My first real visit to Slovakia was during summer 2005. I had just joined Peikko and we had realized we need to start looking for new factory areas in the Central Eastern Europe. The long-term cost competitiveness and the potential growth around led us to look places in Slovakia. The first trips were a bit awkward – roads were tiny and not in good condition, the industrial areas by the roads were Sovjet-style and a lot of them abandoned. The country was just about to start booming, again, the boom was not yet visible.
At Peikko we did start activities in an old and bad-quality steel-cassette hall in October 2005: there were a leader and a handful of workers. That was a small start and things were for sure not under control at the beginning. But things were growing only bit by bit so it was kind of ok way. Then, in 2007 we started a construction of large-scale greenfield investment, with focus of a major Deltabeam production center for Central Europe.
Just recently I drove again to our factory site at a small community of Kralova nad Vahom from Vienna Airport. I suddenly realized how much had really changed in just less than 7 years. And moreover, the road was almost all highway now, like the road in Austrian side to Slovakia. The amount of new buildings was striking – once I was really focusing to look around me while driving.
Also, at Peikko Slovakia things lookeed different. We have almost 200 Deltabeams manufactured every week in Slovakia, with several other product lines serving the neighboring markets as well. There are almost 200 highly qualified workers in our modern offices and factory, and things are running forward. Only this year we are investing more than 1 M€ to further improve facilities and technology.
But it is so easy to NOT to notice the difference. This is the human behavior – the glass is always half-empty, never half-full. Road to Slovakia has gone through major, major improvements, so have the operations of Peikko in this beautiful country of Slovakia.