Time for Vacation

Dear customers, business partners and Fortaco team,

The Corona crisis is still reality for all people around the globe. Countries are using their best knowledge and experience to reduce and eliminate the crisis. We are all impacted, harder or softer. Most probably, we will experience a new normal when Covid-19 is a new illness in our global society.

Since the beginning of March, Fortaco has taken serious actions to safeguard our employees, customers and business partners, and to keep our deliveries as promised to our customers. I am very honored to see a strong commitment by everybody involved in the complex supply chain, including the Fortaco team. Despite of somewhat declined net sales 2020 year-to-date, we have taken extraordinary actions and improved profitability. We have also strengthened our liquidity in case it is needed going forward.

New Chairman of the Board
Mr. Panu Routila has been appointed the Chairman of Fortaco Group Board of Directors as from May 2020. Mr. Routila has served as President & CEO at Konecranes and Ahlström Capital. Mr. Peter Augustsson has successfully chaired Fortaco Group since company’s establishment 2013.

Factory extension in Narva
Fortaco’s strategic investment in Narva, a new factory of 10.000 m2, is proceeding exactly according to the plan. Operational take over takes place in coming days. More information to be released after summer.

Make Tomorrow Safer and Better
Fortaco’s operational focus is on safety, quality, delivery performance and productivity, according to our strategic approach “Make Tomorrow Safer and Better”. By continuous development we have successfully been improving our performance.

Outlook for autumn
Fortaco is perceiving the outlook for autumn to large extent unknown. The Corona crisis is still alive with the releases of restrictions, depending on country and specific situations. We have updated our scenario plans for autumn to be prepared, varying from a slight optimistic to a less optimistic, equal to the second quarter net sales.

As of beginning of August, we are going to allow visitors at our Business Sites; changes might occur, depending on Covid-19 development. Since the beginning of March, our approach is “no panic”, we are managing our operations professionally day by day – and this is still valid.

I would like to thank you for your trust, and I am wishing all of you a nice summer period. Stay safe and healthy!


With best regards,

Lars Hellberg
President & CEO


Safe and Sound Summer Greetings

Looking back to the end of 2019, no one could predict such a turn, which happened during the first half of 2020. After optimistic 2018 and more realistic 2019, business environment was expected to continue in 2020 the same general trend as 2019. End 2019 the signals coming from China were not understood as a foretaste of an economical earthquake.

Standing now at the end of the second quarter, we can say it was a very unusual period. Entering year 2020, Fortaco felt some optimism as regards to the market growth. Our experiences from 2019, and customers’ forecasts for 2020 built a perception of stabilization. However, a quickly spreading Corona virus changed the business environment and rapidly introduced a new reality.

During the first quarter, Fortaco factories continued with the normal production output, deliveries were not interrupted. Shortage of components from China did not impact our operations. However, the rapidly rising number of infection cases as from end Q1, and quickly spreading virus through Europe, forced most of the economies in the old continent to implement various tools for temporary lockdown, which did not left Fortaco intact.

The overall slow-down on the market influenced us mainly through the situation at end-customers. Due to the governmental regulations, issues in supply chain, and protecting of employees’ health, the most customers implemented security measures and temporary closed their operations. All this had a strong correlation with Fortaco’s operations and our production and delivery plans. Luckily, from a supply chain perspective, Fortaco did not suffer from any major shortages which could have seriously impacted our customer supplies. Thanks to common understanding, good collaboration with suppliers and partnership approach, Fortaco has managed to secure the flow of parts and modules to our customers as well as for aftermarket.

The second half of the year remains to be a big question mark. Our customers’ forecasts follow the general trend in the industry. At Fortaco, we are preparing ourselves already now for the quick reaction once volumes return. We believe, the market situation caused by the pandemic will give new opportunities for those, who are ready in proper time to support customers quickly and agile way. We Trust in Tomorrow.

I am wishing all of you safe and healthy holidays. Enjoy the summer with your families and friends, getting ready for challenges in the second half of 2020.


With best regards,
Krzysztof Michel
Senior Vice President,

Fortaco Sourcing & IT


Changing a Culture

When a culture improves, KPIs follow.

Anna Młynarczyk-Widomska holds a Master of Engineering degree from Cracow University, though as fate would have it she never worked as an engineer.

Right out of school she got a job in selling technical maintenance and infrastructure services, then soon transitioned to do controlling for a production company from the automotive sector, and then worked for a Spanish construction company which built highways, buildings and airports. This was the beginning of her journey into finance.

At Fortaco, as Finance, People, and HR Director, she supervises a team of eight responsible for the financial areas of accounting, cash flow management, financial KPIs, and relationships with banks. Her team’s HR responsibilities include payroll, recruitment, and motivation. Motivation and people engagement is a topic of particular importance to her. She is lead of the IT and Administration team.

Communication and our behavior

“When I joined Fortaco in 2014, we still encountered elements from a very formal and old fashioned culture in our factory,” Młynarczyk-Widomska says. “Managers were addressed very often as ‘mister’ or ‘missus,’ doors were kept closed, people kept to their own departments, and the opinions of employees were not often sought.” Mrs. Młynarczyk-Widomska set out to change that.

She began to lead by example, using names instead of positions during daily work, keeping her office door open, greeting people in the production hall. “With other leadership team members we focused on introducing cultural change at Fortaco Janów Lubelski.

“Day by day we were able to see improvements. It was very helpful that new people joined our team. For example, we had a new production director, engineering manager, and quality manager.” Over the last five years new tools were implemented, including monthly meetings with three employees to hear their opinions about equipment, health and safety, salaries, or anything they wished to discuss. General meetings with the managing director were held in the production hall where people could ask questions and get key information about our current situation and our challenges.

The management team also began a campaign to tidy up the factory to make it a more pleasant environment. “You don’t have to spend much money to do that,” Anna says. “We painted walls and changed the carpets, put things in their proper place.”

Most important was the interaction with people, the hellos delivered on the factory floor. "It’s important to show people that we see their work, that they’re important. We must communicate with them, and treat them as partners whose ideas are valued.”

Accounting not only in the finance department

We are here to deliver the right numbers to our owners. “In the past, the forecasting process was located in the finance department. I changed it and asked managers responsible for each area to deliver data necessary to complete forecasting process,” she says. “We had to ‘clean up’ some mistakes from the past in case of bookings, clear up some accounting process ‘doubts,’ and take control of the flow and verification of financial documents. We created a new structure of cost centers and a transparent cost allocation process. Managers now get to manage their own budgets.”

“The beginning was very difficult because people couldn’t understand why they had to do these things, but now I know that they also see benefits from this changes.”

KPIs will follow

The soft changes quickly produced hard changes. Financial KPIs and survey results improved. EBITDA moved from three percent of turnover to double digits. Return on invested capital moved from a negative number to over 30 percent in the positive. Employee turnover is within normal bounds.

“There are lots of intangibles, too,” Anna says. “You can ask people how they’re feeling and get a very positive answer.”

Anna believes creating the right culture is essential to tackling problems which turn out to be more complex than previously thought. Several years ago, when KPIs did not improve after an across-the-board salary increase, we introduced a productivity bonus tool. To decrease sick levels, we created an availability bonus. “It’s a simple system. It’s very transparent, and people can easily calculate themselves the results of doing things differently.”

“Poland is not a low-cost country anymore,” she says. “In this period of transition it’s more critical than ever to create the best possible environment for people. It’s in everyone’s best interest. In Fortaco I meet a lot of fantastic people with great personalities. I am very proud to see what we achieved in Fortaco JL. We are aware that this journey is still ongoing. Trust in tomorrow.“