Edin Dacić, CEO of Daccomet AG, Zürich, Switzerland:

Sharing Swiss Business Standards

The benefits of the dual education system should be recognised by all parties involved - schools, students, employers and the government

Being a supplier of large international companies, such as giants like IKEA, requires the right mind-set and the readiness to share their values, as well as respecting their highest social, legal, ecological and ethical standards. Daccomet AG has managed to transfer those values to its factories in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Daccomet AG is a Swiss company with production plants in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. To what extent have you succeeded in applying Swiss business standards in factories in this region?

By having our place in the market, we are confronting a big challenge nowadays. This requires both the high quality and reliability of operations, which is already characteristic of Swiss standards.

Our success comes through focusing on transparency, flexibility and readiness for changes, which fits into the Swiss image, known for punctuality, efficiency, first-class services and accuracy.

In order to advance towards Swiss business standards we must continuously conduct proper monitoring by determining and upgrading our strategic role, as well as all other activities leading to the implementation of high business standards in our factories in this region.

You employ mostly local youngsters. What tests and training do they need to complete before they start working at one of your plants?

We put a great effort into primarily finding those with the right mind-set. This is crucial, and at the same time the biggest challenge. When we are convinced we have found the right ones, we start educating them in skill development. This relates to all structure of employees in our factories, as we consider our employees the most import asset of our projects.

First and foremost, our co-worker should be open-minded and ready to do their utmost to improve their qualifications for the specific jobs for which they have applied. Before they start working, they are subjected to a job interview with a relevant HR manager. On this occasion they are assessed for their appropriateness for a certain kind of job. To encourage local youngsters, we organise various additional training courses from the very start of their employment, in order to develop their skills, responsibility, ambition, mind-set etc., with the goal of getting the best out of them.

Daccomet AG is one of Ikea’s suppliers, which means high quality products. How satisfied are you with the knowledge and skills of candidates applying for jobs at Daccomet?

We are very satisfied with the level of interest and motivation of potential candidates. We can only really judge about knowledge and skills after a certain period of on-the-job experience. We recognise their aspirations to learn and their motivation to gain experience and develop their potential, and therefore we are ready to support them through regular and various training courses, all with the aim of ensuring high quality products to supply to a client like IKEA. However, the most important preconditions in achieving this goal are the right mind-set and the readiness to share IKEA values, as well as respecting the highest social, legal, ecological and ethical standards, and striving to produce good quality articles with high productivity, in order to achieve a competitive price.

In order to advance towards Swiss business standards we must continuously conduct proper monitoring by determining and upgrading our strategic role, as well as all other activities leading to the implementation of high business standards in our factories in this region

Switzerland is among the countries that base their economy on dual education, which helps young people get involved in production faster through training. In the current circumstances, is this system feasible in the countries of our region?

The dual education system, which is a combination of practical, on-the-job training and theoretical education, is only feasible if the advantages are recognised by all parties involved, meaning schools, employers and, above all, students. The advantages are evident, since the students gain relevant skills in companies during their training and the great possibility of avoiding the risk of unemployment. During the training their abilities grow; students develop under real conditions and therefore they can see if they are not able or willing to do that job quite early. In Switzerland the dual educational system offers the possibility to continue education after finishing high school, while remaining employed. The success of countries like Switzerland and Germany, where dual system is implemented, is evident: relatively low unemployment and a growing economy. It is very encouraging that Serbia’s Prime Minister has recognised the huge potential. We have to be aware that the required educational reform is enormous, and that it is a huge task to convince all parties involved, not only of the advantages, but also of the necessity. On the other hand, the education system in Switzerland was not created overnight either, but was rather developed continuously on the basis of cooperation and to the mutual benefit of the parties involved.  

You once said that “investing in human resources is of the utmost importance for company development”. What methods does Daccomet use to find top quality staff?

In today’s economy, hiring methods for the employment of people are very important. The methods we use to find top quality employees are, above all, asking our actual employees, who we know have the right mind-set, to recommend to us somebody in whom they are convinced. After that we invite them for assessments organised by external HR consultants.

This approach should help us to identify and consider all factors relevant to utilising our potential for growth: mind-set, competence, necessary skills, capability, commitment, sociality, ability to work with others etc.

The quality of employees and their development are becoming major factors in determining the long-term profitability of business.

Where do you see room for the improvement of the education system, in order to help reduce employment and promote the economy in the region?

Three years ago we recognised that our middle management lacked the necessary preconditions to one day become top managers. Nevertheless, throughout the entire region I sought an education that would endow them with the necessary knowhow and skills to one day become top managers. Finally, I initiated the creation of LSDT (Leadership and Skills Development Training), which is organised by the University of Berne’s Faculty of Architecture, Wood and Construction, to create an education system based on the dual education system. The whole project was supported and financed by SDC (Swiss Development Corporation) and, of course, open to employees of all companies. The feedback from employees at our two factories – Standard AD from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Standard Furniture Serbia – but also from the others, was overwhelming. I am happy that LSDT is currently in its second year and I am certain that more comparable training would promote the economy in the region.