Maja Živković, Managing Director, Steel Impex
Maja Muškinja Logistics and Environmental Manager, Steel Impex
We are competent at what we do, mostly calling on our almost two decades of experience competing against sector giants. We are defined by swift decision making and a straightforward approach to clients and suppliers, sayes Steel Impex Managing Director Mrs Maja Živković with pride.
Your network of business partners and suppliers extends across Serbia, the Balkans and the EU. Is this prevalence one of the reasons why Steel Impex is the Serbian market leader in scrap metal recycling and has the latest, state-of-the-art recycling centre?
– Scrap is a tradition for us. We have been working with scrap since the early 2000s, as a buyer, seller, handler and operator. As a commodity, it always evolves from ferrous and non-ferrous metals, to ELV (End life Vehicles), plastics and WEE (Electronic scrap). The more you focus, the more waste you’ll find to collect and to expand in the recycling business. Competition on the market is strong and there is always someone trying to do more, or in a different way that leaves more margins for doing it. We aim to increase the waste categories that we are handling and expand our network. As a member of the BIR (Bureau of International Recycling) and the EURIC (European Recycling Industries Confederation), we operate not only in Serbia, but also in Hungary and Austria as well, while we have just opened a new market in the Netherlands, under our main body of Black Gold Holding Gmbh (www.bgholding.at).
This is important for us as a company, because when you are competing outside of your local market there is no room for mistakes. We are competent at what we are doing, mostly by using our almost two decades of experience to compete against sector giants. We are defined by fast decision making and a straightforward approach to clients and suppliers. By always thinking how differently, what else or in which other way we can do business, we constantly strive to cut costs and increase our profitability in waste management.
We are proud that we have contemporary and very well-equipped recycling centres, where we always use the best mechanisation (trucks, handlers and treatment equipment such as shredders, shears, balers,strippers, granulators etc…)
All of your processes, procedures and products are accompanied by international accreditations and certification. Without that you would not be so successful on both the local and foreign markets? Do you insist on quality, but also on setting high goals?
– Our processes and procedures need to satisfy both local and global regulations, and we need also to follow international quality guidelines. We plan high but reachable targets. To achieve them, we need to be smart and highly motivated. As a company, we have succeeded in having a young and dynamic employment structure, while we also support open conversations with our team, and we have additional education and a promotion plan for every member of our team.
We support an open conversation with our team, we provide education and have promotion plans for every member of our team
Our every day goal is to improve ourselves, our team and our business. Steel Impex has major competition on the market, which is why it needs to be present for its customers and their needs, and to reduce the possibility of claims as much as possible. At the same time, we also need to collect, sort and treat the waste at the lowest possible cost. With this model of operation, we can realise our previously projected targets.
The volume of purchases of scrap metal increased in the last two weeks of March, only to be followed by a drop in prices and levels of purchases. What are your expectations for the period ahead? How will Covid-19 impact on the economy, the business world, and the scrap metal market in particular?
– We are used to having regular price changes in this business, but we are optimistic. There are limited buyers on a limited market. Most of the markets are still closed, but we need to admit that recyclables are also limited. It is definitely true that the economy is out of balance due to Covid-19. We will continue working on controversial sectors that depend on steel, such as construction and the automotive industry. As you know, this is a circular economy in which the buyer, seller, producer and consumer all depend on each other. Therefore, with all government support programmes around the world, perhaps the market will bounce back, with limited profits.
Although demand for steel products has fallen during the state of emergency, Steel Impex hasn’t halted its operations or its humanitarian actions. How did you make such a decision?
– When we decided to continue our operations and thus preserve job positions, our main goal was to ensure the safety and security of our employees. When we equipped them with all the equipment they need, we started listening our customers – their needs, and of course the needs of our country. This is not the first time that we’ve been undertaking humanitarian actions – it is something regular, and we believe that every company should have social responsibility by contributing back to our system.
When we are projecting the coming year, we do so on a turnover basis and separate a percentage of what we can use for humanitarian activities. Regarding the state of emergency and Covid-19, our opinion is that we can overcome the problem by focusing only on our citizens: if we are all healthy, we will work, buy, sell, consume, and the economy will recover faster.
You have managed to organise your operations by complying with and applying all the prescribed safeguards. What have you learned during this situation; and what do you still you need to learn?
– This was a completely new situation for us, so we had to act smart and fast. We reorganised our colleagues and followed the instructions from the Serbian Government.
From this situation we learn a few things: • to use our time more efficiently (instead of an hour-long meeting, we are now making 15-minute conference calls); • how to maintain social distance (except our colleagues in the field, we are working at the level of one person per office space); • to always be ready for possible crises and to have a prepared plan; • a clean working environment is key. We must continuously develop and provide our employees with that.
Your company helps those in need. Is it true that you gave a donation of two million dinars to the Serbian healthcare system?
Over the past few years, we’ve created a culture in the company to provide support every time that our support is needed. We are honoured to answer this question and confirm that we donated two million dinars to Unicef Serbia. Our donation this time was for protective gear for healthcare workers, such as gloves, uniforms, masks etc. As that has by now become a habit, we will also continue contributing in the future.