Season's Greetings

Dear customers, business partners and colleagues,
We want to thank all of you for a good collaboration
in the extraordinary year 2021.

Fortaco team is wishing you a Peaceful Christmas Time
with your nearest ones and a Successful Year 2022.

Stay safe
Fortaco Team

Offering scope increased

Great developments continue, Fortaco has acquired a paintshop in Janow Lubelski, Poland. Both the plant and related machinery are included and they have been acquired from Alucrom, with whom we have cooperated since 2014.

The paintshop facility of 2.000 m2 was built in 2014 and it is located next to our existing factory in Janow Lubelski. Employees will be transferred to Fortaco. The transaction was signed on 20.12.2021 and the transfer of ownership is planned to take place on 31 March 2022.

We are confident that the control of the complete value chain will be highly beneficial in our business environment, and with this acquisition we will increase our scope of offering for new and existing customers. We want to thank Alucrom for the great cooperation during these years and throughout the acquisition process.

Read our press release here

Honoured guests in Narva

Fortaco Estonia had a pleasure to welcome Mr. Alar Karis, President of Estonia, to the factory visit last week.

During his visit Mr. Karis was introduced to the latest development and extension of Fortaco operations in Narva, recent investments, demolition site and training center.

Larissa Shabunova, Managing Director of Fortaco Estonia, introduced the factory. Good discussions around the present market challenges were brought up, and also actions connected with finding and growing talented workforce.

Fortaco Estonia has trained more than 150 people this year, thanks to the dedicated work of the team. The factory has also invested greatly in new machinery, and a new welding robot.

President also visited power plants is Narva and discussed the prospects of Estonian energy sector with the management of Eesti Energia.

HR Award Success in Jaszbereny

Behavior HR magazine announced a contest for ”HR Manager of the Year” in Hungary last Autumn for the second time.

The award is given to HR managers, who have significantly contributed to the success of their company and stable development of organizational culture. These managers have outstanding performance and innovative HR solutions, and they care employee satisfaction greatly.

Viola Szabo, People & HR Manager at Fortaco’s Business Site Jaszbereny in Hungary was one of the thirteen HR professionals in a small business category, who took part in the contest.

The process started with the nomination of candidates, and those who accepted nomination prepared an application. The second step was a public voting via social media, and thereafter the jury completed the final list of five applicants in each categories: small business, mid-company and enterprise.

We are happy to tell you, based on the jury’s decision, Viola was awarded with the second place in the contest. Congratulations Viola, and thank you for your everyday effort and continued development!

Fortaco Group and Buisard Cabins have joined forces

We are happy to reveal Fortaco Group has joined forces and established the Fortaco Buisard Cabins entity within Fortaco Group.

Through this strategic alliance, we create a market leading vehicle cabin technology and manufacturing business serving the off-highway equipment industry as part of Fortaco Group. We both have respected and complementary customer portfolio, and the alliance will provide them optimized design and manufacturing solutions for best-in class cabins.

Buisard is the leading independent cabin specialist for low, medium and high-valume cabins. With robotized welding and painting lines, it produces over 120 cabins daily.

Together we will further develop vehicle cabin offerings worldwide. Sustainable future as one team is going to be formed with our great teams and broad know-how. We have already decided to invest in a robot welding line at Holic factory in Slovakia, similar to the line at Buisard factory in Sablé-sur-Sarthe, France, and in addition to extend the real estate floorspace for new sales program.

The transaction was signed 10.12.2021, closing to be on the first week of January. Read our press release, published on 14.12.2021

Set of Emotional Tools

Emotional Intelligence (EI) and its state and development in the company has been brought up in Fortaco this year. Fortaco’s top 25 managers were assessed by using the EQ-i2.0 inventory which measures emotional intelligence. As a result, they got the level of their Emotional Quotient (EQ).

Developing EQ is important, as our emotions usually have a major influence on our decision making and actions. Some people are able to make their decisions based more on logic, but generally we can be taken over and directed too much by our emotions, if we are not conscious enough about them.

What might be important to note is that EQ and intuition are not the same thing. Intuition is a very potent and these days recognized tool and gift, but as intuition could be described as feeling – ‘having the gut feeling’ – EQ is more about the understanding – ’thinking’ – of our feelings and learning to process them. Intuition can be disrupted by heavy emotional package, so becoming conscious about our feelings when working with EQ, can also have a beneficial impact on our intuition.

