A Programme with a Long-Term Effect

Temirtau is the capital of the metallurgical industry in Kazakhstan. The city (Temirtau means “iron mountain”) is home to Inkar-1, a mechanical engineering and metalworking business. The head of the firm, Kuandyk Nurpeissov, participated in the Manager Training Programme in 2012 − with considerable success: on the occasion of the tenth MP anniversary in Kazakhstan in 2014, he was awarded first prize for the best cooperation project. And his success story is continuing. Last year, he built a new production facility and was recently in Germany to find new machinery for it.

You have just returned from Germany. Please tell us what you did there. We completed the construction of our third assembly hall last year. It has an area of 1,350m2 and a well organised infrastructure with a canteen, showers, recreation rooms for the personnel and storage rooms. The hall was needed due to our capacity constraints. In Germany, I met with a management consultant from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and visited mechanical engineering firms with him. The expert is advising and supporting me in my search for suitable equipment within the scope of an EBRD project, which bears 85% of the costs for experts. In addition, we receive support from one of our government’s programmes from to promote SMEs.

Who were your interlocutors in Germany and what were the results of the meetings? We met with two manufacturers of milling machines and we visited a producer of CNC machining tools. The meetings were very interesting; however, I have not yet made a decision as I first want to inform myself at the Metalloobrabotka trade fair in Moscow, where numerous German firms also exhibit their products.

What purpose does the new building serve? We will house further equipment in it, with which we can address capacity bottlenecks and increase our productivity. We do not intend to expand our range of products but will continue to make spare parts, production elements and complex assemblies for blast furnaces in iron works and for steel and rolling mills. Our emphasis is on the mining industry. Our main customers are the international steel group, ArcelorMittal, which has a plant in Temirtau, and the Kazakh copper mining firm, Kazakhmys.

You participated in the MP seven years ago. How would you describe your business’s development since then? After the MP, we increased our production capacity, among other things, through the purchase of CNC-controlled lathes and milling machines from DMG Mori AG in Bielefeld and from OKUMA Europe GmbH in Krefeld. In addition, we have been awarded diverse prizes. For instance, we received an award as the best industrial enterprise in the “Altyn Sapa” state competition in 2016, and in 2018 won the “Best Industrial Product” award in the “Best Product of Kazakhstan 2018” competition. We are growing constantly and creating new jobs. As an example: we are hiring 20 new employees for the new facility. Talking of personnel: we have tripled our personnel since 2012. And since 2014 I have been a partner in a pilot project for vocational training in Kazakhstan, which is led by GIZ.

What exactly is the cooperation in the project on vocational training like? Within the GIZ “Strategic Alliance on Vocational Training in the Republic of Kazakhstan” project, the Kazakh system was adapted together with experts from Germany based on German standards. The Temirtau Higher Polytechnic College is the education partner on the Kazakh side, and on the German side, Evonik Industries AG is the cooperating enterprise. Inkar-1 trains fitters, turners and milling technicians and, as from this year on, will also be training mechatronic technicians. In the past year, four milling technicians and eight fitters completed their training in our firm. This year, we want to hire 20 apprentices. The vocational system is extremely important for us as we have a severe shortage of skilled workers. The director of Temirtau Higher Polytechnic College had suggested me for the programme due to my good relations with Germany and GIZ. We know each other through my participation in the Manager Training Programme.

How has the MP helped your business to grow? For me personally, it was very important to visit family businesses in Germany, some of which have a corporate history that dates back 150 years, to see how they work, what values they have and how well organised they are. In the meantime, I have developed from the production of spare parts to become a producer of complex assemblies for equipment for the mining industry. Since my participation in the MP, Inkar-1 has been growing steadily and has increased its turnover fivefold.

Pictures: © Inkar-1