When Andriy Zavalnyuk, and his wife and business partner Julia, from Ukrainian furniture distributor Meblevi Technologii approached the EBRD for help building a new website, they were in for a surprise. The bank’s Advice for Small Businesses team suggested that what they really needed was a reorganisation of the company.
The results were immediately impressive. An eight-month project to make its business processes more efficient resulted in a 25% jump in sales and created seven new jobs. All this for a project whose total cost was just over €11 200, half funded by the EU under the EU4Business initiative.
The Meblevi Technologii group employs 118 people and has a turnover of €5.9 million. Based in Kyiv, it specialises in distributing indoor and outdoor furniture, fittings and accessories produced by leading manufacturers.
Scaling up the company through systemisation
‘The company had been on the market for a while, when we realised that certain changes were needed to further develop our business,’ said managing director Mr Zavalnyuk.
‘When we addressed the EBRD, we asked for their help to develop a new website. However, the EBRD’s consultant helped us change our mind and advised us to focus on strengthening the effectiveness of our company.’
The company undertook an organisational development project within the framework of the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses (ASB) programme, funded by the EU under its EU4Business initiative.
After applying express business diagnostics, managers saw they needed more division of responsibilities between workers and managers to become more effective in scaling up the business.
Involvement of local consultant
Business processes were missing, explained Maria Loktionova, CEO of H-ART, a Ukrainian consulting company chosen to work with Meblevi Technologii. Working hand in hand with H-ART over eight months, they systemized and standardized employees’ work.
‘The main challenge was to inspire the employees to ensure that positive changes were possible, make them believe in the project and support it,’ said Ms Loktionova.
Preliminary results included:
- an improved organisational structure
- hiring of an human resources director
- identification of leaders within the company
- 25% increase in sales
- 15% increase in profits
- creation of 7 new jobs.
‘Such projects are especially valuable for small companies in which an owner plays a key role,” said Mr Zavalnyuk, who is also president of Ukraine’s association of furniture manufacturers. “Despite their short duration and small financial investments required, they have a significant impact that can change your life completely’.
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