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Roman Strakoš, Brose Serbia, Managing Director

Looking To The Future With Optimism

Brose is the fourth-largest family-owned automotive supplier. With the inclusion of the Brose Sitech joint venture, the company employs 30,000 people at around 70 locations in 25 countries. For 2022, they expect to generate a turnover of more than seven billion euros, while the company has even bigger plans for the coming years

Despite the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing semiconductor crisis and the war in Ukraine, Brose Serbia Managing Director Roman Strakoš says that he is satisfied with results, the workforce, the Pančevo community and the way the company is developing…

A year ago, on the occasion of the opening of the factory in Pančevo, you announced that you’ve implemented all plans under the envisaged dynamic, and even faster. What is the situation like now?

Yes, despite Covid restrictions, we were able to start our production lines on time, thanks to the high commitment of our employees. Unfortunately, the situation has only become more challenging.

Volume declines due to the hard lockdowns in China, the ongoing semiconductor crisis and the war in Ukraine have hit Brose hard and also have an impact on our locations. On the other hand, Brose Pančevo has recently received several important orders from major customers. For example, we will produce control units for doors and seats, as well as electric latches for various premium car manufacturers. We are therefore looking to the future with confidence.

How does Brose support the local community? Which of your CSR activities makes you particularly proud?

It is important for our family-owned company to be a good neighbour to the areas surrounding our sites. In this way, we also increase the attractiveness of our locations for current and future employees. There are a variety of measures with which Brose supports the Pančevo community in the fields of culture, education, sports and social issues, establishing long-term partnerships. For example, we have worked with charity organisations like Na pola puta [Halfway there] and we are the general partner of the Cultural Centre Pančevo, ensuring quality programmes.

We are actively promoting the career prospects of employees, both in production and development, and we are very satisfied with the workforce that’s available in Serbia

It is impossible to single out one project, because every activity is special and important in its own way. I’m glad to be working for a company that – thanks to the commitment of our shareholders – really assumes social responsibility worldwide.

You are planning to employ about 1,000 people by 2025. How do you want to achieve this?

Firstly, by being a good employer with attractive working conditions and fair wages. We are actively promoting the career prospects of employees, both in production and development, and are very satisfied with the workforce that’s available in Serbia. One important pillar of our strategy is cooperation with local universities, for example through internship programmes. Students of the technical faculties from Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš can gain practical experience in the fields of electronics, production, development, procurement, logistics and quality.

Some of them even spend a couple of months in Germany. The best students have the possibility to stay with Brose for permanent employment, which is a great way to engage young talents. Another way is to support schools in the region, like the Pančevo School of Mechanical Engineering and the Nikola Tesla Electrical Engineering High School. This both helps the community and introduces Brose to potential future employees.

What are the next steps in the development of you location?

Brose started from scratch in Pančevo and is developing a production and development facility that handles complex products and technology. This means that our main task is to hire and train new colleagues to keep growing and supplying our customers with high-quality products. For example, one of the big challenges in the coming years will be handling the growth of our site, as turnover will increase to four times what we have today.

At the same time, we are developing the infrastructure of our site. In 2023, construction of the Brose Kids Club will begin. This is an educational facility for the children of our employees that will include, for example, afternoon care and summer camps. Another important project relates to the reduction of our CO2 footprint: we will install about 9,000 solar panels on the roof of our production halls, which will generate approximately 3.5MW of green energy.

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