EBA Personality - Taras Yurynts, Managing Director of Guldmann-Ukraine.
This month, we hear from Taras Yurynts, Managing Director of Guldmann-Ukraine, sharing his opinions about the current business climate in Lviv and Western Ukraine, and his suggestions for what could be done to improve things over the next few years.
Can we start with an introduction of yourself and an overview of your company? How do you position yourselves on the market?
My name is Taras Yurynts and I am managing director of Guldmann-Ukraine. Our company manufactures steel parts of hospital beds and lifters for handicapped people. These parts are shipped to our head-quarters in Denmark, where they are assembled into a complete product and sold throughout the world. Guldmann Group manufactures high-end products and is the leader on the world market of lifters for handicapped people.
Our largest markets are located in USA and Western Europe, however we also sell to Latin America and the Middle East. Last time, for example, it was an order for mobile lifters to Iran.
Do you have any plans for expansion? What are your growth ambitions?
With regards to our local factory, we are looking forward to producing hospital beds and mobile lifters as complete products here in Ukraine soon. We also started sewing production by moving production of slings for lifters from China to Ukraine. This and next year we will work on increasing its capacity by moving more machinery to Ukraine and hiring more people. Plus, our engineers are getting more and more involved into global engineering programs. We help our colleagues in Danish R&D department to improve our products and make them more competitive. It also has the benefit that the products developed in Ukraine, as a rule, are also manufactured at the Ukrainian factory.
What key market drivers are positively impacting your business?
Being close to the EU countries Western I will say that what was difficult for us was also very hard for our competitors. It gave us the chance to increase our market share. We are optimistic about new markets – Latin America and Canada – majority our sales offices have been set. Russia, China and Australia look quite promising as well. This will bring more work for our Ukrainian factory.
What is your top priorities for the next 12 months?
The top priority is to complete the set-up for future growth. We have introduced an ERP system to manage our operations and are currently working on automating our business processes, procurement in particular. We also have to update our production with quality assurance procedures, which will comply with U.S. FDA requirements.
Which business sectors presents the most interesting investment opportunities in today’s Western Ukrainian market?
Western Ukraine actively develops tourism and business services industries. Considering Lviv proximity to Europe and the fact that many educational institutions are located here, it is worth looking into opportunities brought by abundance of skilled young people, speaking foreign languages. Call-centers, engineering services, QA and testing services, to some extent IT services – those are the areas worth looking at.
What is the most important management lesson you have learned?
A company’s success depends on the people you manage. They will help you to build and grow the organization. Hence, I pay a lot of attention to the people we hire and make sure their values are in line with mine. Sometimes the selection might take a much longer time; however, it helps me to build good working relations and to eliminate a lot of motivational issues in future.
Could you share your business success story?
We managed well during the crises due to hard work on extending our product lines and, as a result, we did not cut personnel. Instead, we kept on hiring additional workers to maintain our growth. Actually, we’ve kept growing since 2004, when we were founded in Ukraine.
The EBA focuses its actions on 7 vectors of economic development- Corruption fighting, Court system and Land reform, Currency regulation, VAT refund activation, Customs Procedures simplification and Technical barriers to trade elimination. Which one(s) so you foresee as the most vital and why?
It will be corruption, since it penetrates the other vectors and society in general and it is quite difficult to eradicate. Corruption is supported by the average Ukrainian, since it assist him in managing through bureaucracy and make things happen faster. Hospitals, schools, law enforcement – you will find it everywhere. When the average Ukrainian stops supporting corruption, the other vectors will be much easier to implement.
What in your opinion can be done to improve investment attractiveness of Ukraine?
First of all, we have to ensure private property rights. Ukrainians, leaving alone foreigners, are not willing to make investments with a payback longer than three years, since they are not sure if they will still own the business after the government is changed. Hence, the majority of business owners get as much as possible from their existing business without allocating necessary investments into long-term company growth. Secondly, there should be more predictability in government policy. Economic rules change frequently and investors are worried whether they will get the expected return. And the last is the legal reform and actions on fight with corruption. Court decisions are not always predictable and it is difficult to defend your rights in today’s system.
What are your personal recommendations for anyone who wants to be successful in business?
Everything starts from inside us. When doing anything, even small job around a house, make it a success. This will form a habit of being successful. Always develop and improve yourself. Constant education will keep you on top of the things. And remember that you are not alone and do your best to share your success with others.