22 February, 2024

Quality is our tradition


Grzegorz Przepiórka: Mrs. President, Mr. President, this year Final, which is a part of the Yawal Group, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Congratulations! How was the idea for the aluminium stamping plant born? What were the challenges of starting such a business at the time?

Edmund Mzyk: Thank you very much for all the congratulations. The establishment of the aluminium stamping plant was a direct result of our financial success at Yawal. It was because of it that we were able to invest in new and innovative ventures. I was convinced that such an investment would not only bring financial benefits but also allow us to develop new technologies and solutions in the construction industry. Aluminium as a material of the future already seemed a promising field to explore 25 years ago. The challenges were significant - from technological to gaining customer trust and adapting to Western standards in post-1989 Poland. As an entrepreneur, I was always ready to face these challenges, using both our experience and capital to further our development. Our approach was based on Polish engineering thought and the ability to adapt products to the specific needs of customers in Central Europe, not only in terms of quality but also in terms of innovation.

G.P.: What potential has been achieved over these two and a half decades?

Karolina Mzyk Callias: Over the past two and a half decades, innovation has been a lever for growth, enabling us to achieve significant potential. We have committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030, which requires us to continuously improve our production and technological processes. In addition, with the expansion of four state-of-the-art lines, we have expanded our production capabilities to now nearly 30,000 tons of profiles per year, as a result of investments in automation and meticulous quality control. At the same time, through job creation and employee development, our commitment to innovation has also contributed to building value for the local community. This period has been characterized by a constant pursuit of excellence and the development of new solutions, which is reflected in our current success and position in the market.

G.P.: If one considers that in addition to this year's anniversary, Yawal celebrated its 30th birthday three years ago, and successive generations of your family are involved in the company's operation, one can already confidently speak of tradition, which, I suspect, has multiple meanings here. Let's start with the tradition of entrepreneurship. Mr. President, I direct my question first to you, because from you, as the founder of both companies, it all began. Is entrepreneurship something you have in your genes? Did you have to learn it?

E.M Entrepreneurship is a combination of character and experience. You can say that in a sense it is a trait inherent in the genes, but at the same time it requires constant learning and adaptation to changing circumstances. From a young age, I was interested in implementing various business ideas. Working with my parents on the farm made me want to work for myself and be independent in some sense. University was the next step for me. As a student I worked in a student cooperative, I was a member of it, and together with my friends we took on the challenge of cleaning windows at high altitudes. We specialized in this field, developing the business on a semi-industrial scale. We took orders on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, earning good money for this at the time, which was important for our financial independence as students. Working on the family farm and as a student, I always strived for independence. The experiences I gained then taught me a lot - first, that money can only be earned through honest work, and second, that financial success is achieved through continuous improvement and commitment to one's activities.

G.P Mrs. President, is it enough to say that the apple does not fall far from the apple tree, or is explaining how to learn business from a visionary father much more complex?

K.M.C.: Succession is never a simple process and if I had to do it again, I would also consider a scientific approach, based on the best experiences of similar family businesses. At the same time, I am proud of the process I went through with my dad because we worked based on what was always most important in our relationship - mutual trust and respect for our very different experiences and ways of looking at business. My dad is by far my best advisor because he combines his passion as a founder with his knowledge of the business and his parental love. Thanks to the family heritage that has been created since 1992 and my own - already global - experience, I am creating a new chapter in the Group's tradition based on my vision and strategic plans built together with the wonderful team I have the pleasure to work with.

G.P.: The companies we are talking about signify not only a family tradition but also a Polish tradition. What is the significance of this kind of tradition? Can it still be a strength in an increasingly globalized market context?

K.M.C.: For us, Polish tradition is not only the foundation of our business but also an indicator of quality that is appreciated around the world. These are the roots that shape our identity and business philosophy. In the era of globalization, our Polish cultural heritage is becoming a unique asset, allowing us to stand out among the international competition. It proves that tradition and modernity can coexist, creating products and services that combine the best of both worlds. This approach allows us not only to maintain the local identity of the brand and our products but also to turn it into a global symbol of quality and innovation, which is especially important in today's rapidly changing market. The culture of Polish construction is wonderfully strong - for example, in New York, where I live, Polish windows and doors are highly regarded. I recently got a call from a large New York contractor building a luxury home who wants to outfit it with Polish windows and doors as "the best in the world."

G.P.: Mrs. President, the principle of "quality is our tradition" is extremely important to you. What does this mean in practice? How is this principle materialized at Yawal and Final?

K.M.C.: At Yawal and Final, our approach to quality, summed up in the principle "quality is our tradition," is combined with our commitment to creating solutions to changing consumer trends and improving the quality of life in the European Union, including Poland. Since the introduction of the first Polish thermal insulation system in 1998, we have focused on continuous product improvement. Our facade systems and innovative solutions, such as Moreview and DP 180 Primeview, are precisely the answer to the growing demand for comfort, access to light, and closeness to nature, especially in residences and homes. The Moreview system, our flagship product, is designed to offer users a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors while providing maximum light access and comfort. Every product that leaves our manufacturing facility is the result of rigorous quality control processes, demonstrating our commitment to creating high-quality solutions. Finally, for confidentiality reasons, we cannot speak openly about all solutions, but even there our products meet the demanding needs of various industries. Our tradition of creating high-quality solutions in response to changing market and customer needs, as well as our innovative approach, are key to the success and satisfaction of our business partners.

