AFINIS Group, the leader in the field of seals and sealing technology has been operating on the Slovak market for more than 26 years. The company has been offering its clients individual service, complex solutions and express custom- made service. Robert Melišek, the owner and managing director has revealed more in the following interview.
1. You have been the owner of AFINIS Group® since its beginning. Why have you chosen gaskets and how do you recall the very start?
I have always been interested in seals as we used these products at home for routine home repairs or in the maintenance of machines. As an engineer I have always been able to advise clients on how to use individual gaskets more effectively. As for the company itself, it started operating as a trading company, which I really enjoyed from the very begining.
2. When talking about “successful companies”, what do you imagine?
Success, to most of its extent, is based on quality people followed by vision and ideas. Other factors, in opinion, are perseverance and strong will. As I have learned from my own experience, there are moments in running a business when you feel that everything is running smoothly, however, there might me a crises just round the corner and then another one. In such moments, it is crucial to stand up, move on and fight.
3. The 2020 Corona pandemic might be considered as a crisis since it hit most business sectors. How have you been dealing with the Corona virus pandemics and the lockdown restrictions?
This clearly tough period has given us a lot. Firstly, it has proved that our employees are an inseparable part of our company and thanks to them we are able to overcome any hurdles. I would like to express my gratefulness for their loyalty, effort, hard work and togetherness.
This period has also shown us how flexible we are. We have been able to adjust working conditions not only within our team but also towards clients. After a long period of searching for solutions for specific gaskets for machines and technologies, we started offering our clients complex services, including the application of products directly at the client’s place of operation. The aim is, that the customer will not need to worry about technical solutions on how to apply seals on equipment at his operation.
4. What are the strengths of your company, which might be considered also as a competitive advantage?
On one hand, I reckon, it is our in house production tailor-made to client’s needs, as well as sufficient supply of semi-finished products necessary for quick production of seals. On the other hand, it is the complexity of services that we provide – from design of seals to their production in cooperation with clients, searching for the best solution not only in terms of technology but price, as well.
5. What are the latest trends in your field and what request do your customers have?
Similar to other sectors, the trends indicate complex custom-made solutions. This goes in hand with improvement of gaskets, their durability that will decrease customer’s costs. Obviously, there is also demand for quick supply of products. That’s why we focus on the development of most effective solutions that will be not only cost-effective, but also eco-friendly using modern technology in the production of both, flat and rotary gaskets.
6. When it comes to modernization, what is your approach?
We obviously invest into continuous modernization of production equipment while buying state-of-the-art technology from renowned companies with guaranteed service in Slovakia. When possible, we also focus on production automation.
Regarding modern approaches, one should not underestimate online marketing communication. Therefore we work on our new website and we try to increase our engagement in social networks.
7. The portfolio of your customers is rather varied. Which partner companies are your most important clients?
Our clients are service and retail companies, which sell our products all around Slovakia. Some of the major partners are for example SLOVNAFT, SPP or U.S. Steel Košice.
8. Let’s talk about the future. What are your plans for the near future?
In terms of short-term goals we are about to implement most innovative technology for gasket production. Our long-term target is to launch a big, modern central warehouse with products and semi-finished products which will include production, all under one roof.
9. Finally, will you tell us the motto of AFINIS Group®?
Our goal is to EXACTLY identify the problems and needs of our customers, subsequently produce the perfect gasket (the RIGHT fit), based on their specific requirements, completely COSTUM-MADE. That’s ‘s why our slogan is – EXACTLY – TIGHT – CUSTOM-MADE
Our customers have always been our priority. Every customer must leave the company convinced that we have solved his problem and he has been given everything he needed. Then all our employees will be satisfied, too.