Success through entrepreneurial practices and enthusiasm

Vladimír Toman
Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, field of study: industrial machinery and equipment for mechanical engineering, working at Miba since 1991

Anna Michalíková
Technical University in Zvolen, Faculty of Wood Sciences and Technology, field of study: business management, working at Miba since 2004

Miba Sinter Slovakia (MSSK) is one of the most important industrial employers in the Orava region. Since 1991, the company has supplied customers from the European automotive industry with sintered components of the highest precision and quality. Over the last 25 years, Miba Sinter Slovakia has become the Miba Group site with the most employees.



Miba Sinter Slovakia became Miba’s largest site worldwide in recent years. What were its historical milestones? What entrepreneurial decisions and actions were the key to its success?  

Vladimír: I would like to make one small correction: it is the largest site by number of employees. Hopefully more top spots will be achieved in the Miba Sinter Group! When I think back on the decisive phases, I recall several that were complicated, demanding and, more than anything, motivating. They were external events that impacted the business. After the company was founded and production commenced in 1991 and 1992, we were confronted with the first market uncertainties and major changes in former Czechoslovakia in 1993. More recently, after joining the EU in 2004, there was a relatively complicated economic situation in 2008–09 around the same time when the euro was introduced as the new currency. In all of these situations, we had to face challenging situations. And then there were internal milestones and stimuli. Most of these were related to growth opportunities – through new interesting projects and mainly the realization of new ideas and concepts. This is how we managed to grow from only one production unit in the beginning to now four units. Every individual growth phase entailed numerous interesting ideas and solutions. By no means can we forget the decisions that targeted our independence in various areas and processes. Like in product and process development, automation measures or logistics.  


How would you characterize MSSK? Does it possess extraordinary strengths?

Vladimír: That is fairly difficult to answer. But I think that our company’s strength lies in its people, in their enthusiasm and will to achieve something. They want to tackle the task with a successful outcome. Luckily, we have many employees who don’t know the expressions “no” or “it can’t be done”!

Anna: MSSK is a flourishing business located in the beautiful surroundings of the lower Orava Valley, offering its employees security and stability for 25 years now. Its success is due to the efforts of the employees.  


Does Miba have special standards for its employees in addition to their qualifications? What is special about the MSSK team?

Vladimír: Holding our employees to specific standards, developing such standards or the pursuit of them is not a decisive factor for us. Working with young people who have just completed their university degrees at different qualification levels is important to us. For our employees, we strive to create conditions for development that are in keeping with the company’s needs, that awaken their creativity, foster their talent and motivate them, by providing them with a workplace and opportunities to engage. Yet in doing so, we certainly would not want to do without the experience and the motivation of the older colleagues. The important thing is simply a motivating and positive atmosphere in the company that we work together to create.

Anna: Training and qualifications are important. The personality of the future colleague also plays an important role in the recruiting process. It is important that he or she fits well into the team. The work here is diverse and dynamic. We expect our future colleagues to be willing to work on themselves and to have the drive to continue developing themselves further. We are the Miba family. Good work relationships are one of the cornerstones of our success.


MSSK is part of an international group. What role do the Slovakian plants play within the Group? How do they cooperate with other sites?  

Vladimír: Finding our own place within the Group is part of our future, and we not only strive to locate and define our own place but also to shape and influence that place in a positive way. For a long time now, our role or position has been undergoing a transition from recipient and processor to provider. Things aren’t always black and white. Sometimes we need suggestions and solutions but, most of all, we are highly proactive and want to stay that way. Communication and mutual understanding are particularly important so that when it comes to solutions and future orientation, we always continue to find that common path.


What opportunities do the employees have thanks to Miba’s international activities?

Anna: We start with schoolchildren as part of the dual vocational training. During vocational school training, we offer them apprentice positions in our partner plant in Vorchdorf, Austria. The most promising graduates can take part in the Miba Global Graduate Program. Our employees discuss their experiences with their colleagues in Austria, India, Brazil, China and the US.


What does “Picture your career with vision” mean to you, and what experiences have you made in this respect?

Vladimír: Every day, we make the slogan “Picture your career with vision” a reality. Here, everyone has the opportunity to improve their career, they just have to want to do it. It is up to the individual. We provide the conditions to make it happen.

Anna: To me, “vision” means the opportunity to show what a person can do – the opportunity to work your way up. Miba offers employees the freedom to work on themselves and to grow. Searching for new solutions, making decisions and being prepared to bear those consequences. As for me, I started as an employee in Purchasing eleven years ago, and now I am Human Capital Manager.