STRONG FOR GENERATIONS: Family business Klimas has grown into a major manufacturer and exporter of fasteners, accumulating awards, firsts and a client base that spans over 60 countries. Wojciech Klimas, the founder and the president of the company, shares the 30 year story with Torque Magazine…
Klimas, a Polish manufacturer of fastening technologies, celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2020. The sizeable company currently has four production plants totalling over 80,000 m² with more than 300 machines for fastener manufacturing. Its products are sold in at least 60 countries around the world.
How did a small family company, established in the 1990s, have such a presence on the domestic and European fastening technologies market and is a highly recognisable brand among Polish and international contractors?
Its strong position on the fastening market has been confirmed by numerous distinctions, awards and titles. The company has been awarded the prestigious title of Construction Brand of the Year eight times, year‐after‐year, based on the ranking of construction contractors' opinions. The manufacturer has been also awarded the following titles on numerous occasions: the Construction Company of the Year, awarded by Builder magazine, the Construction Industry Creator, awarded by the Polish Chamber of Civil Engineers, the BCC European Medal, Superbrands, as well as the Forbes Diamond ‐ a distinction granted by Forbes business magazine. These awards confirm the high brand awareness of Klimas brand among the customers, as well as the professionalism and strong market position of the company. Wojciech Klimas, the founder and the president of the company, takes up the story…
How was the company established and what have been the key milestones of its development?
By initiating the production of screws for quick assembly and fasteners for thermal insulation at the end of the 1990s, we started manufacturing new categories of fasteners. Subsequent investments in the development of machinery, the employment of high‐class specialists and cooperation with manufacturers from various industries, resulted in solutions that quickly gained recognition among customers. Our products stood out on the market due to their highest quality parameters and they met all required technical standards. In 2005, the company became the first business in Poland from the construction sector to obtain the European
Technical Approval for its products.
After opening a second large‐scale production plant with a warehouse in 2010, the company dynamically increased the sales of its products and expanded its product range including: self‐tapping screws for fixing metal roofing tiles (“Farmers”), construction chemicals, frame fasteners (including SFX), carpentry screws and chemical anchors. The Klimas brand fasteners have proven themselves both in refurbishment and assembly works, as well as in single‐family and residential construction.
What does the Klimas product offer look like?
There is a comprehensive portfolio of fastening technologies and also power tool accessories and construction chemicals. This means the entire range of products for the construction industry, from joinery, through insulation, roof fastenings, anchoring up to fastenings for timber structures. Our portfolio has evolved over
time. In the 1990s we started with standard solutions and today we supply our products to much more technically advanced markets, where not only the product but also service support in terms of calculations (e.g. load‐bearing capacity or wind capacity) play an important role. Applications, such as lightweight cladding, flat roofs and anchoring mentioned above require specialist software, which we offer in order to provide our customers with not only a first‐class product, but also a first‐class service.
What are the key industries Klimas reaches?
We are well established in the construction industry and our portfolio includes fastening technologies for many industries. We reach both carpenters and roofers with our range for timber structures and the famous “Farmers” for the roofing. We also reach smaller and larger contractor companies operating in the area of thermal efficiency improvement of walls and roofs. Our portfolio of products for mechanical and chemical anchoring also reaches general contractors as well as architects. We supply the fasteners for the manufacture and installation of joinery, renovation of buildings and large‐scale investments, such as shopping malls, office buildings and hotels. Our product range is available in the largest DIY store chains, reaching not only contractors, but also individual customers.
What are the core foundations of your business activity?
People have always been and will always be the foundation of our company. We are lucky to have great experts and highly qualified management staff. The involvement of the younger generation who participate in the life of the company from an early age, thus ensuring the continuation of the family business, is another highly important element. A well‐prepared team which continuously raises its qualifications is the best recipe for efficient operation and implementation of precisely defined goals. Moreover, the overriding need that every manufacturer must meet is the guarantee of quality. This element has been the flagship goal of our company from the very beginning. We develop new products in co‐operation with our partners, since we believe that jointly developed solutions ensure positive long‐term effects. Yet another important element of co‐operation with partners is broader services, such as counselling
and training, technical calculations, availability and timeliness of deliveries, and tests of our products are the basic tools which the company uses on a daily basis.
How does being a family business affect the identity and values of the company?
