draxlmaiers skills

Guido Meinelt, plant manager at Dräxlmaier’s Moldova branches in Bălți, discusses how the German automotive component supplier is the eastern European country's largest foreign investor – and is still expanding. 

Q: What first attracted Dräxlmaier to Moldova? 

A: The Dräxlmaier Group came to Moldova in 2007, where it found a professional and skilled workforce. We have succeeded in creating a strong team of production staff and experts from various industries. To promote the skills of our employees, we focus on training courses for the latest technologies and machines, and we work with universities and vocational schools in the region in this regard. By training its staff, Dräxlmaier can guarantee consistent high quality in education levels.

To us, it is important to be close to our customers. We are present in over 20 countries with more than 60 sites, and we are always in close proximity to them. This ensures that every single product is functionally tested and gets to our customers’ assembly lines both in good time and at the right time.

Q: Are these the same reasons why you are expanding your business?

A: We have two plants producing wiring harnesses in Bălți [Moldova's second largest city] at the moment; we completed an enlargement of our second plant in 2017. Besides this, Dräxlmaier Group opened a new product development office in [the Moldovan capital of] Chisinau in December 2017, and decided to open a third manufacturing plant of electrical components and wiring harnesses [whose] production started at the end of 2018. The number of employees in Moldova [is currently] approaching 5000. Our [initial] plant in Bălți gained the trust of its customers and managed to constantly expand its product portfolio and its team [which meant] we could invest and open other sites [across] Moldova. 

Q: Have you found the business environment in Moldova easy to operate and invest in? What could still be improved? 

A: When the company first came to Moldova, we encountered some difficulty in delivering 'just in time', as the time spent at customs was different. After becoming a resident in a free economic zone, our company was able to carry out import and export operations on a 24/7 basis, as the Moldovan customs officials are present around the clock. The customs clearance [located] in the building of our plant is a big advantage for us, as we have to assure deliveries to the customer just in time or just in sequence.

Q: Do you contribute to any educational engineering programmes across Moldova? 

A: Dräxlmaier is a pioneer in the field of apprenticeships. In 2014, the company launched the Dual Education System and after one year the first graduates were hired. In co-operation with the professional schools in Moldova, Dräxlmaier developed a specific curriculum that not only fulfils the requirements of the company but has also been approved by the Ministry of Education. Both the theoretical and the practical lessons take place in well-equipped classrooms on the company grounds. The lessons are coordinated by teachers and experienced employees of the company.

Furthermore, Dräxlmaier participated in designing the curriculum for a new bachelor’s programme in engineering and the management of automobile manufacturing in Moldova. About 100 students are studying the first to the fourth courses at Alecu Russo Bălți State University. The best students from each course get a scholarship from Dräxlmaier and are given the chance to do paid summer practice at our plants. This summer practice helps them to implement the theoretical topics [they've studied] by working with modern equipment, and it increases their chances of getting a highly qualified job.

This article is sourced from fDi Magazine
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