Improved leading

Having a high degree of emotional intelligence is especially important, even essential, for leaders to ensure their team is motivated and efficiently working. At the end, leading is all about communication and getting our points out clear, so that the team is able to understand and trust us. For communication to be effective, the communicator must have some understanding about the listener’s feelings and motives. In a conflict resolution situation, having a high EQ becomes even more relevant.

People with high EQ tend to be successful in many things they do, and this is simply because they are the players people want to have in their team. They are able to make people feel good, and because they understand how other people feel, it allows them to manage relationships more effectively.

Tools to have in your kit

So, what are the tools and ways to reach more success and fulfillment in the area of emotions and understanding them?

1. Developing self-awareness
Self-awareness enables you to understand yourself and your behavior on three levels: 1) what you are doing 2) how you feel about it 3) what you do not yet know about yourself. With developed self-awareness you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and how your emotions and actions affect people around you.

Ways to develop self-awareness are:

  • Journaling – A good way to journal is to write the morning pages, which are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness with no censor. Write them first in the morning, when your mind is not hooked to any activities or information coming from outside of yourself.
  • Slowing down – When experiencing strong emotions, simply slow down, breathe and examine why you are experiencing them, and how to move forward with the emotions.
  • Clarify your values – Every once in a while, (every month, for example) take your time to reflect on what you are doing, and if feeling and thinking are aligned. If they are not, how can you improve the situation? What does really matter to you?

2. Channeling and regulation of our emotions
You are not able to control your emotions and that is not even the purpose – the goal is to control your reaction to them. People who regulate their emotions usually don’t make rushed or emotional decisions, attack other people verbally or compromise their values. There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ emotions – only effective or non-effective reactions to them. Emotions are important signals to pay attention to something.

How can you improve your ability to regulate emotions:

  • Know your values – Have a clear idea of where you will not compromise and what values are the most important to you.
  • Hold yourself accountable – Stop blaming others when things go wrong and be committed to admit your mistakes.
  • Have an empathy for yourself – Holding yourself accountable does not mean harshly criticizing yourself when things get heavy. Try to clarify why you are feeling like you do. Even anger is a good emotion if you can point out why you are feeling it and deciding to use it to correct injustices.

3. Motivating ourselves
Motivation is a popular word, but it definitely is not a magic word. The truth is we cannot be motivated all the time. For those times we must find our ways to keep going and show up for ourselves also when we don’t feel like it. With self-motivation we are able to work consistently to reach our goals and keep our standards high.

Some ways to improve motivation are:

  • Re-examine why you are doing what you are doing. Why did you wanted to have that job/ hobby/ routine and make sure you have clear goals regarding it.
  • Adopt an optimistic mindset, so whenever there is a challenge you can find at least one positive thing about the situation.
  • If you don’t feel like anything motivates you, do something. It could be anything from talking to a stranger, to writing a poem. The goal is to immerse your mind in something new and following the flow of it.

4. Recognizing emotions in others, having empathy
People with high empathy are able to put themselves in someone else’s situation. It is especially critical for leaders, and it helps them to develop the people in their team. The point of having emotional intelligence should ultimately be to create healthier relationships, and these relationships begin with recognition and respect of other’s emotional needs.

How to improve empathy:

  • Try being in someone else’s shoes – See other people’s perspectives, try to understand where they stand at.
  • Practice vulnerability – Share yourself honestly with others and take your time to really listen to the other person.
  • Remember the body language – It can be a real asset, especially if you are a leader, to understand your own and other’s body language, because you will be able to better determine how someone truly feels.

5. Directing our emotional energy to our core values
Emotional intelligence is meaningless if you are not aware of your core values. You have to be clear about them, because that is where your emotional energy will be directed. If you understand emotions well, both in yourself and in others, but use that information to manipulate people for your own personal gain, you might want to consider your values and how you show up in the world. Knowing what you value, is probably one of the most emotionally intelligent skills you can develop.

Ways to find out your core values:

  • Think of some of the people you most admire and the values they embody, write a list about these.
  • Identify the times when you were most proud.

6. Learning social skills
Great communication is reached with good social skills, and especially for leaders’ communication skills are crucial. Good social skills enable you to resolve conflicts and sail on the waves of change. Socially skilled people set example by their own behavior, be it at work or in closer relationships.

When improving social skills:

  • Learn to resolve conflicts – You don’t have to agree with everyone, but you must consider everyone’s opinion and sometimes step outside of your own box.
  • Remember or learn to give people positive feedback – People need to know where they have succeeded, and also what you value about them. Be curious about people and their motivations.

