Chief Executive Officer of the Ural Plant of Deicing Materials tells us about the crisis, survival techniques and new projects
- Dmitriy Pavlovich, first, tell us about yourself. How did you started working for UZPM?
- Since my childhood, the image of a director, a leader has been forming in my mind. In the 1960s, my father Pavel Osipovich Pylev was one of the heads of Permnefteorgsintez being under construction for that time, he stood at the origins and worked in various managerial positions in the gas industry of Perm until his last days.
Of course, it was difficult for me to judge what kind of director he was at work. But I remember that he was very kind and helpful towards the people he worked with. Once my father invited to our house a mechanic from a motor depot, who had a difficult period in his life and even had no friend or relative to celebrate the New Year.
In 2006, Perm branch of Permnefteorgsintez installed a memorial plaque on its building located at 104 Uralskaya Street in memory of him.
From 1993 to 1998 I studied at the Perm State University at the Faculty of Economics. It was a time when it became clear that the planned Soviet economy ceased to exist and would never be restored, and we needed to look for our own ways under the new economic model. Many young people who studied with me then proved to be talented businessmen. In particular, one of them was Rustam Gilfanov, the founder of the UZPM. Early at the first year, he had already demonstrated an entrepreneurial mindset, he constantly generated and embodied various business ideas.
As for me, after graduation I have worked in the banking sector for many years. First, for Prikamye Bank, then for Ural FD, where I was in charge of Private Banking, a VIP division. Meanwhile, the UZPM was developing, and from a small production facility it grew into a large business supplying its products to dozens of regions. In 2013, Rustam Gilfanov invited me to the position of head of the Department of Economics and Finance. The decision to join the plant was not easy for me: the banking business is more clear and stable, but a non-trivial goal, specific challenge and work in a team of like-minded people became decisive factors and I agreed. Since 2015 I have been working as Chief Executive Officer of the enterprise.
- What is UZPM today?
- Today, the UZPM is not just a producer of deicing materials in the Perm Territory. It focuses on more than 10 lines of business, including three production sites in Krasnokamsk, Yaroslavl and the Moscow Region. We have a specialized research institute for winter technologies and innovations, which performs regular tests to improve our products and solve the challenges set by the industry.
Other areas of our activity are the production of deicing materials for airports and aircraft, manufacturing of drilling motors and reagents for the oil industry, development of disinfectants and antiseptics, management of industrial real estate, including in terms of building of an industrial park.
We continue expanding our activities, since the UZPM always has many new interesting projects underway.
- UZPM is a company of federal level with an office in Moscow. Why is your head office located in Perm?
- Because most of our specialists are working here. Our key production facilities are located in Perm, and here we make decisions on logistics and so on. Another important reason is because the history of UZPM started here. UZPM shareholders are true patriots of their land. We believe that the Kama Region is our home, for the benefit of which we do our business. The company is registered as a taxpayer in Kama Region. Tax deductions of UZPM make about 1 billion rubles per year, and their significant part is allocated to the local and regional budgets, which is very important for us as Perm citizens.
- In 2020, business suffered a lot because of COVID-provoked crisis, and not only in Perm. Many companies collapsed and could not recover from the lockdown, but you are showing an enviable optimism. How was this year for UZPM and what decisions made during this period proved to be the most successful?
- Our biggest achievement, as I think, is that we managed to keep our entire team without staff reduction. Frankly speaking, the situation was extremely alarming in the spring, when a regime of severe restrictions was declared, and no one could predict how things unfold. We elaborated options for optimizing business, downsizing, because it was clear that the economic would decline inevitably. In fact, according to various estimates, the economic slowdown is now about 30%. However, in the summer, the position of the authorities became more or less clear and our activity went back on track. Our main consumers are road services, and in general, the domain of road maintenance saw no radical changes.
The second step that we have taken was to promptly set up the production of disinfectants, including antiseptics. Our production facilities allowed us to make a good product that is in demand in both wholesale and retail chains.
At the same time, the economic crisis, which, as we understand, will last for more than one year, forced us to accelerate the implementation of previously envisaged projects aimed at reducing the cost of production. For that purposes, together with our German partners, we have started assembling a new production site in a speedy fashion. The plant, which will be built as a result of this project, will enable us to produce the goods of the highest quality.
- Has the pandemic affected equipment delivery and installation?
- All equipment arrives on schedule. Rather, the question was that German specialists could not come to us to fulfill their contractual obligations on time and get down to work. We addressed to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and with its help we found a solution for the logistics of foreign partners. Today the specialists live and work in Krasnokamsk, the installation is performed according to the schedule. We plan to launch the new production facility at the end of the 3rd quarter of 2021. After that, when all the technological processes at the new production facility will be set up, we will work on building and commissioning a similar plant at the production site in the Moscow Region.
Another consequence of the pandemic is an active and effective dialogue with government bodies. In particular, with the participation of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, we implemented a joint program for the production of antiseptics and disinfectants, and began a joint program for supplying our products abroad. With the state support, we will be able to significantly expand the geography of our supplies.
- How serious such expansion will be? Many Russian regions use your Bionord product line.
- Indeed, more than 60 regions of Russia regularly purchase our products. Yekaterinburg, Samara, Novosibirsk, Moscow, Sochi, Kazan have been working with us for a long time.
Among our foreign customers are Kazakhstan, Czech Republic, Belarus, Norway. With the export support program of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, we plan to establish supplies to the CIS countries, the Baltic states, countries of Central and Northern Europe.
- Do you focus on large consumers of Bionord?
- Not just them. Recently, we have strengthened our retail business. Our products can be purchased on our website and in retail stores. Our materials are available for individuals or a homeowner association. We doubted for a long time whether it was worth doing this troublesome business, because retail trading involves is a lot of individual customers who, just like corporate clients, require your attention and good service. But we have created a dedicated retail division with young experts experienced in sales, and today our retail sales make up a significant part of the revenue.
- Summarizing your work experience not only in 2020, but also in the previous period, what will be “business rules from Dmitriy Pylev and UZPM”?
- I think, there will be two essential rules. First: when promoting your business, take into account the interests of all market participants: the business as a whole, your buyers, the State and, of course, the consumer. When estimating any delivery, we proceed from the principle of satisfaction of all process participants, and the company's benefits as well. The profit margin should be sufficient to cover the operating activities of the company and to invest in new projects, business development is impossible without these two factors.
The second rule: your activity must be long-term oriented and based on a stable development strategy. If you follow these rules, your company will not have to abandon its goals and plans in spite of any recessions, difficulties and changes in market conditions. Temporary difficulties are inevitable, but we must always be ready to struggle against them.
On the New Year's Eve, I wish our employees, partners, and clients to encounter shocks and troubles as little as possible.