Wilga – Brueggen – The employee is the driving force behind the company’s progress



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A few years ago, in 2017, to be exact, I had the pleasure of visiting the production plant in Celejów. Until then, it was a stable company with broad prospects for the future and a definite strategy. I decided to return to the topic after these few years. And what can I say … about 600 employees, a well-developed structure of the company, the decision-making power of the Polish board of directors and the Polish brand. In short, what was at that time the field of dreams has now become a reality, because the company is still boldly raising

It raises the level and, despite the many difficulties, is growing at an amazing pace. Interview with Jacek Migrał – CEO and Board Member.

Currier Garolinski: Let’s talk, what has changed since my last visit, that is, since 2017?
Jacek Mega:
The management structure has certainly changed. The owners decided to create the position of general manager of the Polish company, thanks to which we can talk today. I was given the task of creating a broad management structure covering all areas of the company’s operations.

KG: What does this mean in practice?
J.M.:
It can be said that the owners made the only right decision, because they trusted the Polish management style, in other words, the company is 100% managed by Polish managers, without direct management from the headquarters. This is an important and big change…

KG: On the business side?
J.M.:
The shortest time, during these five years, the company has grown significantly. We currently employ over 600 people.

Kilogram: It’s impressive, such a huge change does not come out of nowhere.
J.M.:
True, it is made up of several factors. First of all, new production lines, moreover, a new warehouse base, which translates to a production of more than 4,000 tons per month. I think the number of employees is best suited to the scale of our business. We are one of the largest cereal companies on the Polish market, and a clear leader in the private label sector.

KG: For whom did you produce?
J.M.:
It is worth emphasizing that this is not only a production for your back garden. Most of our products find buyers on the Polish market, especially among retail chains, but we are also a very important place of production for the group. Germany, France, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Baltic states, we even appeared in opposites, export to Australia. It is hard to imagine that the Brüggen group would operate without a factory in Celejów.

KG: Please tell me about the variety that Brüggen Polska produces.
J.M.:
Our company has been producing grain-based foods for more than 20 years. Its popularity is based on five timeless properties: it is healthy, nutritious, delicious, inexpensive and easy to consume. It is clear that the assortment is constantly expanding, and we respond to the needs of customers. If I were to go for a major product, it would be corn flakes – a product we specialize in, are market leaders and align with healthy eating trends. In addition, muesli, fruit bars – these are products that fit into a certain lifestyle.

KG: Can you still compare, using the designation taken from the previous interview, with a tailor who sews to measure?
J.M.:
of course not. Gone are the times when the retail chain knocked on us and asked us to copy their brand name products. Now our biggest customers ask us what we can offer them, in other words, we invent the concept, we create the recipe, and most importantly, we try to direct our attention to the products in which we see the potential. In addition, we have our own brand, which we have created, and we have complete control over this product, and this gives us the opportunity to enter the market with some innovative products that are subsequently introduced to the big chains. Therefore, we not only recreate and imitate trends, but we also create them, trying to get customers’ attention to the ideas that appear here, with us, in our marketing department and in our development department. I am very proud of this innovative capabilities.

KG: Along with the increase in the number of employees, the company had to expand significantly …
J.M.:
In fact, we increased the area by several thousand square meters. It is a new two-storey production hall, already partially occupied. All in response to our needs. However, this is not the end, we have plans, and I don’t know if they can be implemented inside these walls, because we definitely lack the space.

KG: Can you reveal a secret to us?
J.M.:
Unfortunately… I can only say that we face great challenges. The factory operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and there is no place for development here in the literal and figurative sense. You have to make bold decisions.

KG: Are you a brave man?
J.M.:
I think that’s what the owners expect of me, and on the other hand, I have no problem persuading them with such bold decisions. It’s a beautiful coexistence. Tough times require tough decisions. I am not afraid of them, I am not a man who waits for the best of times. Many companies make this mistake. By limiting their activities and investments, they throw themselves into a savings cycle. We are not one of these companies. It is also thanks to our owners, who continue to invest, believing that in the coming years the most favorable direction of development will continue.