The family character with which we identify our company, is not just about image. Family businesses are the major economic strength, both because of their quantity and because they are more capable of surviving in times of crisis than other companies. As owners, we have a sense of responsibility towards the
generations that created the company and also towards the successors. Being a family business, we are perceived as more reliable, authentic and determined to deliver the best quality goods and services possible. And because we are focused on a multi‐generational business activity, we develop our structures
on a long‐term basis. The trust undoubtedly translates into relations with business partners, who perceive the company as a reliable and stable manufacturer. Therefore, the family character of the company is reflected in its mission statement: “Strong for generations”, which greatly emphasises the two key parameters
that we have set for ourselves: i.e. the family character of the company and the exceptional quality.
The business continues to evolve in terms of products, production capacity and also the ways of reaching customers. How do you cope in this area?
Since the beginning, the company has focused on the wide distribution of its products, so that every customer, no matter where they come from, could have the opportunity to buy the product range. In order to keep up with technological progress, we decided to launch a new e‐commerce platform. It is a very important stage in the digital transformation of our company. We are aware that widespread access to the internet has changed the traditional shopping model for good, and although this change is gradual in the construction industry, as the leader in the fastenings category we want to be prepared for the needs of the changing market. Thanks to the e‐klimas.com platform, customers receive comprehensive information about the extensive Klimas portfolio in real time. On the platform they can also check prices and availability of the product range, and most importantly, they are able to place an order at any time, even from a mobile phone. An important functionality of e‐klimas.com is a search engine with an advanced filtering and sorting function, which allows our customers to rapidly find a specific product.
What role do technology and automation play in your factories? Technology and full automation of production processes is already a standard in our factories, which we are constantly improving. Large production spaces are filled with specialist machinery, as a result of which we can increase production capacity while minimising costs, which directly affects the competitiveness of our products. Due to the fact that hard work is performed by modern technology, our employees are directed to less strenuous activities, working in a peaceful and orderly manner.
I would like to emphasise once again how important staff are; we are aware that a tight team is developed on the basis of good working conditions. It is a challenge we face every day, especially in difficult times when we are subject to the course of the pandemic.
For many years you have been operating as a major exporter of fastening technologies. Is export your main line of business?
We have been exporting since the end of the 1990s; At first to the Eastern European markets, and later to Southern and Western Europe. The most dynamic development of export sales took place in 2014, which resulted in cooperation with counterparts in 40 countries. Today, the Klimas brand reaches more than 60
countries through various models of product distribution, from the cooperation with trading partners up to the opening of our own sales branches in selected countries, including the Czech Republic, Slovakia, France and India. Over the last five to six years we have started to make conscious, strategic decisions about the
areas in which we want to develop. We have focused on developing on the Southern and the Eastern European markets, and then on the Western European market, while being aware of the countries and continents in which there is demand for our product range. Today we can safely say that we are no longer just a European player on the fastening technology market. In 2019, we established commercial cooperation with partners in Senegal and Australia. It was a bold move for us to set up a sales company in India, but after 15 months of operation we knew that this was the right decision. We have a sales team working for us in India to make sure that our product range reaches major investments. At the same time, the company has established cooperation with a number of trade partners who are also developing the Klimas export brand on the Indian market. At present we are opening our retail outlets in Prague, the Czech Republic and we are also expanding our business in France.
While pushing into overseas markets, you are still strongly focused on your own market through CSR activities...
I cannot imagine being indifferent to the problems and needs that exist in every society. We are a part of it, and we are fortunate to be able to take advantage of opportunities to have a direct impact on creating a better world. We try to support local aid organisations and charities, such as the Noble Parcel, and support Poland‐wide initiatives addressed at various social groups, including vocational school students, people with disabilities, and the poorest families. We donate our products to build facilities belonging to the Ronald McDonald Foundation (where families live while their children are in oncology or haematology wards) and funds for the With My Brother’s Eyes Foundation (care facilities for persons with disabilities). Apart from that, like the vast majority of Poles, we financially support The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, which provides hospitals with medical equipment every year. This is a drop in the ocean of needs, but we are glad that our employees are equally involved in such campaigns.
Where do you see the company in five years?
We are consistently pursuing our strategic goal of becoming the market leader in fastening technologies production not only in Europe, but also all over the world. Therefore, we keep investing in the further expansion of our production facilities. Through these investments, we will not only be able to meet the demand for our products, which is increasing year‐on‐year, but we will also be able to propose new product solutions, which we will soon offer to our business partners. Of course, we have no influence on the economic condition of the global and Polish construction industry, but based on our experience of over 30 years, we are well prepared for various disruptions on the domestic and foreign markets.
This article originally appeared in the April 2021 issue of Torque Magazine, which you can read in its entirety online. If you are part of the fastener, tool and related industries you can subscribe to the magazine or sign up to our weekly newsletter.