“The family business is doing well. After all, my brother and I are better tuned to work with each other than most – at the weekend we swap our suits for folk costumes and pick up our violin bow and cimbalom beaters. People in Moravia are warmer, more heartfelt. A handshake is binding, there’s no getting out of it.”
From a fitter in a van to the founder of a successful manufacturing company
It all started in 1993 when Josef Zlomek got his trade licence to work as a fitter. He invited his brother and a few colleagues into his business, bought three vans, and together they fitted doors throughout the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Later it occurred to him that he could start to purchase doors, have them ready in stock, and varnish them as customers required. Next it dawned on him that he could manufacture some of the products himself. In 2004 the family bought the buildings of the former barracks in Hodonín and started to manufacture doorframes there. And after a few complications with their then-supplier of doors, the company then set about making their own doors.
“Speaking about small companies, we’re the only one that manufactures both. Small companies mostly focus either on doors or on doorframes,” says the company’s director Martin Zlomek, describing the difference between his company and those of his competitors. They’re able to manufacture both products at a high quality and for an affordable price. Their customers are mostly Czech households.
An outside view helps
The company’s founder Josef Zlomek has now passed on his ‘baby’ to his sons, and only supervises the business. In addition to following their father’s advice, his sons decided to draw upon experience from other sources as well. JIC offers services to companies throughout the region, so the JIC PLATINN programme constituted welcome support even for the Hodonín-based door manufacturer. The programme involves bringing together a company and a selected expert, with whom the company’s representatives tackle a particular business problem. In this case, the detached view of the expert helped improve internal processes and made them more transparent. The company also created a new job – a developer.
“Until then it wouldn’t have occurred to us to consult anyone external about company matters. When my brother and I joined the company, we were both fresh graduates and didn’t have any experience from other businesses. So being able to meet a trustworthy person with whom we could discuss a lot of business-related matters really helped us,” says Martin Zlomek about the benefits of consultations. The calculations of the expert revealed, among other things, that efficiencies gained in production were being squandered in the logistics of moving and preparing materials. Since the existing premises did not offer a solution, management decided to build a new production plant in order to unite the manufacture of doorframes and doors.
Managers on weekdays, musicians at weekends
The production plant will remain in the Hodonín District of South Moravia. At first, the company regarded the location of their headquarters in Hodonín as a handicap. However, today it perceives the town’s location at the heart of an imaginary triangle Brno–Bratislava–Vienna as an advantage. Since the accession of the Czech Republic into the Schengen Area and the opening of borders, the company’s position – not far from the respective borders – has facilitated trade with its neighbours.
“Moreover, we find Moravia much heartier and more informal, more honest than the rest of the country,” declares Martin Zlomek. “A handshake deal is always binding here.” Great trust is also given to the company’s employees, as they’re not paid per-piece but on a flat-rate basis. Furthermore, everyone in the area knows each other. “When someone applies for a new post, if you want to find out more about them you can always find some mutual acquaintance whom you can ask.”
Martin Zlomek also meets his colleagues at folklore events. He’s the first violinist of the cimbalom group Grajcar. “It’s a great way to relax. Sometimes we hardly get any sleep for a few consecutive nights because of the concerts, but it’s worth it. Getting off the corporate treadmill and clearing one’s head with a glass of good wine at the weekend is an incredible way to revitalise the soul,” offers Martin Zlomek about life as a musician. His brother Petr sees it the same way – he plays the cimbalom in Grajcar. “We’re both easy-going, so we don’t mind spending so much time together,” says the older brother. Recently they even set out for Dubai to play a concert for their compatriots. On stage they followed the pop band No Name.
Even door manufacturers are facing automatisation
The employees are similarly contented. The family business has a low employee turnover, and some important people at the company have been employees since the very beginning. The current production manager joined the company when it moved to the former barracks in Hodonín. And one man who started as a fitter with Josef Zlomek in the 1990s has been the production foreman for many years. The company’s employees meet informally at summer barbeque parties. Sometimes they even hold a work meeting in the kitchen. “Not far from our company there’s a smoke house. Whenever they cure meat, we like to organise a meeting,” says Martin Zlomek with a smile.
At present, one great challenge the company is facing is automation. As part of the DIGIMAT project, Zlomek was one of the companies whose needs were identified by JIC in a feasibility study. The objective of the research was to map the innovation capacities of manufacturing companies in South Moravia. “Thinking about the current shortage of people on the labour market, I’d prefer automating everything,” says the company’s director jokingly. “Since we’re going to build a new plant, anyway, we’re considering innovating the relocated manufacturing facilities.”
What’s going to happen with the current premises? “We’d like to create here an interior design and production department. Today we’re already employing people who only deal with furniture. Customers increasingly want not only doors, but also entryways, kitchens or living rooms that share the same design aesthetic. So now we’re able to design and produce customised furniture for them. In future, we’re going to strengthen this division,” plans Martin Zlomek.
od prvních namontovaných dveří
zemí, kam byly dodány dveře Zlomek
217 modelů dveří
vyrábí firma v současné době
Zlomek s.r.o. is a family company specialised in the manufacture of high-quality interior doors and doorframes. The company has two production plants, sales agencies in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria, and showrooms in Brno, Břeclav and Bratislava. In 2016 the company came second in the competition Company of the Year in the South Moravian Region.