Kazakhstani entrepreneur Tanat Sarsembay, co-owner of the company ’Metako’, told Kladana how he broke the long-established traditions, revolutionised his manufacture, and became a market leader.
Metako is the № 1 producer of steel doors in Kazakhstan.
Their factory is located in Almaty, and the company manages two other factories: one in the Republic of Mari El, Russia, and the other in Turkey.
Their annual turnover is 2 billion tenges.
They also have two retail stores in Almaty and an online store.
The production volume is 3,000 doors per year.
Start of Metako company
The story of Metako began in 2006 when Oleg Khodorenko rented a workshop at the former Kryuchkov defence plant in Almaty.
Oleg started producing metal doors, which sold well. He had a manufacturing team but delivered orders in an old car, tying the finished doors to the car’s roof.
The business was going well until Kazakhstan joined the EAEU. Cheap products flooded the market from Russia within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union, which hindered Metako’s business. The company couldn’t keep up with the competition, and sales declined. Then the principal investor wanted to sell his share, as he lost interest in the business. That’s when Tanat Sarsembay and Arman Baymukhanov bought out the shares.
Accounting is for the tax authorities, Kladana — for the owners
Tanat realised it was necessary to change the system and build business processes. He tried to reorient the accounting team to work for the owners, but he failed.
Tanat had to carry out harsh reforms, breaking established traditions. The processes were complicated.
It took a whole year to restructure all departments. Employees resisted. Even other owners were only sometimes in agreement with the changes.
Was it worth it?
The implementation of Kladana was also complicated because «Metako» is a company with complex internal processes, including multi-workshop manufacturing.
The company has 8 locations: the central warehouse, the finished goods warehouse, and six workshop warehouses. Goods move from one warehouse to another, accumulating costs. Every movement is recorded in the Kladana.
All people are using Kladana, including the manufacturing manager, workshop managers, and warehouse workers.
This was just the beginning
After «Metako» successfully developed the retail sector and captured the premium segment, it was necessary to move further — to go to corporate clients to work with construction companies.
However, we had two obstacles to working in the mass market: too high prices and weak manufacturing capacity.
At the same time, there were factories in Russia that could produce 20 times more at a low cost but were operating at a loss. In 2021, «Metako» took control of a factory in Russia, in the Mari El Republic.
The corporate department at «Metako» is also structured uniquely. There are three categories of employees working in the department.
The first level consists of ‘hunters’, those who seek out clients. These employees go to construction sites and engage in cold sales. A hunter is an extrovert who must always be on the move and communicate with others.
The second level consists of ‘farmers’, who are more introverted. They process requests that come from the hunters. Their task is to process the order and translate it into the language of production. Farmers create Sales Orders in Kladana, then create Purchase orders, and place Production Orders.
The farmers are also divided. Some prepare Proposals, others place orders at the factories, and a third group accepts and processes orders on behalf of the factory.
When the product is ready, the ‘closer’ appears. They are the ones who accept the order and work on the site: they install, coordinate, and sign documents. The closer leads the installation team.
The hunter is responsible for what happens with the client in the office, the closer is responsible for what happens on the construction site, and the farmer is the connecting link.
The salaries of all three categories are tied to the company’s income. The hunter receives 10% of the net profit. In addition to their salary, the farmer and closer receive bonuses from the net profit if they meet their targets.
Factory in Turkey and sales in Astana
Due to the strict COVID restrictions that lasted six months in Kazakhstan, Metako survived by equipping hospitals with doors. This allowed the company to stay afloat and pay its employees’ salaries.
Of course, there was no talk of making a profit during that period, but the company could keep its people and not lose control despite the remote work format.
Corporate culture: rules of «Metako» company
Everything must be digitised. If it’s not digitised, it doesn’t exist.
The rule of digital trace. All communication between employees or partners takes place in the digital space.
The rule of authority separation. Everyone is responsible for their area and does not interfere with others.
The rule of free competition. Whoever brings the customer first gets the customer.
The rule of net income. All employees are rewarded based on net income.
The main rule of production:
Do not create defective products, and do not pass them on. If you received and approved a defective product, you are responsible for it.
Any rule can be broken, but you bear material responsibility for the consequences.