- Yuri Viktorovich, a few years ago the plant was launched with a unique rated output: 30 thousand tons of calibrated rolled products per year and 27 thousand tons of fasteners. What was the reason for the belief that all these products will find demand?
- Before starting this project, we, of course, studied the Russian market of fasteners thoroughly. The volume of this market is measured not in tens, but in hundreds of thousands of tons per year. According to various estimates, 60-70% of the demand for fasteners is met by imports. Therefore, we understood that we can also gain market share. Another question is that this is a niche market, and the products that we collectively call "fasteners" also show a fairly differentiated picture. The main thing was to properly understand in which particular segment of the fastening market we should concentrate our efforts and resources. I think that we were not mistaken in engaging in high-strength fasteners. We built a plant with the most modern equipment and technologies with upgrated to offer state-of-the-art laboratory center. We have all the conditions in order to produce sophisticated fasteners and fasteners with the highest characteristics, including one that has not been produced in our country before. And we are actively engaged in its development. But, of course, this process is not simple, it requires the diversion of significant resources. But it is in the production of complex types of fasteners that we see our main task. At the same time, we, of course, produce and will continue to manufacture widely demanded on market traditional fasteners, but at a new level of quality.
- How much is the Russian market dependent on imports and how did the fact that the plant was launched affect this situation?
- In my opinion, today there are two types of imports on the fasteners market. There is import, which I would call forced. This is when a consumer simply cannot buy fasteners in Russia due to the fact that this type of fastener is not produced at all or is being made, but does not meet the quality requirements. And there is import caused by the fact that Russian manufacturers of fasteners cannot satisfy all demand at affordable prices.
Our main task is to produce fasteners of such a quality that domestic enterprises do not have to think about import
In the first case, it is mainly about imports from the West, in the second - from the East. The BERVEL plant contributes to solving the problem of substitution of both of these types of imports. But we still consider priority work in the first direction, in the development of sophisticated fasteners with the highest quality requirements. It is absolutely unacceptable, in my opinion, that in our country some consumers are forced to buy fasteners abroad. Our main task is to produce fasteners of such quality so that domestic enterprises do not have to think about import, and our position on the global market was determined only by the economic feasibility of our presence there, both for us and for foreign consumers. Ideally, there should be an impeccable quality of the product, and then both consumers and manufacturers will decide where to sell and buy them — within the country or abroad, for this there are market laws and criteria for the economic security of their own production.
- Production of fasteners - is it a high-tech production? How often do novelties appear, innovative developments are introduced in the production of the product and the equipment involved in its manufacture?
- People far from our production traditionally believe that manufacturing of fasteners is something very simple. Bolts, nuts, washers - What the big deal is?! In fact, the production of fasteners is a technologically very complex and high-tech production, which should always use the most advanced achievements of both metallurgy and mechanical engineering. High-strength fastener plant BERVEL has a full production cycle: from metal preparation to coating. This is hot galvanizing that has already become traditional, and zinc flake coating that is completely new to the Russian market.
Development and implementation of mass production of innovative products and technologies is one of the main directions of BERVEL’s activities
We constantly conduct research work together with specialists from various scientific institutes. The development and implementation of mass production of innovative products and technologies is one of the main areas of our activity. We regularly introduce new types of products to the market. For example, we were the first in Russia to master the mass production of fasteners made of weather-resistant steel. As the name implies, weather-resistant steels are not subject to corrosion and therefore do not require any additional protection. Weather-resistant steel products do not need coatings. Recently, in construction, for example, in bridge building, they began to use metal structures made of weather-resistant steel. Such designs do not require painting, and this is their main advantage over traditional steel grades. This is especially important for remote and inaccessible regions. In our opinion, in the future, these products should also be of interest to other industries.
- While preparing for the conversation with you, we found out that the enterprise has its own double line railway. Please tell us in more detail what its purpose is, what points it connects.
- First of all, we need our own railway line for delivering raw materials to our production: cold-drawn steel in coils and round bars. Well, of course, for the shipment of finished products.
- How in general is the company logistics policy based?
- One of the important advantages of our company is its good location. This was one of the criteria when choosing the place of its construction. The plant is located almost on the federal highway M5, which makes deliveries by road very convenient. Most consumers of fasteners and calibrated rolled products are used to getting goods from us exactly by road. At the same time (as I said above), we also have the opportunity to receive and ship products by rail. As for in-plant logistics, here we have almost all production concentrated “under one roof”. Now we are commissioning a new warehouse building with a finished product processing area. This will allow us to significantly increase the level of efficiency and quality of supplies of fasteners to our consumers and this is one of our priority tasks.
- Speaking of large industries, it is impossible to ignore the main industry-wide trend - digitalization. Tell us about what processes are automated at the plant, whose equipment and software are used, and what results has it already brought?
- Since the beginning of the design of our plant, the issue of automation and digitalization of all processes has been one of top priority. We immediately laid the entire infrastructure to ensure the automation of production processes. Then the most difficult began - the introduction of a production management system. We made our choice in favor of the Russian product 1C ERP. These are obvious advantages in technical support compared to import solutions, and relative ease of use. Now we can already say that this choice was fully justified. The rules-based accounting, inventory and supply management is fully implemented, the implementation of quality management and the implementation of technical and preventive maintenance in final preparations, and, of course, the main purpose of any ERP system is to plan the entire activity of the enterprise. According to the implementation schedule, we will see the full functioning of the entire system by the end of this year.
- What are the main problems you have to face (legal, logistics, production, etc.)?
- Like any enterprise, we also have enough problems. The main issue is the complexity of production planning. As I said above, I hope that with the full implementation of ERP we can handle it.
- Metallurgy is traditionally considered a polluting industry, what environmental programs work at the enterprise?
- Although the plant belongs to the metallurgical industry, we are nevertheless closer to metalworking, that is, to deeper processing. Given that the BERVEL is a completely new enterprise, for putting into operation the rigorous requirements were applied. We have our own storm water treatment plant, chemical treatment station, industrial smoke treatment system and so on. In addition, we have a system of internal environmental control. Well, both the federal and regional supervisory authorities control offers no chance.
- A typical misfortune of many industries is the lack of qualified personnel. Have you faced the challenge? Where do you get specialists, what is drive strategy in the personnel policy at the enterprise?
- The presence of qualified workers and engineering personnel in the region was also one of the criteria for choosing the place of construction of the plant. But given the fact that the plant was equipped with the most modern equipment, it is almost impossible to find a sufficient number of employees with working experience on similar equipment in any region. Of course, we paid a lot of attention to the training of our employees and constantly continue training. And this is not only about equipment operators. Practically all technical personnel have to learn constantly. Indeed, not only equipment, but also production technologies are new, so “ready-made” specialists cannot be envisaged.
- How do you see the plant in the foreseeable future (new markets, expanding the product range, increasing production volumes)?
- In the future, we always see the development of new types of products, and, as a result, new markets. However, but the reverse is also true: access to new markets forces us to master new types of fasteners. Since the BERVEL plant has unique equipment and the most advanced technologies, we also consider it a priority to develop high-tech fasteners: complex products, high-strength products with advanced types of coatings.
Yuri Medvedev General director BERVEL