Tudor Georgescu has been the CEO of Promateris for the past six and a half years, a period in which he guided the sustainable packaging manufacturer through many changes, for both the market and his company. In 2021, the group posted a record revenue growth and an EBITDA increase of 129%, estimating a net profit of EUR 4.3 million in 2022. In light of these developments, we sat down with Tudor Georgescu and asked him the already established questions of the #Call4.0Leaders interview series.
- What projects have you carried out over the past year to make your company’s operations more sustainable and resilient?
I would say that for Promateris 2021 was the year of operational optimizations, since we have implemented several projects in order to increase both our resilience and sustainability. First of all, we have implemented a new ERP program in partnership with the German supplier Theurer, in order to have data available in real time and to help us reduce costs, having a leaner production process. Moreover, resilience comes down to being responsive and agile and that is why, when unexpected disruptions appear on the market, it is important for a company to be able to make quick calls of judgements, to seize opportunities. Secondly, we have installed a line of bio-based industrial waste recycling, which helps us reduce to a minimum our environmental impact and our associated costs of waste. Moreover, since the industry went through a supply chain crisis in the past two years, our focus was on applying a supply chain risk management strategy that helped us smoothly navigate this crisis, which allowed us to ship all our orders in time and even more, enabled our accelerated growth. We implemented a series of actions to increase our resilience in order to mitigate the increasingly frequent market disruptions.
- How can we find the right balance between intelligent machines and human intelligence in the new business reality of accelerated automation and digitalization?
For sure automation will eliminate some jobs in the next decade, but I think the real disruption will affect all of us, through absorbing bigger or smaller portions of all our jobs. Automation has developed significantly in the past years, going beyond routine manufacturing activities, having a transformative role in several industries. We were also a witness of this impactful transformation, seeing several production tasks in the bioplastics sector being replaced by automation. At the same time, we have also noticed a transition of blue-collar employees to different and more “creative” organizational positions. This process was made possible through training programs and reconversion strategies for our colleagues. This could bring a lot of advantages to everyone, and especially to the employees who are now able to perform more fulfilling and challenging jobs.
- Are flatter, more agile structures better equipped to succeed in the new reality than their more traditional and rigid counterparts? How would you describe your organization in this regard?
The adaptability of a flat organization is an important asset, especially in turbulent times like the ones we are going through nowadays. A reduced bureaucracy company will give also leave space for optimizations, initiatives, pro-activity. These are all characteristics that we constantly try to encourage in our organization, to instill them in our DNA. We witnessed in several instances the power of being a reduced hierarchy organization, where employees are more motivated and more empowered. Ultimately this led in better results, increased customer satisfaction, ability to respond fast to challenges and more competent employees. It also fosters cooperation and a state of positive alertness that are required in order to seize opportunities in the market.
- Is the business world evolving from a competition mindset to a co-opetition one? How integrated is your company in this regard and what can you tell us about the partnerships you carried out with other organizations?
For us this is a fairly new business approach that we weren’t able to witness or to implement that often with Romanian partners. On the other hand, we have several partners, especially in Scandinavia, with whom we have developed a series of projects that created synergies and brought advantages to both sides. I think co-opetition mostly requires the right mindset, a good chemistry between the partners and trust. In certain instances, it is difficult to make the switch from compete or cooperate to compete and cooperate. This is not just a matter of mindset and flexibility, but sometimes the context makes it difficult to apply. In the end I think it’s rather a matter of careful consideration, pondering the gain in each situation and deciding according to your business objectives.