The year 2018 highlighted our strength
For Sokołów, the year 2018 was a time some challenges, successes and hard work. Despite many adversities shared by the whole meat industry, we managed to maintain the company’s dynamic development. Thanks to the involvement of our employees and managers, we have noted a 6.6% increase in sales revenue year over year, a 27.9% growth of the operating profit and strengthening of our position in the Polish and foreign markets. Without a doubt, the finalisation of the acquisition of Group Gzella Group was a great success. It will significantly increase our production capacity and will allow us to better respond to the needs of consumers.
Employees at heart of Sokołów
The key to our success is in the hands of our employees. This is something that we experience constantly. All totally committed, all experts in their fields – they are the driving force of the Sokołów Group. The year 2018, so difficult for the entire meat industry, highlighted our strength. Knowledge and experience of our employees enabled us to maintain the highest standards of work and the dynamic growth of the company. Therefore, once again we have decided to focus especially on them. In the past year we have introduced a number of solutions, tools and programmes aimed at their personal and professional development.
Sokołów took part in the international Graduate Programme project addressed to university graduates who wish to pursue a career in our Group. The Programme gives young people great opportunity to learn the company’s entire value chain, to test themselves in ambitious projects, to participate in numerous international trainings, to network with foreign graduates and gain experience in international facilities, allowing them to become competent managers in the future. Thanks to the Programme, we have selected one winner. She has embarked on a fascinating professional journey with us. In January 2019 we will announce the second edition of the Programme. All ambitious graduates, ready for the challenges and professional development are welcome to join right now.
In the year 2018, we have implemented the leadership principles, which for us are a clear set of rules guiding our conduct and actions, and which further strengthen the culture of effective leadership in Sokołow S.A. The next step is to launch a large-scale project of the leadership oriented on the ongoing development of managers at each organizational level. We do not forget about the modern management support tools. We have conducted a pilot implementation of the SuccessFactors tool used for effective goal-setting, building a culture of dialogue between the manager, the employee and the team, allowing the evaluation of not only the results but also behaviours and competencies that we want to develop in the organization. The culture of innovation is one of the factors on which we focus, therefore, we are constantly expanding the group of workers that acquire knowledge and skills in this field. We have organized a series of workshops using the design-thinking methodology for interdisciplinary teams, which further increases the level of broad understanding of the business, the mutual sharing of knowledge and enhances communication and teamwork. For us, the organizational and market challenges also mean constant international cooperation, therefore increased the number of people who attend for free English lessons. Once more we have provided our employees with an online training platform where they receive training in many areas of interest – e.g. marketing, sales, management, IT, finance and the MS Office suite. Our employees also got a chance to take advantage of free medical check-ups within the scope of preventive programmes.
Our actions were reflected in the results of the employee satisfaction, motivation and involvement survey Check 2018. The turnout reached a record 94%. The level of satisfaction and motivation, as well as involvement, increased compared to the previous survey and is much higher than the industry benchmark. It is extremely important for us to make people feel good at work because only then will they be able to realize their full potential and achieve success – and the success of our employees is a success of the entire company.
Our efforts have been recognized by external entities. For the second year in a row, the Sokołów S.A. Group received the prestigious title of the Reliable Employer of the Year. This award is proof of the effectiveness of a systematic, years-long personnel policy and innovative approach and confirms the transparency and reliability of the company’s operations.
Success despite adversities
Despite many unfavourable conditions in the Polish meat industry, we can call 2018 a year of success. The main problems were the unstable situation in the commodity market and the spearing of the ASF virus. The difficult conditions on the domestic and foreign markets did not prevent us from achieving satisfactory results. We have maintained dynamic development, resulting in a 6.6% increase in sales revenues year on year and 27.9% higher operating profit. We have strengthened our position in the domestic market. We have introduced 56 new products – including the Hummus Premium line, which expanded our meatless product range. Our products are present in almost 40 markets all over the world. Our snacks can be bought in the USA, we are the processed products export market leader in the UK and we develop products for the HoReCa sector in France.
The Sokołów products are also present in more exotic locations, such as the United Arab Emirates, Republic of the Congo, Lebanon and Hong Kong. Western Europe fell in love with our beef. In some countries, the beef sales growth dynamics increased in the last year by more than 200%.
Gzella a part of Sokołów
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the year for the Sokołów Group was the acquisition of the Gzella Group. The Gzella production facility, located in Osie, was an excellent investment for us. Thanks to our know-how and business relationships we can fully exploit the potential of the plant, whose current production capacity allows for the production of more than 6,000 tonnes of products per month. Gzella also has a well-organized logistics and a network of over 200 own stores. We take advantage of this by offering the Delikatesy Mięsne Gzella (Gzella Meat Delis) customers Sokołów products, customers and to the Delikatesy Mięsne Sokołów (Sokołów Meat Delis) – Wędliny z Borów (the Bory Cold Cuts). We welcomed the employees who joined us with great satisfaction. Almost 1,300 people who work in companies belonging to the Gzella Group are excellent professionals. We have no doubt that sharing experiences can only bring positive results.
Development and the environment
There is no dynamic growth without upgrading production facilities. Last year we have spent over PLN 118 million on this. Our goal is not only to increase the production capacity but also to optimise the water and electricity management, so we can limit the negative impact on the environment. In just 2 years, the natural gas boiler room built in Sokołów Podlaski has allowed for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by more than 36,900 tonnes. We are gradually conducting thermo-modernisation of buildings in all our manufacturing facilities. We are recovering heat from production equipment and refrigeration systems and strive for an increasingly efficient energy management. The result is, for example, replacing traditional lighting with led lighting in our production plants.
During the annual Sokołów Cup event, we have celebrated the 25th anniversary of Sokołów S.A. Czyżew branch, located in the podlaskie Voivodeship. The Czyżew plant employs over 700 people specializing in the production of wieners, pâtés, poultry processing and the production of vegetable pastes and pâtés. The products made here are available not only in every corner of the country but also abroad.
Plans for the coming year
The year 2018 has set an exceptional number of challenges before us. I can say with satisfaction that we have met them successfully. Some of these difficulties will certainly also accompany us in the coming year. The stable and strong position of the company, and most of all, the potential that lies in our employees, confirm my belief that we will meet the goals that lie before us and maintain the dynamic growth of the Sokołów Group. I guarantee that we will continue to work hard on expanding our product range in order to fully satisfy our customers by providing them with the highest quality products every day.
Sokołów S.A. President of the Management Board