G.P.: In addition to Final, the Yawal Group includes several companies. What is the patent for synergy? How is synergy fueled? And what does synergy dislike?

E.M.: A key moment for Yawal was the achievement of a high level of technological development. During this period, facing the choice of the direction of further development, we considered whether to focus on the expansion of our product lines or expand our presence in foreign markets. Ultimately, we decided to expand along the production process line. This meant that Final, which is part of our group, handles the stamping of aluminium profiles, which are then used in systems offered by Yawal. This decision was an idea to create synergies within the Group and resulted directly from our product line. This approach allowed us to better respond to the needs of customers who are looking for comprehensive solutions from a single supplier. We have introduced a longer quality control cycle, which gives us the ability to better supervise in the field of aluminium profiles. As a result, we are not only able to offer technologically innovative products, but also ensure that our systems contain components of the highest quality. This fulfills a promise we have always made to each of our customers.

K.M.C.: Today, the key to achieving synergy in our team is cooperation based on clear, common goals and communication. In the Yawal Group, each company contributes something unique, but at the same time, we focus on operating as one integrated team, aiming for the same target. This makes it easier to support each other and leverage the competencies of individual group members, which in turn fuels synergistic action. This year we launched an important development project for Leaders across the Group called Together for the Customer. It has been very well received, and we are already seeing its business results from the cooperation and involvement of people from our various companies, whose openness and ideas create business synergies and new value for the customer. I am convinced that it is our organizational culture focused on people's ability to implement their ideas and teamwork that will be the driving force behind the Group. Synergy does not tolerate silos and lack of openness. We want to build on the strength of diversity and our talents, which are the strength of the entire team. It is these that we want to strengthen and nurture to become continually better at what we do in the market and for our customers.

G.P.: "The strength and success we have achieved at Final, the reputation we have built and enjoy, lies NOT in the aluminium we produce, but in the PEOPLE who come to work every day with passion and determination." How do you wring that passion and determination out of people? Because I have the impression that people are becoming more and more tired, more and more stressed because the pace we live in is getting faster and faster.

K.M.C.: We infuse passion and determination by building an organizational culture that puts people and authenticity first. We understand that the pace of the modern world is tremendous, so we strive to create an environment that allows our employees to maintain a work-life balance to be themselves first and foremost and be able to pursue their talents, ideas, and professional dreams. The basis for all our activities is values - we focus on commitment, customer orientation, and professionalism. Joint projects, training and activities to involve employees in the most important decisions in the company reinforce our organizational culture, in which every team member is satisfied with what they do. An example of this is our internal Program - KAIZEN, which involves employees in process improvement by implementing their ideas. Frankly, we are stunned by the number and quality of our people's suggestions, and I am convinced that it is through the strength of the team and the individual creativity of employees that we will continue our growth - through daily innovation and the resulting changes for the better in everything we do.

G.P.: What is the vision for the further development of Final and the Yawal Group? What goals will determine activities in the upcoming months and years?

K.M.C.: In presenting the Yawal Group's vision for growth, I would like to emphasize our deep commitment to sustainable development. We understand that we operate in an industry with a significant impact on the world we live in. In our planning, we prioritize the development of high-quality technologies and cutting-edge solutions that will meet the needs of a new generation of customers who are increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability. Therefore, our strategy is not only a response to today's challenges, but also a visionary look at the needs of future generations, with whom we want to integrate closely, using innovation and technology for a better world. In planning our long-term development strategy, we focus on four key perspectives: employee, customer, environment, and owner.

G.P.: Let's try to summarize. What would you say to those who think that the best thing to come out of a family is a picture? In other words, what advice do you have for other family entrepreneurs who would like to succeed in business?

E.M.: In our family business, it was crucial to find a balance between professionalism and family relationships. I didn't force my children to get involved in the business, but gradually included them from a young age, giving them freedom during their studies. Forcing young people into business can have the opposite effect. Running a business is a challenge that requires management and responsibility. Ultimately, every entrepreneur must face the difficulties that come with putting theory into practice.

K.M.C.: Business is not easy - it requires complete, 24/7 commitment, risk-taking, constant learning, and humility. On the other hand, it is the most fascinating occupation I have ever experienced. Business generates capital and wealth for employees, society, for owners; it is a source of innovation and interesting experiences, and a driver of development for our country. Working at the UN has granted me amazing experiences, and knowledge about the world and people; business is where I fulfill myself, where I can be myself. I love it. But I also understand that it's not for everyone. Life is full of experiences for which I am extremely grateful. Even celebrating American Thanksgiving, which has become part of my life, I feel immense gratitude and privilege; I always remember my Polish roots and rich culture.