Ing. František Komora
The Slovak Republic has experienced considerable economic growth in recent years. The rapidly developing automotive industry plays an important role and brings new opportunities and task for Slovak logistics. And because there is a new automotive factory in construction in Slovakia, Jaguar Land Rover in Nitra, we asked Ing. František Komora, the President of the Association of Logistics and Forwarding of the Slovak Republic, what the arrival of another car factory will mean to Slovakia.
What impulses will bring the further expansion of automotive industry in Slovakia?
There are three distinct effects. The first is an economic growth. With the arrival of the automotive industry, demands grow for the quality of logistics services and workers in production. This arrival is accompanied with the top logistic know-how. And, of course, demand for logistics services grows.
At the same time, the dependency of the economy on one sector is increased. I suppose, that the high demands of the automotive industry on work force quality and technology could guarantee the ability of industrial capacities to be used in other kinds of production too. Nevertheless, a possible sharp decline in demand in the automotive industry could certainly create a shock in the one-sidedly focused economy.
In view of the fact that automotive is a modern production, I do not expect an extreme pollution of the environment. Yet the new factories will be built on the high-quality arable land, which becomes a rule in Slovakia recently. I observe this trend with growing worries.
Will the Slovak transport and logistics be ready for the new challenges?
We have already partially talked about the demands on logistics. Nevertheless, a problem could arise from the fact that it will be necessary to increase capacity in warehousing and logistics. It means increased demands on skilled staff, the lack of which we feel already now. There should not be a problem with transport operation due to the connection to the highway. However, if we want to use more ecological transport modes, e.g. railway or combined transport, we see several problems. Recently, logistics areas were built without infrastructure necessary for these transport modes. Even if I suppose that the state is ready to help, the question of operator remains.
Do the Slovak companies suppose that they will be involved in the logistics operations for the new factory?
I think that nobody has doubts about it. The question is just the extent of Slovak companies’ participation and who will be chosen. Currently, tendering is on the way with the future suppliers. Slovak companies take part in these tenders and given that many of them already have been working for VW and PSA, I do not doubt that some of them will succeed. We will see, to what extent. The subcontractors for the new car factory will provide next opportunities for them too.
Do you think that this will be for them an occasion to provide other services outside the logistics itself, as for example a preassembly?
Yes, these requirements exist. Slovak companies, not only in Bratislava, Trnava and Žilina regions but also in Eastern Slovakia are already involved in these projects. Again, we must stress that it will be necessary to solve the extraordinary local demand for workers in logistics, in view of the fact of its lack in these regions.
How will Slovak labour market cope with demand for new employees?
This will be the biggest challenge; thousands of working places will create demand for working force migration not only in Slovakia and in neighbouring countries but probably from countries outside EU too. Specialization is also a problem because young people are not interested in blue collars. In addition, the Ministry of Education allows various “schools” to offer education for “white collars” in such extent that the market does not need. What is more, schools paid “by a piece” adapt themselves to these conditions, so that they would keep their income. This is what sometimes makes the quality of the graduates questionable.
ZLZ holds the view that we need to start working with young people who have already experienced the basic fault of contemporary education, i.e. the young graduates. Our association has already one educational product certified by the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations FIATA. Because of the need for fast solution and due to the bureaucracy associated with accreditation for educational products, there is a possible solution of a flexible group with separate courses that allow creating at least basic “professional education”. Companies could tailor such education and if the employee would get the necessary credits, also the other ZLZ SR members would recognize such education.
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