This global producer of wires, optic fibres, cables, cable systems and similar components for the automotive and other related industries has become the largest employer in Serbia. Leoni, whose business is spread all around the world and which generates annual sales revenues in the billions of euros, employs almost 6,000 people in Serbia, with a serious projection that this figure will increase significantly in the next year. In this interview for CorD, Clemens Sachs emphasises that it is “an even more important task of the company is to become the best employer in Serbia”.
Remarking that Leoni is building its third factory in Niš, the section for which opened this year, which will deal with the production of parts for BMW, Sachs announces that it will be operating at full capacity by as early as 2018.
– The new plant is seen as an extension of our already existing business with BMW in Prokuplje. At the Niš plant we will produce a new business with our customer BMW. As a standard in the automotive business, sample and pre-serial products must first be produced, with original equipment and on original location. That is why Leoni completed around 6,000 sqm of production area first, by the end of July, and we will complete most of the construction by the end of the year. Step by step, Leoni will install equipment according to customer requirements and employ all envisaged people that are required to run the activities. We expect to have a fully loaded factory in the second half of 2018.
Leoni has been in Serbia since 2009. Even without the Niš facility, you already top the lists of the biggest employers and investors. What are the key reasons for the constant expansion of your production operations in Serbia?
– As noted, Leoni started its activities in Serbia in 2009. So far, Leoni Serbia has grown continuously to become one of the biggest employers in the country. For Leoni, it is more important to be the best employer than to be the biggest. In order to achieve that, Leoni is doing a lot for its employees, and provides them with the best working conditions and surroundings.
The key reasons for the continuing growth are based on several topics in Serbia.
First, Leoni has the required pool of the available labour market that is necessary for the business, which requires a huge part of the available workforce. Another point enabling us to be successful is the continuous support Leoni gets in the country, starting from the Serbian Government, the Serbian Development Agency (RAS), the National Employment Service and all municipalities where Leoni plants are located.
Based on all of these positive impacts, Serbia was chosen as a strategic country within the Leoni footprint.
What makes us additionally successful in Serbia is the support we receive from the Government of Serbia and all other institutions that are significant to our operations
Leoni is this year marking the centenary of its global existence. You are today present in more than 30 countries worldwide. How do you measure the success of each individual factory; and where do your factories in Serbia rank on Leoni’s list of successful operations?
– Leoni ranks 4th worldwide in its business and number one in Europe. More than 82,000 people work under Leoni’s roofs worldwide. Almost 100 plants in more than 30 countries on four continents shows Leoni’s global reach. For such a large enterprise, actually a holding company, it is important to have global standards. With global standards, Leoni is also able to compare performances globally.
As I already mentioned, Serbia has been chosen as a strategic country, and one of the reasons for that is the very good performance being achieved by Leoni Serbia month after month.
So, we can say that Leoni Wiring Systems Southeast d.o.o. is one of the highest performing legal entities within the Leoni world, and it is for this reason that the future looks good and trends also look positive.