“We are subcontractors,” says Managing Director Michael Wiszniewski. “We don’t make our own products; we produce boats for whoever wants our service. We see this as a good business.”
The Managing Director is well familiar with the business since he was a child. “My father Jozef Wiszniewski is the founder of Slepsk and I already went to meetings when I was 15. During the week I worked here and I studied on weekends. Then I became Production Director and held the position for five years. After our main Director left the company in the course of the economic crisis I took over five years ago.”
Initially Slepsk concentrated on products for the local construction industry. Thanks to the quality and reliability of its services, the company took a positive development and expanded the scope of activities to include yachts, a strategic move as there was a huge demand for fiberglass production.
“We signed a contract with Sea Ray and that helped us grow,” explains Mr. Wiszniewski. “We invested in enlarged facilities and in the latest production technology and kept growing. Then we signed a contract with Bayliner, which was most important for us as it was the time of the crisis, a difficult time for us. We had a staff of 713 in 2007, in 2011 we had 390, now we have 616 to 620. After all, the crisis was helpful for us to see who we are and where we are, my father and I checked everything.”
Today, Slepsk has two production sites, the headquarters in the outskirts of Augustów and a smaller one downtown. “We manufacture motor and sailing boats, parts or complete, to the highest quality standards. We have everything in-house, from engineering and laminating through to assembly,” explains Mr. Wiszniewski. “Laminating and assembly are our core business, but we also have our own upholstery, woodworking, steel shop, windscreens, warehouse, logistics or transport. We have invested in a new assembly building and a five-axis CNC milling machine to produce molds for boats from 4 to 16 meters in length. We are going to invest in a new logistics open space storage where we can store all the boats. Sometimes there are 100 boats waiting here.”
Price is a major advantage, adds Mr. Wiszniewski. “We can offer low prices for laminating and with our mixed calculation we can work at a low price, we are strong at that. Moreover, we are a 100% family business, we work together very hard. We work at weekends and we invest private money, if necessary. Customers appreciate our full services, we are subcontractors of many well-known boat companies including Bayliner, Quicksilver, Sunliner, Fiskars and S-yachts. 69% of our contracting partners come from the USA. More than 90% of our turnover of 15.3 million EUR is achieved by export. Products for the European market are completely made here in Slepsk and we ship the boats to every country in Europe. Most of them are shipped to the Scandinavian countries, which account for 30% of exports, France and Germany together account for 10%.”
In the past Slepsk made use of newspapers and trade fairs such as Boot in Düsseldorf for establishing new contacts. Today, word of mouth is the most important marketing tool. “There are five companies which want to work with us, but we do not have enough capacities, we are full now,” says Mr. Wiszniewski. “Nonetheless, we remain open to new business opportunities. We have a good level of quality and we would like to concentrate on engineering and molds, then we would be more efficient.”