“As a medium player, we have the advantage that we are completely flexible and can respond very quickly to our customers’ requirements,” points out CEO Danilo Skebe. “We don’t have a product catalogue. Almost all our products are custom-made; we develop the products together with individual customers, make a prototype, and when the customer is satisfied, we move into serial production. We have really created a niche market for ourselves. There are many low-price, standard products on the market, which are mostly produced in China. We can’t compete on price alone, so we take on special requests from customers which cannot be fulfilled by the Chinese suppliers. Of course, priceis important; despite the customization service, our prices are competitive, and we also have shorter lead times and faster deliveries.”
Headquartered in Trzin, with production facilities in Kočevje, Rotis produces custom-made components for a wide range of machine applications, such as earth moving equipment, wind power stations, tunnel boring, and mining industry equipment, as well as components for offshore and ship deck machinery.
Slewing bearings make up 75% of its production, but the firm also manufactures gear wheels, bolts, bushes and many other machine parts. High tech production ensures that Rotis maintains its competitive edge, and the company has invested heavily.
“In the past we have invested a great deal in machinery and technical equipment,” says Mr. Skebe. “At the moment the focus is on our new production plant which should be completed by the middle of next year. Investment is naturally a challenge, but it is crucial for the future. We can’t improve our products and service if we don’t have the best and most up-to-date equipment.”
Since the industries that Rotis supplies are generally not present in Slovenia, exports account for 95% of sales, mainly within Europe, although the company does have clients around the world. Rotis was founded in 1991, and is a member of the Rotis Group. It has seen many changes in the market and within the company itself over the years. Mr. Skebe has been with the firm from the outset.
“My inventory number is 002,” he laughs. “The changes and the challenges keep me interested and motivated. I have seen lots of investment, new product developments, new approaches to business, and new markets. The finance crisis of 2008 was difficult; we lost a lot of jobs and we had to more or less start again from zero.”
Despite the challenges, the group as a whole has continued to flourish. With 160 employees, it achieved a turnover of 16.5 million EUR in 2016; it is anticipated that sales will reach close to 18.5 million EUR in 2017. “We planned 17.5 million EUR for this year, but the signs are positive that we will significantly exceed that,” notes the CEO.
Another aspect of its niche service, which has without a doubt contributed to its success, is the focus on customer relationships. “We aim to build longstanding relationships through trust and reliability,” adds Mr. Skebe. “Our customers generally stay with us; our task for the future is to ensure we retain customers through good times and bad.”
Mr. Skebe sees the future quite positively. “We are growing, and things are looking good,” he sums up. “I do have one small concern that the market is a little overheated at the moment. Prices for materials are rising, companies are overbooked in terms of production, and delivery times are being extended. I saw the same thing happen in 2006 and 2007. We must wait until the autumn to see how this will develop. By October, the prospects for 2018 should be clear.”