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The plant in Kaluga is Continental’s efficiency leader

Georgy ROTOV, General Director Continental Kaluga

 

Continental has the biggest exports among all of the region’s auto manufacturers. Does the plant have sufficient capacity to support such significant exports and is there potential for its further expansion? What directions for export sales development offer the most potential?

Initially, production at our plant like many others was targeted at the internal market. However, we had to review our development strategies as the economic situation changed. The company has applied considerable efforts to bring locally-manufactured products to the export market and tires from the Kaluga Continental plant are now supplied to 23 countries, including Europe, Asia and North America.

The export trend will to a great extent depend on the economic situation with state support playing an important role as well. The Russian Export Center is currently developing measures to support exporters in consultations with major companies, including Continental. This is definitely a positive trend. At the same time measures like cancellation of transaction passports, elimination of dual currency control, expansion of terms for document submission could greatly reduce the pressures for plants and facilitate export activities. It is necessary to thoroughly research support measured for priority export segments and to offer them simplified tax administration.

In less than five years of its operation at Rosva industrial park, the Continental plant has made a leap from, basically, ground works to manufacturing of 10 million tires. How did you manage to achieve such impressive results?

The tire plant in Kaluga was built from scratch but has managed to grow into an independent enterprise within a relatively short time. It is an important element in the Tire Division’s strategy that is targeted at growth, value enhancement and improvement. The team in Kaluga is successfully handling all three objectives and meeting all its targets. In 2011, we laid the foundation for the plant, in 2013 we began manufacturing, in 2014 we celebrated production of the millionth tire, and in 2018 achieved the 10,000,000 tire mark. This was all done within a dynamically changing market environment. Today, the Kaluga plant is expanding cooperation with car manufacturers, its tires are used my major Russian and international plants. The demand for tires produced in Kaluga is driven by their high quality that is confirmed by international certificates. All products that leave the plant’s production line meet ISO/TS 16949 quality standards. Apart from that, the quality of tires from Kaluga is confirmed by independent expert and consumer assessments. The plant has proven the compliance of its tires with all formal requirements of the German VDA 6.3 quality standard and received the top “A” rating from the auditors of a major corporate client. 

As recently noted by the Tire Division head and Continental Vice President Nikolai Setzer, the plant in Kaluga provides an excellent example of synergetic effects of modern equipment, innovative technologies and efficient and coordinated work of a team of professionals. This combination of factors allowed the plant to become a leader among all Continental plants by quality standards within a short period of time.

The Kaluga plant team was awarded for achievement of best quality among all Continental tire plants. How do you maintain the high level of professionalism among your employees?

The plant in Kaluga is in the lead among all of the concern’s plants by efficiency of production processes and management. Last year the plant was named the best for process and product quality and it holds the lead to this day. The evaluation is based on key performance indicators that include the ratio of production defects, number of complaints filed by manufacturing clients and secondary assembly market, accounting also the production process efficiency and quality of compounded rubber. 

This result is largely due to the professionalism of the company’s employees. The plant in Kaluga currently employs over 1,000 specialists. Some of its experts have achieved levels of professionalism that allow them to train new staff hired for projects in Thailand and North America.

In our recruitment efforts we try to select candidates that are a perfect fit for the vacant position. We offer them opportunities for career development, professional and personal growth through both in-job training and visits to Continental plants in other countries within the scope of international projects or experience sharing programs.

The company has developed a matrix that clearly indicates opportunities for advancement from each position and the knowledge and skills required for such advancement. We prepare annual individual training and development plans for each specialist – from worker to manager – that keeps track of interim results and is adjusted throughout the year. We also perform annual appraisals of employee progress. Employees get feedback and recommendations on how to exploit their strengths as well as on issues to focus on for further professional growth.

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