, not specific person! Creating a team and steering it to get the best out of it, is the best motivation one can imagine.