Value yourself

Obviously, there is a lot to cover regarding emotional intelligence. While we are all humans with our strengths and weaknesses, try not to compare yourself to any other person on your journey to a higher EQ (if that is your goal). Hold yourself accountable, but don’t aim for perfection, as it does not exist. There are many tools available, many possibilities, but whatever will be used and how it will be used depends also on your openness and willingness. You need to be honest with yourself and give the green light to changes and new ways of working. Most importantly, to try see the changes you are making as a way of respecting and valuing yourself – as a set of tools to enable you to become the higher version of yourself.

Fortaco at CEF 3-4 November

Construction Equipment Forum 2021 is taking place this week 3-4 November in Berlin.

Fortaco team will be attending two days, bringing knowledge about decentralized and authenticated data.

Last year we talked about the idea of SmartSteel, and this year we are showing our blockchain demo.

Blockchain could have many applications in construction industry, as decentralized and authenticated data might strongly influence on residual lifetime. Blockchain could help to achieve higher residual and sales value, decrease financial risk for leasing companies and many more.

Want to learn and see our demo? Come and meet us at CEF in Berlin next week.

More about the event:

Manufacturer Sans Frontières

Erik Gustafsson, Fortaco Wroclaw’s Sales Director, explains why running a hospital in Liberia is not so different than running a factory.

“I did it for the adventure,” says Fortaco Wroclaw’s Sales Director Erik Gustafsson of his decision to volunteer with Médecins Sans Frontières. “I don’t want to leave the impression I was doing it only to benefit humankind.” In 2008, Gustafsson served as logistics director for a hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, where he was responsible for all non-medical activities of a pediatric hospital, two clinics, and a cholera unit, all with a non-medical work force of 130.

While Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders, is often thought of as doctors and nurses, it is, in reality, a major organization active in 70 countries with over 35,000 personnel.

Hospitals and welding factories

“Running a hospital and running a welding factory have many similarities,” says Gustafsson. “I can’t treat patients and I can’t weld, but both require facilities and equipment. As a manager you’ve got to make sure money is used in the right way and make it possible for skilled people to do their jobs. You give people the tools they need and you track money and performance.”

Gustafsson, one of three Swedes in the Fortaco organization, moved to Wrocław, Poland in 2009 when the factory operated under the Ruukki banner. His task was to move production for two Swedish factories that had closed production. But his boss resigned, and he ended up staying to run the sales department. And he’s been in Wrocław ever since.

The Wrocław factory’s history is long and colorful, but its modern incarnation began in 1999 as a brownfield investment, making bus chassis for Volvo city busses. It soon was producing for other customers, such as Kalmar, Atlas Copco, and Konecranes. Ruukki acquired it in 2005, and in 2012 it became a part of Fortaco. Today it employs close to 500 persons and occupies a 22,000 square-meter footprint.

Today’s factory

“Our job is to start with a steel plate and deliver partly-assembled, painted, and machined products,” says Gustafsson. “We’re focused on complicated steel fabrications. Like mining machines. If it breaks down a kilometer below the earth’s surface, then that’s a problem. We’re making unique investments in machining centers and robots, which help us differentiate by adding value.” The steel plates eventually take the form of forklifts, reach stackers, harvesters, mining machines, structures for the energy sector, and straddle carriers.

Gustafsson’s vision is a future with more assembly. “Today, assembly is considered a core competency of the customer. But markets are growing and our customers need capacity. We believe assembly is not, in fact, our customer’s core competence. If we do it, there are huge consolidation advantages. Since all customers use similar components, we can produce forklifts next to mining machines and do it with less overhead than OEMs, also focusing on sourcing and production processes.”

Customers are gradually coming around to agree with him. Assembly is already started with one customer, and discussions are underway with others.

More with less

If Gustafsson says he can do something on the factory floor then we should be inclined to believe him. If there’s one thing he learned in Africa with Médecins Sans Frontières, it was how to be effective without unlimited resources.

He characterizes his children’s hospital in Monrovia as “basic.” The top three causes of death were malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia. But despite these deaths, he did not find it to be a depressing environment. “Kids would come in with malaria and it was like they were in a coma. But two days later you’re playing with them on the playground! The effect of the treatment is sometimes amazing.”

What Gustafsson learned in Africa he still puts to use in his daily work. In Médecins Sans Frontières we had HR, finance, specialists, maintenance, construction, and lots of equipment. The skills managing those neatly transfer. “No organization has unlimited resources, and Africa taught me you can do a lot with limited means.”

