During the harsh times of global financial crisis, always the same question returns over and over again in the discussions of managers and the authorities of companies, touched by the economic slowdown:
how to survive, regain what has been lost, rebuild the former competitive position in the markets? The problem is, there is no easy answer to those questions. Every commercial organization in the world has its own way to avoid the consequences of the lasting bear market, still, one can point out few examples – companies, which managed to overcome the negative trends and dealt very well with the general decline on the stock market, despite the fact that they had to face serious problems in the initial phase of the crisis. One of such companies is Prevent Automotive Romania S.R.L. – an important part of the renowned Prevent Group. The fascinating history of the company is an important lesson – it teaches us, how to manage during the most difficult time in the history of global economy, in the most demanding industry in the world, but also how to succeed, expand and gain trust of globally recognizable business partners. To understand the organizational culture of Prevent, we have interviewed Mr. Claudiu Iliescu – the company’s Logistics Manager. It is truly worth reading, enjoy!
The past to be proud of, the present full of innovative ideas and bold vision of the future
Prevent Automotive Romania S.R.L. is not a company, which boasts decades of gaining experience. Prevent did not suffer from many years of centrally planned economy and other communist concepts. In the moment of its inception, it has already been a modern commercial organization, with the team of professionals, and clear plan for development. Still, Prevent’s history is not an easy one, as the company had to face the most serious financial crisis known to men – and yet it is one of the most trusted business partners of the largest automotive companies in the world. Nowadays Prevent does not try to rescue its finances or cut the numbers of the organization’s Employees. Instead, Prevent carefully plans its future expansion and stands out among its competitors, as one of the companies, which rebuild the global position of the automotive industry. Of course, Prevent’s authorities will never forget the peak of the crisis, of which speaks Mr. Iliescu: “Following the takeover of the Eybl Group by Prevent Group from Germany during the beginning of 2009, we have faced a lot of changes as a consequence also of the crisis in the automotive branch. Firstly, our working force decreased abruptly from around 1.700 Employees to around 300 Employees during a short time span of only 2-3 months. Also the business unit steering wheels was closed during that time.” It was the most important milestone in the history of Prevent, which was founded in 1999, as part of the Austrian Eybl Group. Luckily, the global depression appears as one the most important lessons that Prevent’s managers have ever learned. And, in the matter of fact, drew conclusions of in a very brief time. “As a result, the new HQ invested in the acquisition of high performance cutters which revolutionized the performances in the cutting area and also a program of replacement of the existing sewing machines with brand new ones took place. Also new programs / projects where either transferred from other plants within the Group or we’ve got the chance based on our results to be directly nominated for new programs. As a logical consequence of our increased need for capacity, a second production unit was opened in the neighboring city of Lugoj and our working force increased again to above 1.000 employees” – concludes the company’s Logistics Manager. At the moment, Prevent is one of the most important manufacturers of car seats, interiors, materials and brake discs in the automotive industry, with the two production plants in Romania focused on the production of covers, effective management philosophy and a lot to offer in the near future.
The company, which does what it knows best
Prevent’s success is not a coincidence. It is an obvious result of the company’s management philosophy and the organizational culture of the whole Group, which supports creativity and partner approach, as well as focuses on the most important element of every commercial entrepreneurship in the world – the Employees. “At the moment in the two plants from Romania work about 1.000 employees. Prevent Automotive Romania is the biggest employer in the area and in order to secure the necessary workforce it ensures the personnel transportation for a radius of 50 to 100 km. With few exceptions at the managerial level, all working force is from the regional level. Our company started years ago a cooperation with the local high school, which provides specific training for our activity profile, by thus ensuring the future working force. We are focused on ensuring a high level of security of the jobs (the target is zero personnel reduction during 2013) but thus creating a mutual trust between the company and the Employees“ – explains Mr. Iliescu. Of course, Employees alone, even the most efficient, wouldn’t be able to provide necessary level of quality, and I have to add that Prevent obeys the most stringent standards of quality of its products and puts great emphasis on realization of the most important target: complete satisfaction of the company’s Customers. These aims are possible to achieve, thanks to the procedures, implemented by the company, as a result of a vast know-how or Prevent’s internal partners. The company has gained its great reputation and the trust of Customers, “due to the high flexibility specific for our decentralized structure and the know-how of our specialists. The reaction time in implementing the demands of our Customers and also the high qualitative level of our products played also a key role” – lists Mr. Claudiu Iliescu. It is very important to mention that Prevent Automotive manufactures highest quality products abroad only and almost every company’s Supplier is also located outside Romania. One of the most important business partners of the company is the Volkswagen Group and Prevent has the honor to work as Volkswagen’s original equipment manufacturer. Such a position in the very demanding industry is possible to achieve only thanks to maintaining the most strict standards in the area of demands of the Customers.
The highest level of the business acumen
That is why, Prevent is doing everything in its power to carry on the green policy of production and obtains the most prestigious certificates, which guard the quality of manufactured products. “Due to the investment of our group in new and highly performing machines, the reduction of the scrap and as a consequence the ecological print of our company has been seriously improved” – claims Mr. Iliescu. In the matter of certificates mentioned above, the company’s Logistics Manager speaks of the ISO TS 16949:2009 document and points out that the Group itself puts great emphasis on this issue. These factors are just two of many, thanks to which the company builds its strong international position and is able to start cooperation with globally recognizable companies, representing the automotive industry. As I have written above, Prevent Automotive Romania links traditional values with innovative ideas. Focus on quality, the company’s Customers as the centre of every action, undertaken by the entrepreneurship, partner approach to Employees meet the vast know-how, cutting-edge technology, great level of flexibility and understanding of the role of eco-policy, as part of the value of a modern commercial organization. With such a management philosophy, Prevent simply cannot lose. Thankfully.