Twenty Years, and We Are Amused More and More
This year, the Aimtec company is celebrating even twenty years since the foundation. It was one of the main reasons we met with Jarda (J) and Roman (R). We talked about where the company has moved within the ten years, and where it is heading further. And, if it is interesting for you, keep on reading. It is worthwhile… and I do not write it only for the reason I am their colleague and employee.
What brought you to the idea to found a company? Have you ever regret your decision?
R: We could see a space in the market, especially in the area of management of internal logistics, and electronic communication. In addition, we had a good mind to try making business in our own way, with different values and strategy. Deloitte, where we worked at that time, was too narrow-minded for us, though, it was a great training. For myself, I never regret this decision.
J: The first ideas came to us even at the previous employer in Plzeň. Then, we agreed it would be no bad to look round the „world“. In this way, we came to Prague. Step by step, we realized that certain things, such as orientation to needs of customers in the area of their key processes, work with know-how and related work with the know-how carriers, and the most valuable assets – employees, could be done differently, but we could not come these changes to life in the corporation. The question whether we ever regret the decision can be answered simply: „We are amused more and more“.
At present, the Aimtec company delivers to the whole world, even far locations in USA, China, or Africa are no exceptions. Who are you bound to for your success?
R: In particular, to our customers. After successfully implemented projects in Europe, they take us with them to their plants in other continents. This is also applicable to the customers not being strictly managed centrally, and thus, it is not a planned roll-out. Very often, the European plants with our products report the best KPI in the whole group, such as accuracy of stocktaking, number of failures in shipments, traceability audits. Based on this, we obtain demands from the plants in USA or China.
J: perceive this as picking fruits of systematic work and building the brand. Focus not only on the quality of delivered products, but primarily on the delivery quality, which is closely connected with the quality of people. Not least, it is the agile methodology of delivery and development of products, allowing us for effective delivery of projects in ever-changing business environment. We invest considerable amounts to it during the whole twenty years of the company development. This place on the market was not reached by itself. Though, we cooperate with corporations since the beginning, truly active demand came to us some three years ago, since when even foreign headquarters initiate contact with us.
Do you not face opinions of your corporate customers that you are small and cannot provide them with global support?
R: Naturally, we face this objection relatively frequently. The western corporations have been treated by IT companies, and believe the projects consume thousands of man-hours, and teams of tens or hundreds people are required for the implementation of a single system. We even encountered the opinion that our projects are suspiciously fast, and in addition, too cheap! However, we created inputs and proofs for the customer managers to understand that a pilot and clearly targeted project can be achieved in a lean team within 3–4 months, we forward knowledge on the next 2–3 instances to internal teams, and within two years, global roll-out can happen in all critical locations. In this way, we are able to deploy systems with our DCIx team in 35–40 locations at various customers. Yet, the growth is a part of our strategy, in 2020, we plan to be able to implement twice as much projects as a minimum.
J: If we are to standardize processes across the group, and we work using the roll-out method, we must be prepared to follow the group all over the world. And, if we are to forward the know-how and bring local experience back to the central template, the work of the central team is the most effective solution. We are able to provide this service right from Plzeň. For the same reason, our goal is to keep central dedicated teams in Aimtec in the area of follow-up support, which executed the initial implementations, and know the environment of the specific customer. Introduction of threeshift operation and consistent knowledge of specific environment can flexibly resolve incurred incidents all over the world within tens of minutes, which is an absolute must in the sector of automotive industry suppliers.
We are talking about a number of projects on the whole globe. Are you trying to get strategic partners, who would help you with business and implementation abroad?
R: Yes, the development of the partner network is a part of our long-term strategy. Though we are able to support our global customers using the Aimtec Support service in the 24/7 service, presence in Asia, and American continent will be inevitable. The ideal model is the Aimtec type company, with similar strategy and values. We are searching ways, how to identify and address such subjects. At present, we cooperate with companies in Poland and Finland. Truly functional partners are internal teams at our corporate customers, such as in Eissmann or Delphi. After initial implementations by common Aimtec and partner/customer team, the DCIx product can be deployed by their own qualified team to other locations.
J: The readiness for partner business proves the advanced nature of the product, and has significant influence on its further quality. If the product should be supported by a partner, it must in much higher extent be understandable from „outside“ the Aimtec, which logically puts further requirements for quality of documentation, support of its development, resolution of emergency situations, as well as for the development of the implementation methodology, which is a guarantee of successful deployment.
Key asset of the Aimtec company is the represented by its people. How do you keep the high crossbar in this area when providing services to your customers?
R: To be very brief, I prefer the HCM acronym over the HRM. All our products and services are based on people. The care of employees is also about people. I am confident we have one of the best teams in the human resources area. In addition, we put great emphasis on the company values and the atmosphere, which is related with sharing the company vision. And they are the people, who come with innovations of products, help in creating the vision, and change, if needed, the internal processes so that the Aimtec becomes better and more competitive. Several foreign customers have confirmed they selected Aimtec for cooperation thanks to the approach of our workers. I am proud of my colleagues.
J: As I stated already, one of the reasons we left from the corporate world was the work with know-how and related work with people, including their involvement in the creation of company values. On the other hand, I will not hide we are demanding during the selection, and look for such collaborators into our team, who search for this „benefit“. If we are to be prepared for providing services on the top level, we have to be able to prepare specialists within a short time, who can compare favourably in the international rivalry, and are able convince about our competence on the other side of the globe. In order for them to be able to absorb large amount of information and obtain required skills, we offer a sophisticated system of education, and transfer of experience and knowledge.
What is the Aimtec company strategy in relationship with trends in IT area, in particular, in the production, logistics, and integration?
R: During the last years, the Aimtec strategy has moved significantly, in the connection with digitization, cloud, and IoT. The market demands ever-higher flexibility and a comprehensiveness. Decision making and implementation of requirements is more and more complex and stressful for the customer managers. In addition, the IT resources are extremely wanted. Our original values do no change, however, the following goals are being added. Incorporate our know-how in larger extent to products, which will have the form of the own SW, useful documentation, preset templates, and e-learning courses. Offer the customer with products in the form of service, like useful, bounded, specialized components with high added value, available using standard open API interfaces.
J: In the twenty years we made sure, it is not the most important to be the largest, but the fastest. We want to build our competitive advantage as a supplier of understandable flexible solutions with high benefits and short time of return.