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International connections, modern management - BELOS-PLP

BELOS-PLP is the largest Polish producer of fittings for high voltage, medium voltage and low voltage overhead power lines. The enterprise has been present in the power energy branch for over sixty years. Since the very beginning of its business activity, it has established close technical partnership with leading design companies and institutes. Because of this partnership, products of BELOS-PLP not only fulfill all required standards and norms, but also are in line with the latest high-tech solutions.

Post-war beginnings…


The history of the company dates back to post-war years and is indissolubly connected with the development of electrical power engineering in Poland. Already in 1947, the company started to manufacture fittings for a high voltage overhead power line constructed on the route Łódź-Silesia. Three years later, in 1950, the works became state-owned and its production volume supplied the national market. In 1953, it was decided that the enterprise should evolve. Production profile was extended by devices supplying electrostatic precipitators as well as control and distributive cabinets. In 1969, a galvanizing house was established.

...and post-transition development


After political and economical changes in Poland the company has undergone several changes. In 1994 the works was transformed into a one-man state-owned company. A year later, one third of its shares was contributed to Western Investment Fund. 15% of the shares were transferred upon the employees, who in 2001 – together with the new management board – executed a managerial-employee buyout of the partnership. The latest and most crucial record in the corporate history took place in 2007. The enterprise joined Preformed Line Products Company (PLP) – an international designer and manufacturer of products and systems used in the construction and maintenance of overhead networks for energy, communications, and network companies. The company – founded in 1947 and listed at NASDAQ – is headquartered in USA (Cleveland, Ohio). PLP operates for both domestic manufacturing centers located across USA as well as serves worldwide markets through international operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Indonesia, Malesia, Mexico, New Zeland, South Africa, Spain, and Thailand. After three years of cooperation, the decision of strategic alliance turned out to be an appropriate one. Entering the Group offered BELOS-PLP new development possibilities. It concerns not only the product offer (extended by new product groups), but first and foremost the markets of business activity (cooperation with international branches, know-how and experience exchange). What is more, PLP is a very friendly owner. The enterprise cares about long-term development of BELOS-PLP and its employees. In order to prove that it is enough to refer to its numerous investments in the works itself (lab extension, purchase of new machines) as well as its people (specialist trainings and courses, postgraduate programs). What confirms PLP’s strategic attitude towards BELOS-PLP is also the fact that so far the owner has not collected the outstanding dividend from the earned profit.

Quality, experience, customer orientation


The company is convinced that what played an important role in achieving its nowadays market position has been three factors: high quality of the products, extended know-how and versatile experience as well as flexibility in fulfilling customers’ needs. The quality focus of BELOS-PLP has been confirmed by ISO 9001:2000 certificate, a number of industry distinctions and awards and countless references coming from the clients. The latter can be sure that long-term experience in construction and manufacturing of power line fittings comes together with full responsibility for the products and consequences of their exploitation. It must be also emphasized that despite long monopolist position on the Polish market,
BELOS-PLP has been always ready to cooperate with its customers on partnership-based rules and meet their requirements. Customers’ trust has been built on high quality and infallibility of the products as well as flexible attitude towards business partners. Owing to that, BELOS-PLP products have been used in majority of electrical power lines in Poland.

