MANAGER OF THE YEAR 2016

The Manager of the Year 2016 is Andrej Božič, General Manager of Steklarna Hrastnik

The Governing Board of the Managers’ Association has named Andrej Božič, General Manager of Steklarna Hrastnik, the Manager of the Year 2016. He will receive the award at the Managers’ Congress on Thursday, 29 September, in Portorož.

Božič took over Steklarna Hrastnik in 2010, when the company, although boasting over 156 years of tradition, was in the red. Successfully planning its recovery, Božič turned the export-oriented company around in his first year as general manager. In 2015 Steklarna Hrastnik generated a net profit of over EUR 6.2 million, ending the year in the black for the fifth consecutive year. Similarly, its return on assets continues to grow, exceeding 11% last year, while the return on capital is over 25%. In 2014-2015, the company received a European Business Award (EBA) for its original restructuring model.

“Reaching full stakeholder consensus was crucial for a successful and sustainable turnaround of Steklarna Hrastnik, which centred on the employees. I deeply appreciate that everyone including the employees believed in my plan, supported me, and participated in the turnaround. We made it together, without redundancies. I am convinced that our example can serve as encouragement to anyone with a vision and the ability to adapt to situations, to get stuck in to project that many might believe to be impossible,” said Božič on receiving the title of Manager of the Year.

Preserving Jobs

On his arrival to Steklarna Hrastnik, Andrej Božič and his team set to thoroughly changing the organisation, processes, and employee flexibility. They were supported by the strong desire of the employees to see the company survive. Their dedication to the glassworks and the glassworking profession, as well as their high level of knowledge and solidarity, made it possible to preserve all three production programmes. Preserving jobs was a strong connecting factor between the management and the employees in the recovery period. Božič was aware that the recovery – which could also be seen as a social project, considering the extraordinary importance of the company for the local community – would take longer and the results would be somewhat delayed. However, putting people at the heart of the recovery was the best business decision for Steklarna Hrastnik. Success soon followed, as the company generated a profit after just over a year.  


In addition to a thorough reorganisation, in the last six years the company has invested EUR 36 million into the modernisation of production and in economic efficiency.

The added value per employee has also grown steadily, exceeding EUR 42,000 last year, which is 49% more than four years ago and 22% higher than the industry average.
All these years, the company recovery process was based on trust and the management’s promise that the anticipated improved business results would be reflected in employee social security. The promise is now coming true in the form of higher salaries and rewards – a bonus system, promotion at work, higher basic salary, awards for innovation, and so much more. This means that the employment cost per employee has increased by 34% in the last six years. Training and improving employee competencies are an important part of the planned process of company overhaul and development. Steklarna Hrastnik spends some EUR 500,000 a year on education.

Innovation and Youth Development Strategies

A number of new products were developed in the last three years. Many of them have won awards, including the Puzzle bowl, which has won the RED DOT international design award, a silver award for innovation from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, and the CCIS award for innovation of the year as voted by the public. In the last six years, Steklarna Hrastnik has won some 30 CCIS awards for innovators and innovations in the Zasavje region, a national award for the best energy project and the 2015-2016 EBA award for sustainable development. At the international SIP AWARDS competition in the US, two bottles won platinum awards for packaging and one received the highest score in its category.

The company pays special attention to youth development, partnering with universities and secondary schools on a number of projects.

Two crucial production projects are currently ongoing: the automation of all production processes and the improvement of energy efficiency in production. We firmly believe that whatever is good for the company should also be good for the environment.

This year the company has a new umbrella image under the Hrastnik1860 trademark.

J.v.G. Thoma GmbH is delivering a DESERT turnkey production line to Brazil, the first of its kind and hopefully the first in many breakthroughs to leave the factory floor on their way to the largest country in South America. With a capacity of 30 MW, this is a small semi-automatic DESERT production line, but still a flagship in terms of DESERT solar module production and electricity generation in the country, now fully functional and ready to start with operation.

The machinery consists of DESERT production machines for high-efficiency DESERT solar modules built specifically for extreme hot climate, such as can be seen in deserts or in tropical areas. Made solely in Germany and built using the latest in DESERT and TROPIC module production, the systems inlcudes all cutting-edge technology.

Certified DESERT solar modules, DESERT containers, DESERT power plants and DESERT manufacturing machinery built using pioneering DESERT and TROPICS technology are now fully set up, and ready to perform. But powering on the machinery has been a long time coming. Up until recently, this advanced piece of equipment had been waiting for clearance at a port in Brazil. Now that the formalities have been dealt with, both J.v.G. Thoma and its customer in Brazil can get production under way.

