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EBRD, EU and Norway support the digitalisation of food producer in Bosnia and Herzegovina

By Bojana Vlajcic

Mladegs Pak improves productivity and efficiency

Mladegs Pak improves productivity and efficiency

Mladegs Pak is a family-owned firm established 34 years ago in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The company’s main activity is the production of condiments (such as ketchup, spices and seasonings), teas and other food products. The firm produces these under its own branding, but also for large buyers and supermarkets in Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries in the region.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and donors – the European Union and Norway – supported the company’s digital transformation, which boosted productivity and efficiency.  

Mladen Prtljacic, manager of Mladegs Pak, recalls realising, when they started working with large buyers, that the company needed to improve its business processes.

“After we had signed big contracts with large supermarket chains, we faced problems with tracking costs, batches and product traceability in general. We then decided to start digitalising production.”

The project, implemented with the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses (ASB) team, included the digitalisation of all equipment and processes.

The ASB programme is designed to help entrepreneurs at just such moments: when they are at a crossroads, wondering how to overcome challenges and grow in the right direction. It offers business advice through local and international consultants, helping companies acquire the know-how to become more competitive. A significant part of the project cost is covered by the programme, thanks to donor funds secured from the EU and Norway.

The digitalisation of business processes has brought many positive changes at Mladegs Pak, including better collection and management of data, stronger internal coordination and greater efficiency.

“We know where the goods are at any time, which specific batch of raw material was used to manufacture a certain product, and other details that allow us to track all steps along the production chain. We can now track all of the processes much better and react faster to any problems,” adds Mladen.

The changes and benefits brought have encouraged the company to plan future investments.

“Our plan is to renew all machines by the end of next year so that they are compatible with Industry 4.0 standards. Then we can connect them to the existing software and make another step towards digitalisation, which will allow us to have even more real-time information.”

Advice for success

“Mladegs Pak is a great example of how digitalisation can help firms improve productivity, boost efficiency and reduce costs, and how they can optimise their business by streamlining operations and making them less prone to human error,” says Zihnija Hasovic, EBRD Principal Manager for ASB in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The programme has already assisted more than 1,200 businesses and entrepreneurs in the country since 2001. To date, the European Union has supported ASB activities with over €6 million.

The new programme cycle will enable at least 40 companies to improve their employees’ skills, become more innovative, attract financing, gain expertise and become business leaders, increasing their competitiveness and productivity.

Small businesses can apply for support in a variety of areas, including  digitalisation, financial management, sales, marketing, human resources, succession planning and other fields.

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