"Letting each individual shine"

Ajla Djokic, 35, has been working at Tvornica cementa Kakanj for five years now. She has a Bachelor’s degree in economics and works in the financial department. She is responsible for accounts payable, workers’ insurance, and fixed assets management. 

Seid Obralija, 58, is a mechanical engineer and first joined the company in 1981 as a graduate student. Later he was employed in the department for technical preparation. He has been with the company for 32 years.

Seid, you’ve spent more than half of your life at the company. How have your job and the company changed since you started working here?

Seid:
When I joined the company, I was assigned to the department of technical preparation. Technical preparation is involved in nearly all of the company’s activities, so it was an excellent place for a junior engineer to learn how the plant works. During the war [The Bosnian War: 1992-1995], production stopped for three-and-a-half years, and started again immediately after. Then, in 2000, the factory was privatized, and HeidelbergCement became the major shareholder. With the arrival of HeidelbergCement, a new organisational structure was put in place. I was named Head of the Department for Raw Material Preparation, which at some point also included the quarry.

When I arrived, the department employed 38 people; today there are 23. Automation has replaced some people – but this is true of all business segments, and is understandable, given the current role of technology in our lives. Machines now perform most unsafe and dangerous tasks.

Employees, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2

Why is HeidelbergCement a good company to work for? Do you like your job?

Ajla:
I do. It is not monotonous, but dynamic – I’m always learning something new. I have the opportunity to attend many seminars and training courses. The e-learning system introduced by the Group for internal training is really great. But despite my professional obligations, I still have enough time for my family. I can build my career while also being a good mother and supporting my kids.

Seid:
It is very nice to have clearly defined working hours. Of course, extraordinary situations occasionally require overtime. Sometimes I have to stay overnight at the plant, but that is rare.

Ajla:
Overtime is also required on occasion in the finance department, but we’re also given ample opportunity to develop our skills and learn more.

Employees, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 5

Seid:
The company provides security, allowing us to live productive lives. The most beautiful thing is when an individual wants to advance and he has the support of his supervisors and the company.

Ajla:
A nice advantage of being part of a large Group like HeidelbergCement is the opportunity for constant advancement. We can take on greater responsibilities locally and also advance within the Group, anywhere in the world.

Seid:
The company offers many opportunities for advancement, travel, and meeting new people and friends. Things really improved at the company after it was sold to HeidelbergCement. The first big investment in our factory once HeidelbergCement came was the replacement of the electro filter with the new baghouse. What a wonderful change! Dust emissions were reduced by 99%. Before, we had problems with water, dust, and noise. And now, 13 years later, look at how beautiful this place is – it’s like a park.

Employees, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 3

How would you describe the company in three words?

Seid:
I would say strong, stable, and desirable.

Ajla:
And I would say secure, progressive, and dynamic.

Employees, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 4

HeidelbergCement celebrated its 140th anniversary. What is your wish for the company going forward?

Seid:
I’m glad to work at a company that has existed for so many years, with such a rich history. I hope that HeidelbergCement expands further around the world, remains the market leader, and continues to be a pioneer in our industry.

Ajla:
I hope HeidelbergCement continues to be a success while providing excellent support to local communities, because, in the end, we are all part of a community. And when HeidelbergCement celebrates its 180th anniversary, I hope to be on the other side, where Seid is sitting, looking back at a long career at the company.

Seid:
I hope the company continues to grow and remains a place that people love, a place that forms the core of so many people’s lives.

(The interview was conducted in 2013.)

More about HeidelbergCement in Bosnia and Herzegovina