J.v.G. Thoma GmbH is a company whose vision has always been to harness the infinite power of the sun and convert it into an inexhaustible supply of energy. But a vision such as this requires global reach, and this project has opened new doors. Brazil is not only a gateway to South American cooperation, but also the launchpad to international reach and expansion.

Following the delivery of this initial order, J.v.G. Thoma GmbH will be looking forward to an ongoing collaboration with the Brazilian company. From setup and initial training to setting the scene for a ramp up, J.v.G. Thoma will be there to provide expertise and assistance. Moreover, the company will be jointly responsible, along with the client, for the successful integration of the DESERT solar module factory.

In the future, bigger DESERT power plants will be set up on Brazilian soil, and together with existing turnkey production systems, they intend to take up a large share of the products and assets this sector will possess locally. J.v.G. Thoma plans to build up a local network of sales agents that can extend a premium offering to neighbouring countries in South America. Eventually, the company hopes to be able to expand its customer base to clients in North America.

Hans Thoma, general manager from the Thoma-group, is eager to acquire a substantial market share in Brazil, a growing country with tremendous potential for solar energy output. Having complied with local official procedures (Inmetro, TÜV, Fraunhofer CSP) and cleared the way for future business collaboration, he expresses his hope that the solar industry will henceforth expand quickly.

”Being able to introduce Brazil to the infinite opportunities of a solar industry is a privilege for J.v.G. Thoma GmbH, and one that we are extremely grateful for. At the same time, this placed the ball squarely in our court, and the pressure to get the ball rolling quickly was high. Now that the lengthy initial formalities are out of the way, we can focus on making this project a success.“

The first DESERT solar module production in BRAZIL! Lets go ....
J.v.G. Thoma GmbH is delivering a DESERT turnkey production line to Brazil, the first of its kind and hopefully the first in many breakthroughs to leave the factory floor on their way to the largest country in South America. With a capacity of 30 MW, this is a small semi-automatic DESERT production line, but still a flagship in terms of DESERT solar module production and electricity generation in the country, now fully functional and ready to start with operation.

The machinery consists of DESERT production machines for high-efficiency DESERT solar modules built specifically for extreme hot climate, such as can be seen in deserts or in tropical areas. Made solely in Germany and built using the latest in DESERT and TROPIC module production, the systems inlcudes all cutting-edge technology.

Certified DESERT solar modules, DESERT containers, DESERT power plants and DESERT manufacturing machinery built using pioneering DESERT and TROPICS technology are now fully set up, and ready to perform. But powering on the machinery has been a long time coming. Up until recently, this advanced piece of equipment had been waiting for clearance at a port in Brazil. Now that the formalities have been dealt with, both J.v.G. Thoma and its customer in Brazil can get production under way.

J.v.G. Thoma GmbH is a company whose vision has always been to harness the infinite power of the sun and convert it into an inexhaustible supply of energy. But a vision such as this requires global reach, and this project has opened new doors. Brazil is not only a gateway to South American cooperation, but also the launchpad to international reach and expansion.

Following the delivery of this initial order, J.v.G. Thoma GmbH will be looking forward to an ongoing collaboration with the Brazilian company. From setup and initial training to setting the scene for a ramp up, J.v.G. Thoma will be there to provide expertise and assistance. Moreover, the company will be jointly responsible, along with the client, for the successful integration of the DESERT solar module factory.

In the future, bigger DESERT power plants will be set up on Brazilian soil, and together with existing turnkey production systems, they intend to take up a large share of the products and assets this sector will possess locally. J.v.G. Thoma plans to build up a local network of sales agents that can extend a premium offering to neighbouring countries in South America. Eventually, the company hopes to be able to expand its customer base to clients in North America.

Hans Thoma, general manager from the Thoma-group, is eager to acquire a substantial market share in Brazil, a growing country with tremendous potential for solar energy output. Having complied with local official procedures (Inmetro, TÜV, Fraunhofer CSP) and cleared the way for future business collaboration, he expresses his hope that the solar industry will henceforth expand quickly.

”Being able to introduce Brazil to the infinite opportunities of a solar industry is a privilege for J.v.G. Thoma GmbH, and one that we are extremely grateful for. At the same time, this placed the ball squarely in our court, and the pressure to get the ball rolling quickly was high. Now that the lengthy initial formalities are out of the way, we can focus on making this project a success.“

The first DESERT solar module production in BRAZIL! Let
Source: STEKLARNA HRASTNIK