Modern HR and operational management


Employees of the company also have had a large contribution to the success of BELOS-PLP. Their engagement played a crucial role at the end of 1990ies, when the company was undergoing severe hardships. At the time, it was the employees who helped to create an organization capable of competing on international markets, taking on ever more complex commissions and facing new challenges. Achieving more than satisfactory financial results would not be possible without the engagement and persistence of the BELOS-PLP team. At the current moment, the enterprise is an employer for 215 people, out of which 70% are involved in the production process. In case of increased number of orders, the company cooperates with temporary employees. BELOS-PLP takes pride in the way it manages its personnel. First and foremost, each of the employees is treated on an individual basis. The company allows its people to develop – it funds their professional trainings, language courses as well as postgraduate programs of various kind. Each of the employees is assessed regularly and the results of the procedure are discussed over with direct supervisors. The conclusions are later on used in sketching individual career plans. They are elaborated in consultation with the employee, its direct manager as well as HR department of BELOS-PLP. Next to that, the enterprise does its best to evoke and set free the initiative and activity of the employees. It awaits not only proper fulfillment of everyday duties, but also creativity and innovative attitude. A lot is done in order to guarantee friendly work atmosphere. Since many years, BELOS-PLP has been organizing integration events for its employees and their families. So far it has included skiing trips, sleigh rides, rallies and family picnics. Thanks to free tickets, the employees have a chance to participate in a number of unique cultural events. Taking into consideration other areas of BELOS-PLP business activity, innovative attitude towards management can be perceived in sales ventures. Sales management comes down to setting definite goals and people responsible for their achievement. As far as organization management is concerned, the enterprise focuses on searching for methods which would increase the effectiveness and flexibility of work as well as optimize the organizational and cost structure. In fact, fascination with Lean Manufacturing is quite strong at BELOS-PLP. The company uses more and more of Lean Manufacturing techniques and achieves consecutive levels. All that to function in a more effective and efficient way.

Four Business Units


The production activity of BELOS-PLP is concentrated in four Business Units. These are: Fittings, Electric Devices, Steel Structures as well Galvanizing House. Since the very establishment of the enterprise, manufacturing of fittings for overhead power lines has been in the centre of all production ventures. As mentioned before, most high, medium and low voltage lines in Poland have been built or are currently under construction using network equipment manufactured by the company. BELOS-PLP is one of the main suppliers of fittings for the whole PLP Group and its Research & Development Centre in this area. The fittings product offer includes over 2500 items and is incessantly expanded. It includes among others: fittings for HV,MV, LV lines with bare conductors, equipment for substations (tube fittings), fittings for MV and LV lines with insulated conductors, OPGW fittings, helical fittings, railway fittings as well as communication products. BELOS-PLP has specialized in manufacturing of electric devices for few dozen years. These include devices supplying electrostatic precipitators in the first line. Apart from main power supply units, including a control cabinet and a high voltage rectifier unit, the company offers auxiliary equipment for electrical wiring of electrostatic precipitators. These are for example: power supply cabinets, damping resistors, high voltage change-over switches as well as local control, protection and signalization boxes. For their own use and for external Clients the company also provides hot-dip galvanizing. Galvanizing at
BELOS-PLP is conducted in hangers (for larger elements), whereas small products and screwed parts are galvanized in baskets transported later on into a centrifuge. The process of galvanizing is under full control thanks to an automatic control system and continuous bath temperature recording. The enterprise’s equipment includes a galvanizing pot, which enables applying layers onto elements of dimensions up to 2500x1100x1500 mm. The company is able to galvanize steel structures, barriers, fences, grids, gates or any other elements as requested by the customer. As far as the activity of Steel Structures Unit is concerned, BELOS-PLP is capable of making 3D structures using processes such as bending, cutting and roll forming as well as profiles and all types of control cabinets.

Export activity and future challenges


Export sales of the company depends on economic situation on the foreign markets, yet it keeps at the level of 20-40% of total sales. In 2009 – just like many other companies representing the electrical industry – BELOS-PLP experienced the slowdown of the global economy. Ceased investments brought about a smaller number of orders from the local market as well as from abroad. Luckily enough, cooperation with other overseas branches of PLP has been developing continuously. Due to that, the company participates in large projects in Europe (Great Britain, France), North (USA, Canada) and South (Brazil) America as well as Africa (Morocco, South Africa, Nigeria). In fact, the greatest expansion expectations of the company are connected with the latter. What is more, BELOS-PLP is trying to secure its market share on the eastern markets (Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus). Furthermore, economies getting over the latest financial crisis will need more and more energy, even despite the effectiveness programs they have introduced. It means that investments in power industry will be continued. For BELOS-PLP is poses an unparalleled development opportunity. Challenges in turn lie in progressive globalization, consorting of biggest market players as well as greater significance of companies located in Asia. However, BELOS-PLP is ready to pick up the gauntlet. Presence in the PLP Group gives it the possibility to conquer new markets, whereas experience of sister companies strengthens its competitive advantage. 

Written by Aleksandra Strojek

 

 

 

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