The events of last year gave impetus to forced changes in business strategy. Sanctions restrictions, fierce competition - active restructuring is taking place in a turbulent mode. Nevertheless, the domestic industrial sector has shown its readiness to work successfully in new and challenging conditions. Sergey Lebedev, General Director of Teploluxe, tells by the example of the company how to adapt to such conditions and reach a new level.
Sales growth in the period of transformation
We are looking forward very positively. Despite the difficult situation with raw material supplies and reorganization of logistics chains, we managed to maintain and even increase production. This was possible because we started our journey to technological and raw material sovereignty several years ago.
As a result, today:
our products do not have to wait from abroad;
our prices are almost independent of exchange rates;
our development and support center communicates in Russian and is located at the factory.
In addition, we are actively investing in technologies that allow us to detect deviations in product quality in a timely manner. For example, our laboratory is equipped to simulate both real and extreme operating conditions for our products. A high degree of automation of assembly operations and conveyor assembly allow us to minimize the human factor in our production processes.
The main principle for us is transparency of all business processes related to quality management.
That is why we are actively implementing digitalization tools, for example, we have completely moved away from paper media and switched to electronic databases. At the moment, we are actively integrating the processes of the quality management system in all divisions of the company. Our goal is not only to detect substandard products at every stage of production, but also to eliminate the very possibility of their manufacture.
For certain product categories, such as underfloor heating, we have implemented 100% control of special characteristics of cable heaters. Thanks to this, in 2022 we faced only 27 warranty cases out of 0.5 million products sold. Each case has been worked out and measures have been implemented to prevent the defect from recurring.
We work with the introduction of both brand new and updated products based on components manufactured and purchased in the Russian Federation, which were previously supplied from abroad. Almost all components for cables are produced in Russia: both metals and plastics.
There are, of course, specific products such as high-temperature cables, the materials for which were imported from Europe and Asia. At the beginning of 2022, the company experienced some difficulties due to the refusal of European and Japanese companies to continue working with Russia. But the market is wide, and we found companies in Russia that agreed with us to develop and establish production of insulating plastics with increased resistance to temperature effects.
Thus, analogs appeared, which now even exceed the characteristics of the materials whose supplies were stopped.
Since last year, the plant has switched to insulating cables with new Russian-made thermoplastic elastomers that meet international quality standards.
Development of new innovative products
Speaking about electronics, things are not so unambiguous here. For some time we had problems related to the supply crisis and the global deficit of chips. This concerned both logistics and the general shortage of electronics worldwide. We develop and manufacture the products ourselves, but the chip chips are sourced from other countries. "Teplolyuks" had to actually reinvent its products on a new electronic platform in extremely short terms: re-divide the boards and rewrite the programs.
The difficulties that arose required new investments, as we had to buy more expensive components and contract for a longer period of time. But we see good growth, because the quality has not deteriorated, and the resulting shortage of electronics due to the withdrawal of Western competitors from the market we cover with our range: for example, our controller for controlling de-icing systems for roofs, outdoor areas and heating pipelines is now almost the only solution available in Russia, which is fully guaranteed and supported by the manufacturer. And there is simply no more popular leakage protection system than our Neptun.
We are among the first in the world to introduce digital radio-frequency NFC marking of underfloor heating products to ensure exceptional traceability of the chain of creation and fate of each product to provide the best service and warranty for our customers.
We produce products that are completely new to the market and present the latest innovations to support our optimistic outlook for the near future. For example, an innovative line of warm floors based on heating mats "Teplolyuks Liberte" - the product has a unique set of functional characteristics, high resistance to overheating and the possibility of installation under furniture.
R&D-center of the company annually develops new types of products, including all types of electric underfloor heating, de-icing systems, ground freezing protection in freezing shops and snow melting for ramps, roofs and open areas, as well as systems and components for protection against water leaks. Group Atlantic Teplolyuks products are available in major DIY chains, marketplaces, and are popular with real estate developers, installation companies, large distributors, and municipalities.
Last year we formalized acts of origin expertise in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This allows us to issue ST-1 certificates of origin, confirming that the shipped products are indeed Russian-made.
Among other things, this has helped to preserve the possibility of exporting our high-tech products from Russia, and thus we have not lost our customers abroad. In particular, the Group Atlantic Teplolyuks plant started regular shipments of underfloor heating made in Russia to China in 2023.
Adaptation of employees to new processes
To support employees and adapt them to such changes, we have launched various training programs: they are aimed at developing leadership skills, improving work efficiency, simplification, and increasing productivity. We hold trainings, master classes, and organize group projects.
Thus, as part of the Lean management training program, special training modules were introduced, the main task of which was to develop self-learning and experience sharing within teams. Thus, in 2022-2023, more than 550 people mastered the new training programs.
In 2023, another project was launched - "School of Leaders". These are group internal and external trainings, experience exchange between employees of related departments, self-study with the help of e-courses and special literature offered by the company as part of the corporate library.
Based on one of the main principles - development of professionalism - we offer our production, warehouse, maintenance and equipment repair masters to learn more about the management profession. For this purpose we have launched the project "Master's School", which includes both professional and applied knowledge and improvement of areas aimed at the development of personal qualities.
Our company applies a truly individual approach to everyone. The level of satisfaction of our employees at our plant "Group Atlantic Teplolyuks" reached 85% this year.
Using the example of Teplolyuks, we can conclude that today manufacturing companies are much less dependent on Western goods, which allows our manufacturers to provide the domestic market with the necessary products and even open new export directions. But at the same time, the money that companies used to pay abroad for materials and components now stays in Russia.