“There are no working hours in business”
“When we decided to inherit the family business in the printing house from my father, my brother and I inherited what was his business philosophy, first of all quality, respect for clients and delivery deadlines, and we gathered a good team of workers, which is also a guarantee that we will achieve everything planned “, Zika Ivanovic, owner of the printing house” Zlatna knjiga “, from Jagodina, which recently celebrated its 30th birthday, told BIZLife.
He believes that such a business strategy is a good reputation for the company, that the business must be “run domestically”, which often means that the owner spends 10-12 hours a day with workers, and that this is the only way to achieve good results.
“Investing in human and technological potential, a combination of technical knowledge and experience – enables the high requirements of color (offset) printing to be fully met. By investing in the latest technologies, we have completed the production process from idea to finished product. The family tradition, modern technology, as well as professional staff are united. We are guided by the fact that we are not a minute late with the delivery, that the client must always be respected on time and that we stick to quality “, points out Zika Ivanovic.
They inherited the business from their father, who wanted to start his own business
He says that he and Mić’s brother officially took over the job ten years ago from their father, who retired and founded the printing house in 1990. At that time, he worked as a graphic artist at the Cable Factory in Jagodina and wanted to start a private business.
“With the help of a friend, he managed to get a car, which he later repaid, and soon started looking for a job. Then there was an expansion of opening companies and everyone needed orders, invoices, delivery notes, blocks… Companies appeared more and more and then he realized that, by expanding his business, he could earn a salary very quickly “, says Zika.
In time, the era of computers began, so Zika’s father worried if he would be able to learn everything about it.
“As a young man, I started training, so we shared the responsibilities – my father arranged the work, and I was in charge of the preparations and the press. When I went to the army, my brother Mića replaced me in that, so in time we both became support for my father in business “, recounts the interlocutor of BIZLife, the business trip of the Ivanović family.
Over time, there was a need for workers, and then for machines.
“My father retired ten years ago, but until now he has remained our advisor and our support in business. Now I do this job with my brother and we are satisfied with how we function. There are no problems or tensions, everything is going according to plan and a good plan “, he points out.
They are glad, he says, that in addition to their family, five other families from Jagodina live from work in the printing house, because among the workers, there are also those whose parents used to work there and who, as he says, would come in half a day or night if indicates a need or a problem that must be solved.
Textbooks printed in Jagodina are now in the hands of Austrian students
Thirty years after starting a family business, the textbooks printed in the “Golden Book” are now in Austrian schools.
“The striking part of the work around that is right now, in June and July. The foreigners are punctual and demand that the agreement be respected in a minute, so the deadline is until the end of July for the textbooks to be in Salzburg, so that they can be distributed there in August and the children will receive them by September “, says Zika.
The textbooks are of high quality and well done, and a new technology of gluing without sewing is applied, which was also proposed to them by the Austrians in 2013, and which they are the only ones to apply in Serbia.
“It was a big investment for us, but it paid off. In the meantime, we bought another machine in order to speed up the process three to four times and thus expand our cooperation with them. There is no expansion of business without readiness to learn and invest in technological solutions “, states Zika Ivanovic.
In addition, they have regular, but smaller jobs in Croatia and Slovenia, and mostly work for companies in Belgrade, for which they print books and magazines, but also accompanying materials, blocks, catalogs, labels, calendars, stickers, etc. They also work a lot for the brewing industry.
The recommendation, he says, is the most important in this business, ie information “by word of mouth”, but also praise.
Today, it is very difficult to find professional staff
They currently have ten employees. There were more of them, but the technology contributed to the machines taking on a greater burden of work, so the need for workers is less.
This family company shares the fate of other craft companies as well, because there are not enough professional staff, mostly graphic technicians. The problem arose when the Graphic School in Ćuprija was closed, and the students came to the printing house for internships earlier, after finishing school, so some of them were lucky enough to stay and work there.
Now, due to the fact that only in Belgrade there is a school for that job, it is difficult to find a quality worker from the profession in the area, he points out. That is why they get along in various ways, educate and inform, and he divided the work with his brother, so Mića follows the part of the work that concerns technology, and he is in charge of commercial affairs and contracts.
In the printing house for 12 hours a day
“We are at work every day for 10 or 12 hours, sometimes I don’t even feel like a boss, but maybe we wouldn’t have been able to do all this if we weren’t so present in the printing house, because our idea was for one of us to always be there.” says Zika and adds that their wives are also support in this business and work with them in the company.
Although this is the second generation to do this job, Zika says that, for now, there is no chance that any of the heirs could take over the job. “We still have about 15 years until retirement, and the children are still small, we will see if in the meantime some of them will be interested in this job,” he points out.
The pandemic has changed the way it works and prices, but they believe that the press is still in fashion
Material is procured from abroad, and as the crisis due to the pandemic has affected that sector as well, the prices of materials, raw materials and transport are now more expensive, and delivery deadlines have been extended. This means that one must think in advance and order the goods earlier so that there is no delay with the work, he states. With all that in mind, they try not to raise prices and hope that this problem is only temporary.
This year, however, the Ivanovićs do not plan any investments, because in previous years they have invested a lot in machines in order to facilitate and modernize the work, but at the same time contribute to the quality of the product. The pandemic and state of emergency last year caught them off guard, but it didn’t affect the business too much. During the pandemic, there was a need to hire two more workers. There is work, says the interlocutor, and opportunities are opening for business expansion, both when it comes to expanding the number of clients and when it comes to introducing new technologies.
He sees as a special value that the workers – among whom the youngest is 28 years old, and the oldest is 43 years old – are ready to adapt and learn new things, new technological processes and use the benefits of social networks, which they will work on in the coming period. Aware of digitalization and the fact that it is now more and more computerized and accessible via phones, tablets, computers, they believe that printing will not go out of fashion.
“We also thought about it, but as some of our associates say, the printing time has not passed, because our man is used to taking a pencil, circling it and flipping through it,” believes the owner of the Zlatna knjiga printing house.
Source: BIZlife magazine / Jelena Andrić
Source: BIZlife by www.bizlife.rs.
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