German company Gruner first began operating in Serbia way back in 2007, as a small enterprise based in a rented production hall. It recently opened its fourth production plant in the town of Vlasotince, thereby earning its place among the ranks of the most substantial businesses and most important employers in southern Serbia
Serbia is a country of good, diligent and professional people who want to work, learn more and advance. Those are the key reasons for our involvement and investment in the Republic of Serbia to date – reveals Gruner Serbia Manager Vladica Stanković, speaking in this interview for CorD Magazine.
You recently expanded the company’s production capacity from 7,000 to 11,500 square metres. Have you also announced the hiring of new workers?
As you know, we’ve been present on the market of the Republic of Serbia for 15 years, and during that time we’ve succeeded in expanding our capacities from production that implied assembly to the independent production of plastic parts and metal parts, and equipping our tool shop. All of our parts, both plastic and metal, are built into our products.
We will use part of the newly opened plant for the production of plastic parts, while the other part is reserved for the tool shop – for the maintenance and production of tools. This project has lasted since 2019, and we’ve so far hired 200 new employees, so the number of workers now exceeds 750, which – together with all Gruner subsidiary companies – comprises 60 per cent of the total workforce. We are a small family company and that’s also how we conduct ourselves. We do everything to ensure our employees feel like they are part of the Gruner family, as part of the team, because the most important thing for achieving good results is teamwork.
We are satisfied with the way we’re concluding this year, because we all exerted a lot of effort and determination.
Gruner’s management proudly highlights the great importance of this investment to the company. Does this mean that the decision to invest 23.7 million euros in Serbia since 2007 proved to be the right move? What makes Serbia so special?
This is an extremely important investment and a strategically important move for the company, as we will produce a major part of our semi-finished products and small parts for final products, relays and actuators, here in Serbia. All investments to date, and there have been four of them, were the right move of our owners – Eduard, Wolfgang, Patrick and Martin Spreitzer. Despite Gruner being a family company, all business decisions are brought in agreement with our local management team.
A total of 54 students have so far passed through our production facilities and training process, 25 of whom gained permanent employment.
Apart from good and diligent people, here the owners also discovered great potential in political stability, and in the active participation of state institutions in the implementation of these kinds of projects. This relates primarily to recognising the importance of projects, and subsequently providing tangible support and monitoring implementation. It is vital for this trend to continue and for us all, with the help of institutions, to create an even better business climate for new investments.
Although you’ve really invested a lot in production technology, you consider people as being the key to your success. Is that linked to dual education?
Our partnership with the Technical School from Vlasotince, and the dual education project that was launched in 2016, contributed a lot to to our results. A total of 54 students have so far passed through our production facilities and training process, 25 of whom gained permanent employment. We have no intention of stopping and are already working on the inclusion of new profiles that are essential to our operations. For example, we this year enrolled a generation of CNC operators who are very important for our tool shop.
Relations between the school, the municipality and the relevant ministries are at a very high level, and I feel a need to thank everyone who worked with us to start the introduction of dual education and who still participates in it today. I hope that the dual education project will soon also be implemented in institutions of higher education.