Our company policy is to make our clients believe RAIS is their formula of success

InterviewSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 1/2008

The machine building industry does not end in itself with targeting at sales only. Quality, price, warranty and servicing are important issues.

Mr. Bazdigian, you have the courage of working in the machine building industry some people declared by to be dead long ago. Why did you decide to start production business and with machines at that?

If you would allow me I do not agree this industry is a dying one. It is true there was a period of stagnation but after the year 2000 a serious progress became obvious. Many machine building plants, which stagnated for some reason or another now are replacing their old equipment. They purchase new machines from us. These were plants that used to have the material basis, experience and tradition. They only needed to renovate their technological park in order to start applying advanced production methods.

Currently RAIS occupies one of the leading places in the country’s grading of manufacturers of CNC machine tools.

Currently we develop our business in four main directions: production of milling and lathe CNC machining centers, production of spare parts for electric and diesel forklifts and representation of world famous manufacturers of CNC machine tools.

We have the potential to offer equipment of any size and type. We have concluded contracts with FANUC and TAKISAWA from Japan and VISIONWIDE from Taiwan.

You manufacture CNC mills and lathes. Is there any potential for their market realization in the country?

I would say 80% of the machines we manufacture are realized in Bulgaria. Our clients are not few at all. First of all they are machine building companies, who produce stamping and extrusion molding tools and other products for the machine building industry. The quantity of orders increase constantly.

Our production program includes six milling models and two lathe models. All of them have been designed by our company engineers.

Our machines are well marketed in the country. Our traditional clients are INHOM-98, which has 7 of our machines, ASTROIDA - Panagiurishte with 6 RAIS machines as well as METAL - Varna, ELDOM INVEST and many others.

How do you convince your potential clients to choose machine tools manufactured by RAIS?

To each client the production speaks for itself. The truth is that production and marketing of this type of products is more specific. For us a sole sale does not end in itself. It means mutual cooperation. The client invests in the purchase of equipment because he intends to use it for production and we must guarantee the machine he acquired will operate and fully featured at that. And this is only possible if high quality products and fast and competent maintenance services are available. At present this is our main advantage over the other players in the field.

As far as the international market is concerned a sole sale never ends in itself. As a rule we first provide maintenance services and then start selling.

For each purchased machine we provide included in the price commissioning and training as well as programming and process consultations.

Besides the excellent quality our advantage lies in the fact that we are the only manufacturer of this type of machines in Bulgaria. Spare parts are also available in the plant so we need not loose time supplying them from abroad. Our production meets all relevant requirements and RAIS has been approved as a supplier within the European programs aimed at encouraging small and middle enterprises. From technical point of view our machines are in no way inferior to the European ones, however, as a price they are far better positioned.

The most important circumstance that places us in the front of the other players is that we succeeded in preserving our team for more than 10 years. I would like to stress once again that all our machines are designed by our company engineers. We release a newly designed machine every six months in the average. Our latest product is an advanced model of a vertical CNC milling machining center M800.

Usually before purchasing a machine the clients want to see a working model as closer as possible to their company office. In this aspect do you intend to develop the structure of RAIS in the country?

We built a new exhibition center on the territory of the company in Pazardjik to the best convenience of our clients. Thus we provided an excellent possibility to demonstrate our machines and their features.

Our company intends to build three new exhibition centers in Varna, Plovdiv and Sofia serving at the same time as maintenance centers of the sold machines.

What types of hardware components do you use? Which manufacturers supply them?

Our machines are built with precise guideways and ball-screw couples from BOSCH REXROTH GROUP and INA. They are completed with last generation CNC systems and drives manufactured by FANUC in Japan. We can satisfy our clients’ demand for machines with CNC controls by other manufacturers, for example SIEMENS or HEIDENHEIN.

We prefer to put into our products components that can be serviced in our country or in the country we are working with. We choose quality products at good prices.

However, the hardware components we put into our machines are one side of the process, while the other side are the investments we make for constant renovation of the production equipment as well as of the control and design equipment. Last year we purchased three new machining centers and in practice we renovated all the equipment used for the production of the frame components. As a result we manufactured twice as many machines as the previous year.

We plan investments to continue renovating the machine park this year beginning with the surface grinding machine.

We will continue renovating our machine park in the future because it is a prerequi-site and a guarantee for successful partnership with our present and future clients. We are trying to apply good practices in every possible aspect, from sales to offering specialized assistance during the installation and operation phases. Our company policy is to make our clients believe RAIS is their formula of success.

How are RAIS manufactured machines accepted in other, close or remote, countries?

The fact that our customers place orders with us repeatedly speaks for the production quality we offer. Besides Bulgaria our products are well accepted in Italy, Turkey and Greece. In Russia we sell machines mainly with SIEMENS CNC controls. Last year we established contacts with Romania.

There is interest in the machines we sell in other countries for the same reasons as in Bulgaria - because of their advanced features and cheap prices.

How do you decide a particular foreign market is attractive for you? What circumstances would influence your decision in favor of marketing your products there?

Foreign market is attractive because it is vast. For our production scale it is unlimited to differ from the home one, where importers also offer machine tools.

We have a rule to sell, where there are provided maintenance services - in Turkey, Greece, Russia and Italy. Otherwise we can mar our image. The manufacturer can be easily discredited if a machine fails and there is no service center to repair it.

A machine sale does not end in itself. If a customer does not manage to operate a machine he will never blame himself, he will blame the manufacturer. Therefore we avoid sole sales and we try to provide certainty in operation. As a rule we first provide maintenance and then start selling.

What we manufacture are not ready-made products; they are complicated products requiring maintenance, therefore first come maintenance services and then follow sales.

Do you plan to take advantage of the China miracle technology?

We already have some observations and we have established contacts. All possibilities must be put into use so we have plans in this respect but it is still an issue of the future.

I have seen their production; I was quite impressed by what I saw in a machine-building factory in China with 12 thousand workers.

In the production field everything is an issue of quality and cost.

How important are the neighboring countries for the business of RAIS? Which of them offer best conditions for market realization of your products?

I would say by way of a joke that it is best in Turkey; they pay right away, while in Greece they say, “Come tomorrow”.

I wish to say it once again: the important thing about our products is the maintenance service. Without it we can sell neither in an adjacent nor in a distant country. As for Turkey it is a neighbor but the distances there are measured in thousands of kilometers. Maintenance services cannot be provided from here.

We realized several sales in Macedonia through people, who took the obligation to maintain the machines. We are starting business with Serbia; there is a demand of our machines there as well. As I already mentioned we have also established contacts with Romania. It is most logical to trade with neighboring countries.