2014-09-16

“Klaipėdos baldai” – the company that celebrates its 60th anniversary, projects the record braking sales

“I believe that even if “Klaipėdos baldai” produced matches, it would be one of the global leaders in the sector of matches’ producers”, smiled Egidijus Milčius, the head of SBA furniture group that owns one of the biggest and most modern furniture producers in our country – “Klaipėdos baldai”.

Established in place of former factory of match-sticks the company today celebrates its 60th anniversary. This year it expects to reach the record-braking volume of sales amounting to LTL 210 million. Back in 1954 these expectations were significantly lower – the “Klaipėdos baldai” factory was expected to produce about one thousand wardrobes per year (the products of a single type, which were of simple construction and easy to dismantle).

Horses stuck in mud were no obstacle to become the leaders

“Ability to quickly adapt to a constantly changing situation, investments and employees striving for perfection”, told E. Valentinavičius, when asked to point out the most important reasons for “Klaipėdos baldai” success.

“Klaipėdos baldai” saw radical changes since the very establishment. At first carriages pulled by horses used to be the major transport within the company – the first enterprise in Lithuania, which had very specific specialization and which arranged the stream production. “Having strayed from the road the horses used to get stuck in mud up to their belly and employees had to spent half of the day to pull them out”, kept on telling Vidas Mišeikis, the Director General of “Klaipėdos baldai”.

However, it did not prevent the Klaipėda-based company from becoming the leader of furniture production and wood processing sector within a single decade. In 1963, the company reached the output of 20,000 wardrobes per year or almost one third of total wardrobes produced in Lithuania at that time and successfully introduced the production of bedroom furniture.

Yet another step forward in terms of quality was recorded in the early ninth decade of the last century, when “Klaipėdos baldai” factory was renovated. At that time the factory produced extremely popular bedroom furniture sets “Guboja”, “Ugnė”, “Banga”, etc., which were recognised both by the consumers and experts. One of the products of that time – the bedroom furniture set “Zunda” – used to beautify almost every third apartment in Lithuania.

The beginning of independence was not easy to the entire Lithuanian industry, including “Klaipėdos baldai” factory. Still, unlike many other factories “Klaipėdos baldai” managed to successfully change the trend of activity and avoided major shocks. The company was privatised in few phases and in 1993 changed the records into AB “Klaipėdos baldai” with the major shareholder – concern SBA.

The concern SBA is a strategic investor who administers one of the largest business groups in Lithuania. This group comprises 26 local and foreign companies. The main spheres of SBA activity include production of furniture and consumer goods, and retail trade in furniture.

“Klaipėdos baldai” – the leader of that time in bedroom furniture production – quickly developed a range of production. In 1992, the company started production of office furniture, in 1993 – kitchen and lobby furniture, and the following year it opened a new workshop of lounge furniture.

Investments in technologies

“The company “Klaipėdos baldai” means the beginning of common path both to SBA furniture group and the whole SBA concern. It is the cornerstone of the entire structure, the example for construction of new factories and renovation of old ones. “Klaipėdos baldai” represents the beginning of history of the entire SBA concern and factory’s success became the powerful impetus to the success of the SBA”, told E. Valentinavičius.

Today “Klaipėdos baldai” is one of the largest and most modern furniture producers in the country. At present the company is engaged in the production of carcass furniture covered with natural wood veneer, which is exported to almost 40 countries around the globe – from Western Europe or North America to Hong Kong, Qatar or Taiwan. More than 90% of the company production is sold abroad.

It was introduction of innovations that helped the company in Klaipėda to establish itself in the global market. Investments in technologies reached LTL 6.5 million last year and this year the projected investments amount to LTL 9.3 million.

“The only way to become able to compete on a global scale is the efficient work. To be honest – people from Klaipėda were aware of that from the very establishment of the factory. In 1959, when the “Klaipėdos baldai” factory started to implement the policy of economisation of material, the range of production rocketed by 42.7% – the number, which was hard to imagine at that time. This trend is preserved until our days through development of the most modern, advanced technology that meets the “clean production” standard”, and through introduction of state of the art equipment and innovations”, the head of SBA furniture company explained.

“Klaipėdos baldai” was the first furniture producer in the country, which certified its environmental management system according to the international standard ISO 14001. Since 2010, the company is certified by NEPCon and complies with the FSC requirements. The furniture is produced only from certified timber – in this way “Klaipėdos baldai” supports a proper use of woods, i.e. the timber comes only from the responsibly managed forests. 

Attention to employees

“Speaking of a business we often stress the investments, modern technologies, and equipment. Sure, they are important. But here in Klaipėda we pay the greatest attention to the employees”, said the head of the SBA furniture group.

According to E. Valentinavičius, it is technology that gives impetus to the company. However, the perpetuum mobile of the enterprise is the employees – their professional capacity, curiosity, willingness to learn, diligence, and economical thinking.

“Klaipėdos baldai” may always rely on its employees. The last six decades of the company’s history saw many cases, when the furniture producer had to adapt to the changes in market conditions, to quickly introduce new technologies and learn to use them, and to change the trend of production. People from Klaipėda successfully responded to these challenges and even more – they shared the experience, skills and knowledge with employees of other companies within the SBA furniture group”, the head of SBA furniture group told.

Today “Klaipėdos baldai” has almost 750 employees. Almost 10% of them have been employed in the company for more than 20 years and almost 20% have the employment experience of more than 10 years.

The average salary at the company significantly exceeds the national rate. The employees of the company and their family members may use the sports hall free of charge, catering of the employees is partially compensated, medical services are rendered free of charge by a local specialist, premiums are paid on the occasion of personal anniversary, support is offered to large families and victims of accidents.  The company has its own basketball and volleyball teams, it organises annual sport events, bowling tournaments, and various free excursions.

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