The EU’s EU4Business initiative helps succeed in business, and COLLAR-COMPANY, a leading manufacturer of goods for pets, saw that for themselves.
The European Union and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) provided an opportunity for a fundamentally new development of this company as part of EU4Business initiative aimed to support development of small and medium-sized enterprises.
COLLAR is now a world-renowned brand, exporting over 45% of its production output to 60 countries of the world including Poland, China, United States, Spain and many other. In Ukraine, the company works closely with large retail chains: Auchan, Epicenter and Silpo.
They make products not just for cats and dogs but also for other pets. Their product range includes collars, leashes, muzzles, animal clothes, toys, aquarium products, training apparatus, wood fillers, etc.
At a certain point in their history, COLLAR-COMPANY faced situations which had to be dealt with in a complex: first of all, these were operating objectives, inconsistent quality, long production periods, logistics, complex (and sometimes repeating) production processes, insufficient flexibility and speed of order processing, etc.
This complex of tasks prompted the company to find a consultant to help them solve, quickly and efficiently, the problems which began to pile up. In 2017, the company placed this request with the EBRD.
As part of the EU’s EU4Business initiative, the EBRD helps SMEs engage highly-professional local and international consultants capable of ensuring a quality transformation of Ukrainian businesses, and provides grants for a partial (up to 50%) compensation of the consulting project’s costs. In the case of COLLAR-COMPANY, an EBRD representative offered the choice of three alternative consultants in commercial operations with a special emphasis upon cost-effective production methodology.
The choice fell on a Kaizen Partners LLC consultant. The EBRD helped COLLAR-COMPANY develop draft terms of reference for consulting services, and monitored the project’s implementation up until it was completed.
The project took half a year in total, and according to the company’s representatives, its outcomes were simply incredible:
- all production processes were completely revised and improved;
- production output has increased by 50%;
- buffer stock was reduced sevenfold;
- the time from production to delivery has decreased 2.5 times;
- a new motivation scheme was launched, improving interaction and teamwork;
- 25% of production space was freed, with another 20% to be freed in the nearest future;
- employee turnover fell under 5%;
- continuous improvement culture was implemented.
In addition to the foregoing, these joint efforts have significantly enhanced the company’s competitive advantages today: high product quality, wide product range and availability, good international reputation of a reliable supplier, powerful research and development department.
In late February, Matti Maasikas, EU Ambassador to Ukraine, visited COLLAR’s production facility and saw what changes were implemented there.
“It is important for us to understand that projects supported by the European Union truly benefit Ukrainian businesses. And today, COLLAR-COMPANY showed us good results of implementing cost-effective production instruments,” Matti Maasikas said after visiting the company.
“Our team is sincerely grateful to the EU and the EBRD for their support. With every project like that, our production process becomes even more efficient and conformant with the market’s flexible needs. With every innovative product, we bring something new, bright in the life of pet owners and their charges, making them happier together. And we are proud of that,” COLLAR-COMPANY founder Yuri Synytsia said in turn.
As exemplified by COLLAR-COMPANY, small and medium-sized businesses in the Chernihiv Oblast can see for themselves that the European Union’s EU4Business initiative is not some unrealistic, faraway and incomprehensible program. It is a reality that can provide an opportunity for business development. An opportunity to explore new markets, an opportunity to optimize without losing in quality, an opportunity to improve and grow.