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Darko Bjelić, EMBA, CEO, 8. Mart

Europe Is Conquered With Quality

Company 8. mart (8th March), which has existed for almost an entire century, has always aspired to develop and grow. With the introduction of new technologies, constantly raising the effectiveness and efficiency of its work has made it a durable company and a market leader

A part from Germany, as its principal market, 8. mart has expanded its customer base to include respected business partners from France that are also among the leaders on the European market and should provide a strong impetus to the company’s further growth and development, while in the period ahead space will also be created to cooperate with partners from the UK.

You head a company that has existed for almost an entire century and is known for having one of the largest and most modern textile factories. How did you become an industry leader?

– As you note yourself – the company has existed for almost a century. And in order to succeed and persevere on the very demanding textile market, facing very strong competition, both domestically and at the European level, the company – together with all its employees – has gone through every transition process, adapting ourselves to the demands of the market, and thereby also to the demands of customers, whose expectations and sensibilities have also changed throughout all these years, while maintaining a focus on the segment in which we are the best and nurturing our own values.

We have always endeavoured to develop and grow, by introducing new technologies and constantly raising the efficiency and effectiveness of our work, which has made us a durable company and a market leader. And our success is even greater if we consider how developed the textile industry of the former Yugoslavia was and how just a few of us are left and continuing to compete successfully on the demanding European markets.

I must also emphasise that the greatest contribution was provided by our employees, because we have always, and particularly today, been blessed with very committed and loyal employees, who have decades of experience at the company and are extremely well-acquainted with the textile industry, machines and materials, and who therefore provide the right foundations for the company’s further growth and development.

Your top quality has secured your presence in all major retail chains across Europe, and then in 2017 you integrated into the group of German holding companies. Has that strengthened your position on the European market?

– We are a 100% exporter, with all our goods exported to EU markets, so that integration has definitely strengthened our position, primarily on the German market, where we have been cooperating very successfully with large retail chains for many years.

Each year we introduce new machines for testing, with which we strive to increase our efficiency and expand the portfolio of products that we can offer the market

Within the scope of the Holding company, there are companies that work to bring new customers and expand the portfolio with existing customers, while we – as a manufacturing company – can focus on product development being aligned with the highest quality requirements and customer expectations.

How important is it to analyse the market; and to follow trends, but also dictate them?

– The answer to the question of dictating trends is neither simple nor easy, and very often eludes even the boldest of companies, regardless of the branch of industry in question. However, we really devote a lot of attention to gauging the demands of the market, to the sensibilities of our customers, very meticulously monitoring previous trends in order to recognise some future demands.

We propose innovative ways of overcoming certain challenges that we face, but also welcome suggestions when it comes to the use of new materials, which increasingly direct us towards recycled materials and ecologically sustainable product niches. By investing in new knitting machines, we are in a position to satisfy all customer demands, and each year we introduce new machines for testing, with which we strive to increase our efficiency and expand the portfolio of products that we can offer the market. Innovating, implementing new knowledge and investing in people are the keys to success.

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