Producing collagen casings of high quality, Fabryka Osłonek Białkowych FABIOS S.A. is one of a few production plants of this kind in Europe. The company’s products are used in the meat processing industry, i.e. in the production of processed meat and other food products. For 36 years FABIOS has consistently widened the product range and improved production technology, thus gaining recognition and good reputation as a reliable business partner all over the world.
Written by Anna Chudzik
Starting from one type of casings…
The FABIOS S.A. plant is situated near Maków Podhalański, in the south of Poland, on the route between Katowice and Zakopane. The company’s beginnings reach 1960s, when the first research on the casing production technology was conducted, which resulted in opening the plant and launching full-capacity production in 1973. The fist product manufactured by FABIOS was a simple, traditional type of casing, remaining the flagship product of the company until today. In the following years FABIOS developed rapidly, which was boosted by the growing demand for collagen casings from the meat industry. The company kept on launching new production lines and enlarging its premises. In the mid 1990s it introduced a new product – an edible collagen foil, which is used in manufacturing of corned and scalded products in nets such as hams. Next year, FABIOS widened the product range by offering coloured casings and casings suitable for printing labels on the surface. Moreover, at that time the name “FABIOS” was added to the name of the company, as it had been used only on the trademark before. At the turn of the centuries, the world saw a new kind of casings manufactured by FABIOS, namely ring casings, followed 5 years later by the easily removable type. To cut a long story short, constant development and willingness to improve its products have been the company’s aspirations since the inception. After changing its legal form, Fabryka Osłonek Białkowych FABIOS S.A. is currently a state-owned joint-stock company.
Products under tight control
FABIOS collagen (protein) casings are used not only in the production of cured meats but also as packages for other foodstuffs. The FABIOS offer includes casings in various types: traditional, easily removable, ring casings and ones for raw sausages. Additionally, collagen foil for hams are produced in a form of sheets, 400 or 480 mm wide, or sleeves in calibres of 85, 115, 126, 136 and 156 mm. The main product is the traditional casing, which has been offered by FABIOS since the inception. Another type which deserves attention is the unique ring casing – in the production process it is formed into a ring, making it look like a natural casing. It is worth mentioning that only a few manufacturers can offer this kind of product. Apart from that, constant research allowed FABIOS to launch the production of easily removable casings, which are used in processed meat products intended for slicing. The offer also includes the collagen foil, and casings for the production of raw sausages such as salami. As the company admits, it managed to gain customer confidence thanks to the particular concern for the quality of products. The collagen casings are manufactured from high quality collagen fibres, obtained from healthy cattle hides. What is also of paramount importance to the quality of a final product is the careful selection of suppliers, which is why FABIOS cooperates only with the top-rank ones. In the whole production process all raw materials, as well as final products, undergo strict quality control in the company’s own laboratory. It is also common practice to have outside companies carry out specialist tests, or to commission additional quality tests. Thanks to that FABIOS can always ensure entirely safe results meeting all the requirements, while the customers can receive certificates necessary to resell casings.
How to keep the customer satisfied?
