30 YEARS OF “SO”, NEXT...
Business development strategies
The fates of Ukrainian business and the state are almost the same. The 30-year journey of ITAK coincides with the path of Ukraine’s independence in significant points. Challenges build independence and strong character. That is why the company believes that its current position as a leader in the flexible packaging market is just the beginning.
The beginning was… the thing
While the concept of independence of the state and business most often implies a political sense, the concept of independence unites the paths of the country, business and human beings, based on the psychological sense. That is why the methods and stages of becoming independent are common to the destinies of an individual, business and statehood. It is the ability to set goals and achieve them on your own. This ability has two sides: freedom and responsibility. “In 1991, Ukraine declared its independence, gaining the freedom to choose its own path of development. This freedom was also given to us, young entrepreneurs who had the strength and desire to start our own business.
For independence to become the foundation of a strong entrepreneurial character, it is important for its development to be based on situations where independence is both mandatory and simply forced. Such a situation was in the country in the mid-1990s. 1996-1998 was the period when the Constitution of Ukraine was adopted, and the national currency, the hryvnia, was introduced and established.
“Along with the rest of the country, business has been going through a difficult period, which has become a challenge for our operations. For us, this challenge has become an incentive for development and cultivating our determination. This was facilitated by the vision of good prospects for the packaging business, as the domestic market of packaged products was just entering a phase of active development, and food manufacturers were striving to meet sanitary requirements.
Demand for packaging began to grow and form segments of the packaging market,” analyzes the company’s experience Lyudmila Chekhanovskaya, Deputy General Director of Sales at Itak LLC. “This period saw our first large-scale expansion of production, the start of direct contracts for film supplies, the establishment of systematic work with suppliers, international supply contracts, and the development of new technologies. With the purchase of new equipment, there was a need to increase the complexity and range of the company’s activities,” adds Lyudmila Kompanets, Deputy General Director of Sales of Non-Food Packaging at Itak LLC.
Experience of responsibility at the turn of the century
Ukraine greeted the millennium with the beginning of a political crisis that led to the Orange Revolution. It was a stage of growing national consciousness, a stage of civil society development, and a period of changing market structure. In this difficult time, when the company was forced to fight for the market, it was necessary to focus on expanding its customer base. To meet this strategic objective, “we purchased new equipment, expanded our product range, and focused on improving the quality of production and the quality of the final product,” says Oleg Volkov, Senior Foreman of the Bagging Department. “Of course, this expansion led to an increase in staff. This allowed our company to make an economic contribution to the development of the area through new workplaces, as approximately 70% of our employees were specialists who had been working since the company was founded and who lived in the nearby areas.” The challenging financial and economic period coincided with the planned installation of an extrusion line at the plant. The company successfully coped with these challenges, reaching increased production and sales of SRP films by 2012, expanding the range of films with complex structures, and increasing the base of regular customers by at least four
Sergey Poddubnyak, General Director of Itak LLC:
“This year we announced a major innovation program for our company, which began with the introduction of rotogravure (gravure) printing, the construction of new production facilities, the purchase and installation of the latest equipment, and the approval of a long-term development plan for our company.”
Lyudmila Chekhanovskaya, Deputy General Director for Sales of Food Packaging at Itak LLC:
“Together with the entire country, business was going through a difficult period, which became a challenge for life. For us, this challenge became an incentive for development, nurturing our sense of purpose.”
imes. A large part of the overall success is due to the Itak team. “All the key management of our company has been the same since day one. Directors, heads of production departments, chief engineer, chief accountant, heads of sales departments – these are the people who have been working since the first day of the company’s operation. Many of them joined the company at a young age and grew in their profession and career together with Itak,” says Lyubov Pshenychna, Chief Accountant of Itak LLC.
Changing of the guidelines
In 2013-2014, the security of our country was under threat of military aggression. Ukraine entered an extremely difficult period of testing its independence. Itak experienced a crisis in relations with suppliers and thought about changing its focus, setting a course for the European market. “Economic cooperation with European countries required us to gain new experience. We started forming a team of quality controllers as a separate structural unit of the company with a clear specialization. At the same time, there was a need to create our own production laboratory and
narrow-profile training of quality specialists,” explains Natalya Bevza, director of quality and certification at Itak LLC. – It must be said that our area of production of flexible packaging materials is quite specific in terms of quality control methodology. There are still only a few educational institutions in our country that
Lyubov Pshenichnaya, chief accountant of Itak LLC:
“The directorate, heads of production sites, chief engineer, chief accountant, heads of sales departments – these are the people who have been working since the first day of the company’s operation.”
highly specialized training for quality specialists in a highly specialized manner,” explains Natalia Bevza, Quality and Certification Director at Itak LLC, “It should be noted that our flexible packaging materials production area is quite specific in terms of quality control methodology. So far, there are few educational institutions in our country that provide basic knowledge in this area, while in-depth knowledge and the necessary skills are acquired through on-the-job training. In order to shorten the training process and provide specialists with the opportunity to gain up-to-date knowledge, we have signed contracts with foreign organizations to train future quality specialists. My colleagues and I visited many companies with experience in quality management and control. It was a kind of exchange of experience, during which our employees adopted the European methodology and approaches to building production and laboratory practices. We were building quality management in parallel with the management and accounting structure. The result was the company’s ability to compete in the field of compliance with international norms and standards.”
Implementation of relevant practices
The introduction of the visa-free regime with the EU and the termination of the friendship agreement with Russia in 2017-2018, documented the course of our country’s development. The chosen path of European development has set the national business the task of developing new markets. “Innovation as a driver of development opens up new opportunities for our company, making its products attractive to foreign markets and more competitive,” says Natalia Bevza. – Over the years, the company has focused on improving its testing processes, increasing the capabilities of its production laboratory, innovating new material structures, and cooperating with institutes, research centers and laboratories. 2017 was a significant and key year for us – the company was successfully certified for compliance with international food safety requirements. The inspection was carried out by an international certification authority. The certificate allowed the company to confirm its status as a reliable supplier of safe packaging. Until now, we have been successfully passing regular inspections and audits to confirm the certification.”
Natalya Bevza, Director of Quality and Certification at Itak LLC:
“Innovation as a development driver opens up new opportunities for our company, makes its products attractive to foreign markets and more competitive”
Everything is just beginning
Itak has entered the new decade as one of the industry leaders, having extensive experience of independence and a growing client portfolio, which includes not only Ukrainian but also leading international and European companies. Analyzing the results of participation in industry conferences, the company’s management notes that the professionalism of Itak is highly appreciated not only by clients but also by competitors. “Our determination and perseverance are reflected in our unspoken motto:” It is not enough to reach the top, it is important to always stay on top and strive to conquer new heights.” As an example, “this year we announced the most ambitious innovation programme of our company, which began with the introduction of rotogravure printing, construction of new production facilities, purchase and installation of the latest equipment, and approval of a long-term development plan for our company,” says Sergey Piddubnyak about the implementation of the business strategy. The first stage is almost complete. So everything is just beginning for us. Thanks to the forward-looking approach and healthy ambitions of each of our employees, we can anticipate the expectations of our customers and make our contribution to the development of the industry, market, region of the country and Ukraine.”