Kromberg & Schubert : Pioneering Spirit, Innovative Entrepreneurship

Thomas ArnoldLily Sawyer
Thomas Arnold - Senior Head of Projects Lily Sawyer - Editor
At A Glance
  • Specialising in the manufacture of cable harnesses, complex wiring systems, plastic parts, and custom wires for the automotive industry, Kromberg & Schubert operates across 40 locations worldwide.
  • Kromberg & Schubert’s deep belief in the importance of building a local brand that people are invested in has allowed the company to navigate a competitive and potentially exhausted market.
  • Many local companies that have historically partnered with Kromberg & Schubert are now successful businesses in their own right, and today contribute to national and regional economies in the Balkans.
  • “They say that the only way to live well is to live with purpose. Our purpose is to be a force for good in all the locations we serve” Tanya Miliskovik, Managing Director, Kromberg & Schubert.

Kromberg & Schubert remains dedicated to the integration and development of its high-quality products as it witnesses a domestic boom in the industry. Tanya Miliskovik, Managing Director, tells us more.

PIONEERING SPIRIT, INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Home to strong domestic manufacturing brands such as Škoda and Dacia, and having seen a recent influx of foreign direct investment (FDI) from brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Volkswagen, Central and Eastern Europe has emerged as a hub of automotive production over the past three decades and an attractive investment location for global automotive suppliers.  

For more than 100 years, Kromberg & Schubert has pioneered innovation and entrepreneurship to contribute to its continuous expansion and globalisation within the automotive space. 

Specialising in the manufacture of cable harnesses, complex wiring systems, plastic parts, and custom wires for the automotive industry, the company operates across 40 locations worldwide. Kromberg & Schubert’s 50,000-strong network of global employees speaks volumes about its historical and exponential growth.   

Of its domestic operations within Eastern Europe, Kromberg & Schubert boasts three state-of-the-art production sites across North Macedonia and Serbia.  

“Our production plant in Bitola, North Macedonia is our most experienced factory, having been in operation for 12 years. As the plant’s first employee, I have witnessed the staff base grow to over 5,300 since it was founded,” opens Tanya Miliskovik, Managing Director. 

In addition to its rapidly growing team, Kromberg & Schubert is currently undertaking projects for global brands such as Daimler, Audi, Škoda, and Porsche across its Eastern European plants, which have created hundreds of jobs and contributed to the company’s ongoing expansion.  

“As an outcome of the positive results here at our Krusevac plant in the last year and our successful rebranding, we have gained the confidence to acquire new projects and clients, such as BMW. We anticipate that this partnership in particular will provide an additional 800 to 1,000 new jobs,” she reveals.  

Thus, despite the relative exhaustion of the labour market, economic inflation, and an influx of competition from Europe and the likes of China in recent years, Kromberg & Schubert continues to remain at the forefront of the automotive industry in the continent. 

INDUSTRY EVOLUTION, EMPLOYEE EMPOWERMENT

Having faced many challenges historically, the global automotive industry continues to navigate obstacles today. These can be categorised into three groups: industry, macroeconomic, and technology.  

“An influx of electric vehicles (EVs), competitive pricing, and geopolitical events such as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine have had significant effects on the wider global economy, which also impacts activity in the vehicle market,” Miliskovik reflects.  

However, in recent years, a rise in backlogged orders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic may work in favour of the automotive industry, whilst the use of artificial intelligence (AI) is set to be the most talked about technology trend in 2024.  

“Overall, the automotive industry in Eastern Europe is a very dynamic and vibrant place to be,” she details.  

Over the years, Kromberg & Schubert’s deep belief in the importance of building a local brand that people are invested in has allowed the company to navigate a competitive and potentially exhausted market.  

“It’s not easy to build a brand. It requires work and strategy, which is why we have internal training and development plans in place to teach technical capabilities and develop soft skills in our people, equipping them to grow both professionally and personally,” Miliskovik explains.  

Kromberg & Schubert’s underlying principles of unity, honesty, and integrity always work to ensure that its values of family, home, team, friends, and faith are prioritised. This ensures that in-house talent is cultivated before looking elsewhere for recruitment.  

“As an employer, it is important for us to create a narrative that connects with our people. We believe that working for our company is fun, energising, and meaningful,” Miliskovik states passionately.  

“The work of each person creates value, so it’s our ultimate goal to create a positive change in our employees’ lives. In this sense, our work will never be finished.”

