Ewelina Klizner: “it’s a time for sowing seeds in the countries of the region”

She has been the manager of GH Poland since November 2015 and is convinced of the GH Group’s ability to adapt to the challenges posed, despite the war being so close.
Having the war so near the borders of Poland is taking its toll on Ewelina, and she is one of the most courageous people we know when it comes to facing the difficulties of the working day, to proposing solutions to problems and to always finding a creative way out of every situation that arises.
However, this war so close to “her home”, one of the toughest situations of her life, is really putting her resilience to the test.  “Hopefully we can soon return to the visits to the head office and the subsidiary because nothing unites us better than direct communication and trips together.”
Her contributions in this interview show us Ewelina at her most thoughtful, but also portray the manager of GH Poland as someone who has never shied away from any challenge.

First of all, Ewelina, what is the situation in the country with a war in Ukraine that is right on your border?
The current situation is pretty tense. During the first weeks of the attack, Poland gave refuge to more than 4,000,000 displaced people, giving them a safe place to stay for the first 4 months. Now, from July onwards, we have seen the movement in the other direction of those who want to return to their homes. We have also noted the first steps on the path towards the reconstruction of Ukraine. The situation itself caused a lot of uncertainty at the beginning and is exacerbating problems of access to the material supply chains. The long-term consequences are not easy to calculate, but they will have an impact, not only in Poland, but also in other Central and Eastern European countries. They will suffer the difficulty of access to and the rise in price of raw materials. It’s a painful blow. 

Concern for the future
Is this conflict affecting you on a personal level, and your frame of mind in general, seeing the fighting so close to your day-to-day lives?
This situation has had and continues to have an influence on everyone’s feeling of personal safety. It’s not very easy to sleep when close to the borders of your country you can see the fighting. The possession of nuclear weapons, in the hands of the aggressors, doesn’t help either.  But in order not to dwell on this too much, we focus on the work we want to continue doing to the best of our ability. Life goes on, although there is a lot of concern about our future.

How is the war affecting the economy of Poland and neighbouring countries?
The consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic were already quite apparent and for Poland and its neighbours this war is causing an even bigger avalanche of problems. Runaway inflation, serious supply problems and limited access to raw materials are some of the consequences we are facing on a day-to-basis. The situation is tense, and conflicts arise at the level of communication between people, also affecting the “partnerships” in our business and the businesses of our customers. This crisis shows us the true nature of human beings and teaches us how we are capable of adapting to the conditions we live in.

It is a test of our strength.
How would you classify the situation of gh within this very complicated context?
GH is a group with a solid structure based on the strength of its workers and relationships with its customers. We live in times of crisis and these relationships value this solid structure much more because it helps to carry the work forward and seek common solutions to all the problems we encounter. It is a test of our strength. It will depend on our ability to adapt if we are to emerge from the crisis stronger.

How do you see the future of our project looking forward five years from now?
The GH project in Central and Eastern Europe has a track record of development. Every year more cranes enter the market, making for a continuously growing fleet. After a presence of 19 years in the market, GH has installed almost 2,000 cranes. All these cranes are still working and in good condition. The plan for the next 5 years is to continue delivering more standard and special equipment to the market and, above all, to strengthen our presence in machine services at our customers’ places of work. The general objective is to build the confidence of our customers in the manufacturer’s service, especially in times of digitisation. The form of service in the future is based more on the analysis of big data and the ability to improve prevention. Having these tools in our hands increases our ability to better relate to our customers and provide an adequate and preventive service. This will help develop the customer’s business and build trust in our organisation at a level appropriate to the 21st century. 

“We have 2,000 cranes installed in poland, running very well and in good condition”

What main challenges do you face in the subsidiary in the short and medium term?
The most important thing is to continue focusing on the organisation itself and flexibility regarding changes in our environment. During the last three years the scenario has been changing at such a rate that every twelve weeks it seems like we’re living in a different world. This requires a dynamic of having to make decisions on the spur of the moment. In order for all managers at all organisational levels to keep up with this pace, we create a training plan supported by appropriate computer tools. Our long-term strategic plan is to continue developing the company by growing by 25%. We aim to carry out this plan by adopting a number of annual challenges that we want to achieve. So, for the year 2022 our aim was to strengthen our presence in the bids, improve the conversion of quotes into orders and set up a good service sales team to get closer to customers. We are measuring our progress in terms of the realisation of these objectives. Let’s see what the results are at the end of 2022 … crossing our fingers. 

How do you see gh in the market in which you work: Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, etc.?
GH is considered a reliable and stable business partner. The customers who have bought our machines have a high opinion of the quality of our equipment, but also of the organisation and the service we provide. The most important recommendations we receive in the market come from our customers. Our presence is well recognised, especially in the local market, here in Poland. In the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary we have installed equipment, but we are still at the initial phase in these markets. At the moment we are focusing there on leaving information about GH, specific commercial actions, and visits to potential customers in different market segments. It’s the time of sowing the seeds. 

Project with the incinerators
What are the main success stories that you could briefly mention from the last two years, complicated first by the pandemic and then by the war over the last year?
A very significant success was finishing the installation in the fifth incinerator that GH has carried out in this part of Europe and signing the contract for the sixth. The incinerator project was started in 2012 by Aloña Barrutia (Manager of GH Poland in the years 2010 -2015) and our sales representative Jacek Januszkiewicz. During these 10 years we have acquired important experience in adapting the product to the needs of different technologies in different incinerators and this has led to contracts with Budimex, POSCO, Termomecánica, Mostostal Warszawa, which are the biggest companies in our market.

Do you consider that the subsidiary is sufficiently established to undertake new projects or development within the Polish market?
From the point of view of the capacity of the organisation, hired staff, and the qualifications of the workers, yes.
From a production point of view, we have fully exploited the technological line that is available to us. In reality, if we want to continue developing our own production capabilities, we have to invest in the factory itself. In 2019 we had a plan drawn up for investment in technological improvements and in a new factory. The pandemic complicated these plans. After all the changes that the market has undergone, we have verified the 2019 plan and we have updated the factors that related to 2019. Now, during the period 2022-2023, is the appropriate time to make a decision together with the Board of the GH Group regarding the way in which we develop our presence here.

“GH is a group with a solid structure based on the strenght of its workers and relationships with its customers» 

What would you propose to improve relations between the subsidiary and the head office?
I would like to return to some good habits that we had before Covid-19 and that have been lost over the last 3 years. We should maintain the teleconferences that we regularly have, but we should also return to the visits to the head office and the subsidiary because nothing unites us better than direct communication and trips together.
Understanding the local challenges is not easy from a distance and it is essential that all of us in the GH Group row in the same direction.