Jacek Siwiński, CEO of Velux Polska
Enterprises currently attach great importance to conducting business in a sustainable and responsible manner. What specific actions does VELUX take in this field?
The story of corporate social responsibility at VELUX had begun long before this concept gained popularity. As early as 1965, the founder of the VELUX Group, Villum Kann Rasmussen, made it his objective to develop the business based on the “Model Company” which he described as a company not only providing product useful to society but also treating its environment, including its customers, suppliers, employees and shareholders better than most other companies. This philosophy is reflected in action in almost all the areas of our activity. Starting from the roof window itself which throughout its lifecycle enables to save more energy than is needed for its production, through all production processes, including transport, to the disposal of our products. 100% of the wood used in our production in Poland comes from sustainable, FSC or PFSC-certified cultivation. 97% of waste is recycled on-site in our factories. The VELUX Group global strategy, published in 2009, comprised the reduction of CO2 emission by half by the year 2020 as compared to the 2007 level. In the Polish production plants, we reduced the CO2 emission by as much as 77% per production value unit. This illustrates the practical approach to the sustainable development theory.
Many industries are currently facing a number of challenges such as the lack of qualified workforce. What are the greatest challenges for VELUX and how do you deal with them?
For a long time now, it has been the strategy of the VELUX Group companies to become the first choice employer on the local job market. We take a number of actions in this respect, starting with the fact that we do not use civil law agreements – all our employees receive employment contracts. Several years ago we also gave up trial period contracts. We assume that all those who pass the recruitment process are worthy of our trust and we sign the first agreement for a 2-year period. These are just some of the many actions we take every day in order to build the goodwill of our company as an employer. What is more important than the examples of such actions are their effects – despite the changes in the job market, we can still boast a low employee rotation, e.g. in the production plants in Gniezno, the rotation rate in 2017 remained under 5%. Half of the Group’s employees work with us for over 7 years, which I consider a very good result, especially given the fact that during the last 3 years we increased the number of employees by over 500, to over 4300.
As a professional, you attach great importance to the employees and their competences as well as to the teams they work in. What is your recipe for managing a team in such a large company?
In a way, this question also includes the answer. It is the competences, together with trust and responsibility, that constitute the recipe for team management. Combine these three elements: competences, trust and responsibility, and you obtain a team capable of facing even the greatest challenges independently. In such circumstances, the manager’s role consists less in managing such teams and more in ensuring the appropriate harmonization between these three elements of teamwork.
Innovation is a field in which you obviously thrive. What new technological solutions have you recently released on the market and introduced in your production plants?
Industry 4.0 and automated production are increasingly common – we systematically implement such solutions in our production plant. Robotization also increasingly permeates daily life. The Internet of Things is ceasing to be a fashionable gadget and becoming a useful solution affecting the quality of our lives. Our offer responds to such expectations. VELUX solutions are not only sensitive to rain. Our windows and blinds can now be controlled automatically, based on a number of air quality sensors as well as on weather station data. An increasing number of Polish customers also appreciate the possibility of remote control of our products through apps.
How would you sum up 2019? What are the company’s investment plans for 2020?
We are closing 2019 with a celebration of great success. It was another period of two-digit growth for us. The forecasts for 2020 are very optimistic as well. As far as production is concerned, we continue to invest in the growth and modernization of the Gniezno and Namysłów plants. Last year, our flagship project was the launch of the second powder coating line in the DOVISTA Window Village in Wędkowy, which guarantees the highest quality of window coating technology as well as environmental friendliness. The new line will allow to increase the annual production capacity of the paint shop by 100%.
The Namysłów plant is also increasing quality. In March, the expansion of the VELUX window and flange factory in Namysłów was launched. The plant will gain new warehouse and production areas, allowing it to expand the woodworking department, as well as invest in the modernization of its machinery, increasing production automatization and improve the security level by the installation of a modern fire protection system. All these actions are to bring improvements in production efficiency and security as well as in workplace ergonomics. The total value of the investments in Namysłów will amount to c.a. PLN 50 million.
Last Updated on October 29, 2020 by Łukasz