“They say that the only way to live well is to live with purpose. Our purpose is to be a force for good in all the locations we serve”

Tanya Miliskovik, Managing Director, Kromberg & Schubert

EXPANSION AND PROGRESSION

Kromberg & Schubert hopes that new and ongoing projects at the Bitola plant, such as those for Audi’s B10 and C9 models, will increase the company’s competitive outlook and improve its efficiency and ergonomics.  

In addition, it is hoped that through the application of new technologies and robotics such as automated guided vehicles (AGVs), Kromberg & Schubert will become aligned with new world trends.   

Despite the growth opportunities, promotions, and influx of employees that its new and exciting projects can bring, the company remains acutely aware of the associated challenges that can arise.  

“Undergoing growth requires a willingness to change, go out of our comfort zone, learn new things, and apply what we have learned over the past 12 years,” Miliskovik summarises.  

For example, at its plants in Skopje, North Macedonia and Krusevac, Serbia, the implementation of a new Practical Experience Score (PES) has seen the company learn and grow as a result of continuous reporting and lean management.  

Furthermore, a new industrial mechatronics curriculum at the Technical High School, which feeds into the Bitola plant, will see Kromberg & Schubert’s new labour market trained in practical work alongside an understanding of the company’s guiding principles.  

“It is rewarding to have the opportunity to empower young people and to motivate and prepare them for entry into the labour market, as well as build their confidence and a belief that anything is possible.” 

On top of its growth in project output and staff training schemes, Kromberg & Schubert has built a robust portfolio of long-term relationships with its partners and suppliers around the world.   

“We have excellent cooperation with local and national institutions, as well as the regional economic chambers of commerce in North Macedonia and Serbia,” acclaims Miliskovik. 

Many local companies that have historically partnered with Kromberg & Schubert are now successful businesses in their own right, and today contribute to national and regional economies in the Balkans, which pays tribute to the company’s long-standing reputation as a partner of choice within the Eastern European automotive market. 

BUILDING A REPUTATION

Going forward, Kromberg & Schubert intends to continue building and growing its reputation as a reputable name within the global automotive industry.  

It plans to do this by maintaining the quality and efficiency of its ongoing stable projects, whilst integrating new colleagues effectively within their respective teams across different plants.  

“In Bitola, as well as finalising our recent facility expansion, we are preparing for new Audi projects. Krusevac and Skopje will see the start of new BMW projects, whilst maintaining the quality of our Škoda and Porsche projects at the latter remains a priority,” Miliskovik explains. 

As such, in addition to its new projects, Kromberg & Schubert will continue implementing lean management strategies across all its locations.  

Therefore, the company’s desire to execute continued, unwavering quality across the board and maintain its high standards shines through.  

“We also have a lot of team-building and motivational activities prepared, and an ambitious training plan. It’s our task to create good leaders and grow sustainably to touch more lives and make a difference,” she enthuses.  

Ultimately, Kromberg & Schubert sees itself as a team across three locations, which help and support one another as it continues to grow.  

“They say that the only way to live well is to live with purpose. Our purpose is to be a force for good in all the locations we serve,” Miliskovik concludes. 


How did you become interested in the automotive manufacturing industry?

Tanya Miliskovik, Managing Director: “With a background in HR, I entered the automotive industry about 12 years ago, when FDI started coming into North Macedonia. The country was full of people, but the opportunities were limited.  

“I was soon contacted by the HR Manager for Kromberg & Schubert’s plant in Bitola and tasked with recruiting and employing 2,000 people within two years. I remember thinking to myself that no one has employed so many people in the country in the last two decades, due to companies downsizing and closing their business during what was a very tough transition time in North Macedonia.  

“I also thought of my parents, who were without jobs. I knew then that I wanted to be part of a project that employs many people, respects their rights, and offers stability.  

“For the most part, my expectations have been met, and to this day, Kromberg & Schubert’s goal remains to be a better employer, cable manufacturer, and example for our communities through various socially responsible projects, partnerships, and donations.”

KROMBERG & SCHUBERT PARTNER

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By Thomas Arnold Senior Head of Projects
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Thomas Arnold is Senior Head of projects for Outlook Publishing. Thomas is responsible for showcasing corporate stories in our digital B2B magazines and Digital Platforms, and sourcing collaborations with Business Leaders, Brands, and C-suite Executives to feature in future editions. Thomas is actively seeking opportunities to collaborate. Reach out to Thomas to discover how you and your business could be our next cover story.