Passionate to Push the Limits

Great things are accomplished with passion, and that passion is something, which can create great reflections around itself. At best, passions challenge us to develop persistence and commitment and help us to create our own, unique way to put ourselves out there in the world. Passions can also be very useful in a working life, since we can expand skills and mindset developed with passion to the way we work and solve problems.

Stanislav Bielak has put his whole heart, time, and mind into his passion. Being a professional welder & metalworker, Stanislav is also an active cycler, who continually competes in a beautiful landscape of Poland. Since 2017, he has taken a more serious approach to the sport, and been representing Janów Lubelski Bike Club, and taken immediately the third place in his first competition same year. The competition was organized by Cezary Zamana – a road cyclist, and the winner of Tour de Pologne 2003. After that, hunger for more has been gradually growing.

Share the support

The Bike Club is very active, and members organize rides on the roads, mountains, or forest areas around the year. Definitely, one of the best advantages has been an opportunity to meet new people, thinks Stanislav, and to be able to share the passion, and support each other in the face of success and challenges, in and outside the race. Support and assistance is important since everyone will encounter some obstacles and technical problems at some point in the course of competition.

In the beginning of 2020 Stanislav took part in the Biały Kruk winter race, and also the very demanding cycle of 12 MTB marathons Cyklokarpaty, organized from April to September. Routes are typically mountainous, and distances usually 30 - 50 kilometers. When riding just for recreation, Stanislav and his team mates can cover even 200 kilometer of routes.

Strength for challenges

There are some features, which are important when cycling in between mountains, through winding and dangerous roads, tens of kilometers. You want to be humble, have a great respect for the nature, and have a great technique to conquer roads safely and successfully.

Stanislav is taking a good care of his physics to ensure a smooth ride, but some routes can be really challenging. Like in the face of every challenge, it is important not to panic, but follow a plan created for these situations. For Stanislav, giving up is not an option. If any kind of breakdown happens, the most important is to pass the thought of not being able to carry on. In these kind of situations Stanislaw will slow down, drive at his own pace, and get some rest - and eventually, the strength will be restored.

Behind the passion is a dedicated team

Important qualities, valued in cycling, can be well adjusted to the way we would like to perform our daily work. Persistent attitude with a goal-oriented mindset will take you far and over obstacles in many cases. If you are well prepared, also for unavoidable challenges, and you see them as stepping stones to the success, and you are greatly committed to the journey, you will pass the finishing line.

A dedicated and supportive team behind the success is something not to be undervalued, neither in sports. The team must be able to see the set goal and offer the needed assurance. Stanislav’s family fully supports his passion and understands time and dedication to be needed to fulfill it. To see him to perform and witness the fun and pleasure cycling gives, is the source of boundless pride and joy for them.

Stanislav can clearly see cycling as a very important part of his future. He is excited and dedicated to improving and testing his physical and mental health, endurance, and limits. Every route cycled is a change to push limits even further and competing is definitely something he will put his heart on also in the future.

We wish Stanislav successful and safety rides and many years to come with his passion.

Investments at Fortaco Narva factory

Beginning of summer, we started a demolition project of a huge old-time useless building in front of our factory. Along with a new, large parking lot, which will be located in the area of old building, we are welcoming our employees, customers, and all stakeholders to visit our factory. In addition to the new parking area, the demolition project will improve safety in surroundings. Also, the outlook of Narva city center will be improved.

In addition, we have good news in regard to investments in machinery. This year and beginning of next year, we will have five (5) different new machines: two CNC Correa machining centers, two bending presses of 200 t and 150 t and one laser cutting centre.

It is very hard to overestimate the importance of these investments in the current environment. With the new machines we will create additional capacity in prefabrication and final machining, which will increase total throughput, and secure our operations, and our customers' supply chain.

With these good news, we wish a good start for the autumn and businesses - and welcome you to visit Narva.

Below the main specification of new equipment.

2 CNC Correa machines - Norma MG
Dimensions: 700 x 850 cm; X: 3,5m Y: 1,5 m Z: 1,25m

2 bending presses of 200 t and 150 t - Beyeler Xpert
Bending table length 3,1 m

Laser cutting centre - Bystronic Bystar
Max. power 4400 w, laser medium CO2, transmitted wave length 10600 nm,
beam diameter 20 mm, polarization: circular, maximum sheet dimensions 4000 x 2000 mm,
material thickness 20 mm steel, 12 mm aluminum, 3 mm copper