Vladimir Ilić, Director General of Tigar a.d.: It’s our duty and obligation to act responsibly and in solidarity

In addition to masks, I am proud that we can produce extra quantities of rubber boots that we will donate to healthcare professionals – the heroes of today.

In keeping with our aim to continue reporting about economic news, we spoke to Mr Vladimir Ilić, Director General of Tigar a.d., about how the company has organized its business activities during the state of emergency, his private activities and things he will do after the state of emergency is cancelled.

How did you organize your business activities? What is your communication with consumers, suppliers and others like during this time?

During the state of emergency which was declared due to the Covid 19 virus epidemic all three of Tigar’s factories – Footwear Factory, Technical Rubber Factory and Chemical Product Factory – are working full steam ahead, in three shifts. In order to protect the health of our employees, we have implemented all proposed measures of staff protection in line with the relevant recommendations and the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Serbia. Our workers have protective equipment and we are preparing to start making masks of certified materials for their own use. Our workers have also made many masks for public institutions and organizations that approached us for help.

The company’s administrative activities are organized following the Government’s decree. We have on-call duty and our staff is working from home wherever possible. 

Our factories, with over six hundred production workers, are currently operating at full capacity, in three shifts. We expect to keep up with this pace until the end of the month and we are already fulfilling orders of our major customers such as Decathlon, Berner and the Hong Kong-based, Fire Services Department.

Emergencies in the world, first in China, then in the EU and Serbia, have led to some delays in the supply of raw materials, followed by changes in the procurement plans of our biggest clients, which have already been contracted for 2020. Our biggest client, Decathlon has closed many retail stores, changed its sales plan, and announced that it would place new orders only after the pandemic has passed. Our second biggest client, in terms of sales volume, Berner has a problem with the market, and the production for the Finnish Army, a deal worth close to 800,000 euro, is at standstill because the delivery of raw materials is late. Our regular clients from Italy – Battistini, Patrizia, Industrial Starter, Basic Net and Raitex – have all halted orders which resulted in the goods, which had already been manufactured as per orders from 2020, are sitting in Tigar’s warehouses, waiting to be delivered. Apart from the stagnating export activities, we have also recorded a drop in our sales in the domestic market.

How important is it for companies to stand in solidarity and support and donate to the healthcare system?

Hard times are a reminder to all of us that it is our duty and obligation to act responsibly and in solidarity, not only towards our companies and our employees, but also towards all those people who turn to us for help at this moment. In addition to masks, I am proud that we can produce extra quantities of rubber boots that we will donate to healthcare professionals – the heroes of today.

How are you spending your private time during the pandemic?

I spend my private time in the best way possible – with my family. Since my family and I have been often separated in the past three years because my work starts early in the morning and ends late at night, I usually saw my children on Viber. Now, strangely, everything is turned upside down. Now, we have time for each other, because just like all responsible citizens in Serbia, I stay at home whenever possible.

What will you do first after the state of emergency is cancelled?

After the state of emergency is over, I will first assemble my team to toast to life. After that, the only thing that we can do is to roll up our sleeves and start solving the problems and consequences of this scourge.

I wish you good health and take care of yourself.

Vladimir Ilić 

Director General of Tigar a.d.

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