The good foundation is the key for success and the persistence of the company
Dejan Colovic, the owner of the company Banja Komerc Bekament
In the current business climate, the most frequently asked question is: How to start one’s own business? There are many courses that teach business skills, the art of negotiation and strategic decision-making. However, in times of constant market changes, it is actually a real challenge to answer the question: How to survive in business? When Dejan Colovic and his family set off on an unpredictable entrepreneurial journey back in 1992, there were no courses and business academies, but after 26 years of experience during which his company grew into a big regional player in the production of materials for finishing construction works, he could be a lecturer on the subject of business success.
Banja Komerc Bekament is one of the most technologically advanced companies in the region, the leader in the production of materials for finishing works in construction that employs 350 people. This company is an example of a successful development path because since the early 1990s, it developed from a warehouse for the sale of construction materials, expanding through the opening of quarries and new facilities for expanding production into a company with a portfolio of 250 products (base coats and impregnations, interior wall paints and materials, facade paints and materials, construction adhesives, styrofoam, ceramic laying system, levelling compounds, mechanical mortars, waterproofing materials, silicones/sealants, polyurethane foam and wood and metal coatings), which are the first choice of construction companies throughout the region. In the last two years alone, three new plants have been opened with the latest automation systems, and further business operation focuses on distribution on the European markets.
When it comes to the construction industry, in recent years its so-called “flourishing” in Serbia has been discussed. How do you see this?
Construction is one of the driving forces of Serbia’s economic development and it follows the positive cyclicality of global trends. In Serbia, there are currently 28,000 active construction sites. The number of issued building permits increased by 11% in the first half of 2018 compared to 2017, with a total of 8,800 building permits issued. Building construction and the construction of business centres and facilities is on the rise, while civil engineering construction, which includes renovation of facilities, is still stagnating. There is still a lot of room for growth and, above all, for raising awareness about energy efficiency and the use of quality materials.
Was it hard to start entrepreneurial business in the unstable 90s?
Family values, tradition and experience are the postulates of business operation that Bekament has been nourishing since its humble beginnings, to this day. We are extremely proud of the fact that my father, mother, brother and I, during 26 years of the company’s existence, have achieved every success through our joint work. Being born under the mountain of Vencac, from which the stone from which marble is produced has been extracted for more than 100 years, well known around the world, was the natural determinant of our path. Apart from being used to build the White House in Washington and many world-famous buildings, marble i.e. calcium carbonate has a wide application in the production of plastics, paints, animal feed, road industry. We had the ambition and we consciously took the risk of the exploitation of stone and the production of ground materials, feeling that when you are at the beginning you cannot lose much. We wanted to turn this business into a tradition, to improve the business for generations, modelled on the good practice of German family businesses. Currently, we have five quarries, but we have also made a step further, starting the finalization of the entire production cycle, the production of interior paints, facade systems, construction adhesives, styrofoam and decorative materials.
What is the position of Bekament on the Serbian market and what makes it different from the competition?
Bekament is predominantly an exporter, and on the Serbian market it is the leader in facade systems. We see room for growth through a wide product range, product quality and brand development that provide assurance to the end buyer. Bekament offers the widest range of products for finishing works in the construction industry, and it offers the industry primarily partnership relations in all the projects conducted by the construction companies on the Serbian market, through constant product development and following global trends in the industry, consulting and project management. The comparative advantage of Bekament is the quarries which ensure the consistently highest quality raw material for all our products and a completely rounded production cycle. All our products are of indisputable quality as evidenced by numerous certificates, including the ETA certificates and ISO certificates – ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 18001.
What are the biggest projects of your company when it comes to Serbia and which projects can you announce in the future?
As a partner, Bekament was involved in the biggest construction projects in both Serbia and the region. I would like to highlight the latest, such as A-block and hotel Hilton, as well as some projects such as the University Complex Belville, Duke’s Gates, TC Kragujevac… One of the company’s pillars of stability is its own projects through which the company builds several tens of thousands of square meters annually. We have just completed the Jasenicka project in Belgrade with more than 15,000 square meters. In less than 3 years, we opened 3 new factories with state-of-the-art automated equipment: a styrofoam factory, a factory for the powder and liquid program, and an automatic warehouse for finished products. With the existing 150,000 tons of products, we raised capacity to as much as 350,000 tons of products annually. In the future, we will continue the process of automation.
What will Bekament do in the coming years and where do you see the company in 5-10 years?
In the next 5 years, our company will be the leader on the CEE market, with the highest quality product range and satisfied customers! We are particularly proud of our employees and we are intensively investing in the development of staff and organization every year through the Bekament Training Centre. This Centre within the factory is a unique place where, every year, about 1500 facade workers, painters, ceramics workers and parquet workers gain professional education about Bekament products and system solutions in order to enrich their knowledge and experience in the field of finishing construction works. An additional challenge for us as a company is the increase in export and the position of the brand on the competitive markets of the European Union and the Russian Federation.
Izvor: BIZLife magazin