Since FABIOS perceives success as customer satisfaction, the company tries its best so as to live up to all expectations. Clients who decided to try the FABIOS products are likely to seek the cooperatation, in most cases, signing long-standing contracts. Therefore, according to FABIOS, how to keep the customer satisfied? First of all, FABIOS is open to customer’s suggestions and takes care of them, even after the purchase. From the initial stages of its activity, FABIOS has also put all its efforts into in-depth analysis of customers’ needs and market trends so as to keep pace with the growing demands. Obviously, the success would not have been possible without the company’s qualified staff. Employees from the Department of Sale and Market Analysis constantly monitor needs of the customers and check the market news. Personnel from technical and R&D sectors work on the improvement of production technology, while staff members who supervise the quality of products make sure that the casings leaving the factory are devoid of any faults. As FABIOS admits, the staff (both those taking care of production and non-production processes), is one of the elements constituting the strategic potential of the company. Their commitment to work determines the reliability, competitiveness, and, consequently, further development of FABIOS. Another factor which helps the company build a successful brand is a reasonable price of products. In the customer satisfaction survey FABIOS was given very good mark as far as the price/quality ratio was concerned. However, in spite of the satisfactory result, the company does not want to rest on its laurels, but to achieve the highest standards and maximum customer satisfaction. Therefore, it continues to work on reducing the costs (as they determine the products price) and improving the products. To further satisfy even the most demanding customers, FABIOS invests in the development of new types of casings, which would feature the highest technical parameters. Recently, FABIOS has decided to enlarge the line for production of ring casings, since the demand for the product is greater than the company’s production capacity. The company is planning to enlarge other production lines as well. However, it is aware of the fact that all undertakings depend on the decisions of authorities supervising FABIOS, and on the financial reserves earmarked for investments. Unfortunately, simple alteration of the production line is a costly process due to the uniqueness of machines and technological solutions.
Market in Poland and abroad
Every month at least 66% od production is aimed at foreign markets, not only the European ones. The company has business representatives in France, Spain, Greece, Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan. Products are exported to Turkey, Armenia, Uruguay, Cuba and Venezuela. Owing to the enhancement of the production capacity, FABIOS is currently negotiating also with more countries of South and Middle America, or Asia. Within the next years the company is willing to strengthen its position on the foreign markets. Each product from the wide array of the FABIOS assortment is equally important, which stems from different preferences on the markets – Balkan markets prefer casings for the production of raw sausages, while Eastern markets – traditional casings. Polish and foreign markets also differ significantly, which is why monitoring clients’ needs and preferences all over the world seems so crucial for the development of the company. When it comes to the domestic market, it is susceptible to changes, making it hard to predict sales in 5 or 10 years. The situation is largely conditioned by Poles’ shopping tendencies. In the midst of the crisis people tend to consume more cured meat products of lower quality, while FABIOS casings are fit for high-quality meats. Careful analysis indicates that year by year consumers in developed and developing countries tend to eat more and more high-quality products and it is FABIOS casings which find application in their production. People prefer to buy less in return for the assurance of high quality, good taste and lack of unnecessary “refinements”. Polish market is heading into this direction as well, while other Eastern markets will join the trend in a few years. As for the former EU markets, they have already undergone this transformation.
Sources of pride – certificates, awards and more
FABIOS S.A. has always been associated with products of good quality offered at an affordable price. Undoubtedly, the company can take pride in various things, such as the incessant presence on the market for 36 years. The pro-active attitude, which manifests itself in the willingness to improve, develop and achieve highest quality benchmarks, guarantees impeccable taste and recognition all over the world. The efforts were also rewarded with various certificates and distinctions. First of all, since FABIOS is not indifferent to green issues, it was granted with ISO 14001 certificate for its pro-ecological activities. Situated in the area of the Babia Góra National Park, FABIOS feels obligated to protect the environment. All activities taken by the authorities are directed towards minimising the harmful effects on the environment. FABIOS possesses its own sewage treatment plant and incinerating plant, which makes waste management more efficient. The company can be also proud of the fact that it operates in accordance with the principles of the ISO 9001:2000 system. Apart from that, FABIOS S.A. received “Business Gazelle” (Gazele Biznesu) award four times, “Golden Company” (Złota Firma) title (granted by the Małopolskie province), or “Pantheon of Polish Ecology” (Panteon Polskiej Ekologii) award (granted under the patronage of Minister of the Environment and Director of the Polish Centre for Testing and Certification). In January 2009 the company was awarded Transparent Company (Przejrzysta Firma) certificate for the publication of financial reports. FABIOS is willing to participate in various non-business activities as well. For example, the company has it own football team, which competes with other teams from the Sucha Beskidzka district for, among others, the cup of President of FABIOS S.A. This year the FABIOS team won the cup again. Moreover, the company is a major sponsor of numerous regional cultural or sport events and it supports various charity actions.