KG: Speaking of hard times…the last years have been a period of a pandemic, now a war, prices are rising, inflation has skyrocketed, how does this translate into the company’s operations?
J.M.:
On the one hand, it was a very difficult period, during which supply chains were breaking, then there were problems with raw materials, and prices for grain and energy increased. However, in any situation, even the most difficult, you can find pluses. I find this. During closing, our product category has been favored by customers due to its long shelf life. Guests from Ukraine, who are also supported by our company, are also 2 million new consumers on the Polish market. In summary, from the standpoint of our business model, I’m quiet. From the standpoint of our owners and shareholders’ willingness to invest, I have no concerns either. Yes, the times we live in are not easy, these are the next challenges the company has faced and which we are dealing with. I have an amazing team of committed and creative people who can handle any situation. It is a complete management structure with directors and directors of all departments.

KG: Then I wonder if Brüggen can still be called a family business?
J.M.:
Yes, and I am happy to confirm that. However, our family of owners can share both competencies and responsibilities. Of course, he’s still involved in making key decisions, but 90% of the operational decisions we make locally.

KG: What makes your family’s company different from yours?
J.M.:
Less bureaucracy, but simpler structures and shorter decision-making paths. It is all provided. Atmosphere is just as important. The owners have an emotional attitude to this plant, they know it from the inside out. They often visit our factory, talk to the staff. By the way, and with undisguised pride, I would like to confirm that a Polish man has been the head of production in Germany for several months.

KG: The company is often also involved in local initiatives.
J.M.:
We try to be open to the needs of others. In fact, we support various kinds of initiatives and activities because we value the actions of people for the benefit of others. It’s a very nice synergy, a very nice connection. We participate, for example, in charitable activities for emergency care costs, and collect hats for the treatment of a boy from the area. In addition, there are a number of partner campaigns, sponsoring local events. We want relations with our social environment to be appropriate, and we support the development of this environment by participating in one way or another in actions that we advocate or initiate.

KG: Your dreams about the company?
J.M.:
Without putting it into numbers, I would like the company to double. Of course, I am aware that there is this glass ceiling somewhere, but I would like to have production capabilities that will allow us to grow faster than the market. I would like to maintain the position of undisputed market leader. At the same time, I would like our local brand to be more visible in the market, and also in those channels where we are not yet present, or in which we are not visible. It is a local and national dream. However, people are the key to the success of any business. I can say with unquestionable pride that the people who created this company with me are the right people in the right positions. Without a motivated and stable employee, we wouldn’t be able to grow this fast. Every employee of our company knows that their work is valuable and understands that it contributes greatly to our collective success, from the machine operator to the management level. We have many challenges ahead, so I would like to develop this team.

KG: How can I contact you then?
J.M.:
There are many channels, Kurier Garwoliński is one of the portals where we publish job offers. First of all, please visit our website www.brueggen.com.pl. Of course, we are also open to direct contact – visit our company, phone, e-mail. Our recruitment department will always find time for an interview. We really have a lot to offer. If someone has been looking for work for many years, we invite you. If you value stability and predictability, this is the right address. Every employee is valuable to us. I am happy to present awards every year for 10, 15, 20 years of work. The great joy of the employees who have been with the company since the beginning, from zero hours. We mean building a more stable team. The company advances impossible without a continuous supply of committed and motivated employees, I am not talking about qualified employees on purpose, we can convey these qualifications. What matters is an open mind and willingness.

KG: Thank you for the interview. I have nothing left but to wish you and your company continued success. I think it will be good material for the next interview.

Brüggen Polska Sp. Zoo
Celejów 69, 08-470 Wilga
www.brueggen.com.pl
Employment Department
phone. 72122433, 722221182
HR@brueggen.com






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