- When talking about the production industry in the Republic of Croatia, one could conclude that it is almost non-existent. Can you tell us how difficult it really is and what challenges you face?
I wouldn't say that there is no production in Croatia, it's more about geographical differences. Namely, the northern part of the country is not only relatively well represented in this segment, but the industry there has also specialised in manufacturing products, especially for the Austrian market. One can even say that the north indeed has a developed manufacturing culture and tradition.
In this respect, Dalmatia is somewhat worse off, at least in terms of these geographical limitations, which of course affect transport costs and the like. But if we look at the overall picture, the circumstances are actually logical, because Dalmatia is more oriented towards tourism.
When we talk about challenges, our biggest challenge is that in some things we have practically none. We hardly have any competition, which bothers us because we have no one to learn from or share experiences with. Moreover, cooperation on the domestic market is extremely rare, as potential subcontractors usually do not work with foreign companies, which often have very high requirements. The same applies to the workforce. It is not as if there is none, but in general one can say that there is a lack of experienced workers.
- Now that you have mentioned this issue, we’d like to know whether you have difficulties in finding workers and what is your company's approach to this issue?
While there is labour in the market, there is a lack of sufficient skilled labour. Due to the narrowly specialised requirements set by our clients, we train most of our employees internally, regardless of the industry sector they worked in previously. We are particularly proud of the fact that we have been able to integrate a large number of women into all production processes. We currently have around 40 % female employees, which is an excellent indicator for us in terms of developing potential through work, commitment and education. I must also add that we are particularly pleased to be able to offer a stable job in an environment where employment opportunities are scarce. We are always open to training and hiring new workers without previous experience, especially in occupations with a labour shortage, such as welders and industrial painters.
- How would you describe the past year to two? Did the pandemic have an impact on Tromont, and to what extent?
Although the pandemic has affected us, it has also enabled us to transform into a better company, as we have recognised the shortcomings of the traditional way of working. With the help of new digital tools, communication has been simplified and the number of meetings reduced. It is noteworthy that we did not have a single day of work stoppage during the pandemic and our supply chain remained stable due to our timely reaction and raw materials securing. All in all, we have emerged stronger from this crisis thanks to good planning and quick responses. Moreover, the pandemic has also prepared us for the new challenges related to the war in Ukraine.
- In which market are you most represented?
We are most strongly represented in the market of passenger rail vehicles production. We are an approved TIER 1 supplier for the world's leading manufacturers of passenger rail vehicles, whose partner we have been for many years. We have managed to develop into a stable production company with constant growth, precisely because of the high demands of our customers.
- Finally, please tell us what new projects you are planning (or reveal some of your plans).
We are just starting a new investment cycle during which a number of activities are planned. Our focus is on digitalisation and the modernisation of warehouses and logistics in general. Of course, we will continue with the usual activities that have allowed us to grow at the pace that has proven to be best for us.