Kickstart from Germany

In the early summer months of 2015 the Manager Training Programme offered executives from Kazakh and Kyrgyz KMU the opportunity to attend a training course at the Export Academy Baden-Württemberg (EABW). Dastan Rustemow from NG Energy GmbH in Kazakhstan discusses his impressions.

EABW: Dastan, what was your goal in attending the training programme in Germany?

Dastan Rustemow: I plan on setting up a laying hen farm with 101,400 animals and production capacity of up to 80,000 eggs in Aral. In Kyzylorda, where I come from, per capita consumption of eggs is unfortunately less than in most of the other regions of the country. Yet chicken eggs are a staple food and a standard part of the food basket. So the regional market shows major potential for development. In Germany I was mostly interested in the market for poultry farming and compound feed production, and the latest developments in poultry farming. I also wanted to learn more about efficient management structures and establish contacts to potential investors and partners.

And was your thirst for information quenched?

Absolutely. The training programme had three modules and was relevant to all aspects of my business activities. In the first module focussing on methodology we learned about the special things to be aware of when dealing with German companies and worked on expanding our management skills.

The second module involved group visits to various German companies. Everywhere we went people were glad to give us information. We learned a lot about using company management to enable constant renewal and innovation as a guarantee for sustainable company development and establish a successful position in strategic markets. The frankness and enthusiasm displayed by both the staff and the executives inspired us all. So did their professional presentations. Everyone was willing to share their knowledge and experience with us. It was plain to see that these were people who identify with their company. Regardless of age, everyone was eager to be there and could have gone on for hours telling us all about their company. The only thing left to say about our visit: Bravo!

In the third module we were then able to have individual meetings with the companies that were considered possible partners for cooperation. In my case these were agriculture technology suppliers.

What did you especially like about the individual company meetings?

During the second module we all visited Himel Maschinen GmbH in Melchingen together. This was actually the most successful contact I found. I arranged an additional individual meeting for myself and spent the entire day there. This appointment exceeded all of my expectations.

Himel GmbH is a family business run by Werner Hirlinger, the son of the founder. He welcomed me and gave me a personal tour of the company. During our short tour together I got an entirely different perspective on the company from what I gathered during the group visit. Werner Hirlinger gave me the impression of a man that is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and help out even though he is the boss. This really impressed me, because in Kazakhstan hierarchical thinking is still deeply entrenched. At the company there was an almost family-like atmosphere and a friendly feeling of togetherness, and not a trace of the daily grind of work. This is probably one of the company’s most important factors for success.

What exactly happened during your visit?

Three experts from different areas were on hand to tell me everything I wanted to know and I was able to ask them all the questions I had concerning the company, the different operations and marketing. As in most of the other Germany companies, these were talks with the top-level people. We visited a grain silo with a cleaning system, temperature and humidity monitoring systems, and the poultry farm complete with production, feeding facilities and systems for preparing and storing the feed that has already been running for over five years. That was another impressive example for the top quality of the Himel facilities. I was also shown all of the machines involved with production. The project planning software there was especially accessible. It was used to show models of the facilities in 3D as well as the operations of every single facility down to the smallest of steps. This made it much easier to understand the function of each part of the system and its position in the full production process.

And what have you taken from your experiences in the training programme?

What I have taken with me from Himel GmbH, EABW and all the other companies and people I visited in four action-packed weeks was a kind of kickstart, and I am still feeling the effects here at home. I would also like to motivate my staff and optimize my company just as I have seen it done in Germany. I want to introduce similar processes and start realising the loads of ideas that have come to me during the training programme. I have been provided with the initial “spark” and I’m very grateful for that.