Alas Slovakia is building for the future
It is no coincidence that since the introduction of a number of Eastern European countries to the European Union that the region has experienced a plethora of companies keen to establish themselves in the area.
With cheaper labour costs and the possibility of establishing themselves as leaders in a developing marketplace, industry figureheads have been quick to rubber stamp deals to have warehouses, processing plants, commercial premises and headquarters built.
As a company that specialises in producing stones and concrete aggregates for the construction industry, Alas Slovakia has been in a position to reap the benefits. “The Slovakian economy has improved dramatically over the past five years and the introduction to the EU has helped business a great deal. There has been a great deal of building in the country recently from a number of industries, in particular from automotive companies. These new investments have meant new opportunities for employers and companies such as us. When an organisation needs new factories or shops then we are able to deliver the products they need,” says Jurai Kavula, Alas Slovakia’s technical manager.
Some of the world’s most recognisable brands have used materials provided by Alas Slovakia for a variety of builds. The portfolio includes names such as VW, Peugeot, Coca-Cola, Tesco, Metro, Samsung, and mainly it has also been instrumental in the construction of a number of highways and railway lines. Explaining why he feels it is the company of choice for some of the biggest organisations in various sectors of industry, Jurai says: “In the area of production and delivery we are stronger than our competitors as we are able to guarantee both quality and quantity. We are able to provide whatever our customers require and they know that the standard will be high. One of our key aims is to satisfy our clients.”
Alas Slovakia, has been in the Slovak market since 1992. Historically it is a continuator of producing traditions of former state enterprise, Zapadoslovenske kamenolomy a strkopiesky and STRMAC Comp. Ltd., Bratislava. The company Alas Slovakia is subsidiary of Austrian holding company, the Asamer Group. The Bratislavabased firm has since gone from strength to strength, this is best illustrated by the opening of a new plant in each of the last five years – a trend that is likely to continue.
Any further additions will boost what is already a vast array of sites that are concentrated in the West of Slovakia, around the capital city, Bratislava. Detailing them, Jurai says: “We have five stone quarries and six man-made lakes which are used for mining material. The process begins with blasting work, which allows us to collect the raw materials; these are then loaded onto trucks and taken to crushers at the plants. We then reduce the stones to secondary sizes. This can be carried out up to three times depending on the size of stone that the client wants.” These materials are then refined into ceramics, asphalt, building materials and other products, and are typically used to build highways and other public services such as railways.
“In addition we have five plants that are used to produce the concrete that we deliver to construction sites,” Jurai adds. Concrete trucks (mixers), are used to deliver the produce to various locations where building work is taking place. A 42- metre pump is used to distribute the mixes, which can be prepared in a variety of forms, from lightweight to a glass-like finish. There is a belief from those within Alas Slovakia that its ability to deliver practically any type of concrete in almost any quantity is a deciding factor in setting itself apart from its competitors.
It is a position that has been strengthened by the company’s commitment to innovation and an unshakable belief that its employees must be thoroughly trained. “We invested almost two million euros into protection of the environment last year, and a similar amount will be spent this year. Next year we will be building a new production line in some of our sites for crushing and separating stones. This product incorporates special filters in its design which cleans the stones and take away dust from the products which makes the process better for the environment,” Jurai says.
“We must also continue to educate our employees, I am a technician myself so I fully appreciate the need for knowledge of the machinery we are dealing with. There are a number of training programmes that must be undertaken every six months. We are constantly updating our machines and the tools so we must be sure that people are aware of the best methods when operating and maintaining them. We have a plan to replace the older devices (wheel loaders, crushers, screen machines) and our workmen must be able to handle such sophisticated equipment. If this is achieved then the company’s work will be more efficient, which would give us a further advantage over our competition,” Jurai comments.
It is an approach that is clearly working; the company comfortably holds the number one market position in the Slovakian market. With such a knowledgeable team of employees and a strong reputation, Alas Slovakia has ambitions to break into territories across Eastern Europe and to further increase its presence on a national level. Looking to the future, Jurai says: “We started to export to Austria last year, which was a big step for the company. Our vision is to penetrate other markets such as Poland and Hungary. The senior management see it as a big part of our future. We are also planning to open sites away from the West of Slovakia, as we are highly concentrated around the Bratislava area.”
Wherever Alas Slovakia decides to expand to in the future, it is likely the company ethos will stay the same. Asked to summarise the company’s key strengths, Jurai concludes: “We strive to increase the quality of our products all the time. This, along with the standard of our employees, enables us to offer a service to the construction industries that our competitors simply cannot.” The quality that Jurai mentioned can be in no doubt. It has not only been the basis for the building of many motorways, warehouse, and railway lines but also for the company’s reputation for excellence in construction materials.
Products: Natural mined, crushed stones and concrete aggregates