Polychem Systems – Poznań the Poznań Leader of Entrepreneurship
We’ve got it! During yesterday’s final gala of the 18th edition of the Poznań Leader of Entrepreneurship, Polychem Systems received the title of the Leader in the category “Medium Entrepreneur” 🏆 This is the second time when our company can be proud of this award.
President Jerzy Rogalski, who was present at the gala, stressed that when it comes to working on the company’s development, people are important. “I have to say that the crew is amazing,” he said, while receiving the award.
In all editions so far, over 900 companies from Poznań and Poznań district took part in the competition. They could boast not only of their success on the market, but also of their interesting offer, implemented innovations or modern methods of work organisation.
The full list of awarded companies and a report from the gala can be found here:
39 years on a demanding market
“Our company was created at the time when everything was in short supply,” says Jerzy Rogalski, President of Polychem Systems.
Tomasz Cylka, 24 June 2021
During the 18th edition of Poznań Business Leader held by the Poznań District, prizes were awarded in four categories: start-up, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise. In the latter category, the title went to Polychem Systems. Honourable mentions were given to Zakłady Usługowe Zachód, FIBAR Group SA, Fabryka Armatur Swarzędz, and Przedsiębiorstwo Inżynierii Sanitarnej PIOTROWSKI.
INTERVIEW WITH JERZY ROGALSKI, President of Polychem Systems
Next year, it will have been 40 years since you started your business. This is not your first distinction in the Poznań Business Leader competition. Does it bring measurable benefits?
Indeed, we feel a bit like old-timers in the competition. Every time we are here, we can check how others perceive us and how we have coped in the changing economic situation. We work hard for success and this award is a valuable distinction for us, which proves that we have reached a high position on the market and established credibility in the eyes of our customers. Wielkopolska is famous for its economy, thriftiness and entrepreneurship, so the bar is set pretty high. The title motivates us to further work, to assess our actions, and to improve our performance in every area that still requires improvement. It is a never-ending process, sometimes difficult, admittedly.
The history of your company dates back to the communist era.
Our company was founded in 1982, during martial law. Everything was in short supply, including raw materials. The market was open to any product. We decided to deal with polyurethanes processing and focused on manufacturing things that could make life easier for ordinary people. This is how Polychem Systems created first dish scrubbers and cosmetic pumice stones in Poland.
How did you run your business back then?
Certainly, in a different way than now. We received letters on a regular basis with shipping requests and asking where to buy our products. There were always cars of our customers waiting in line in front of the company and we had to ration out our products to be sure that no one leaves empty-handed. We did not need to focus on sales. Instead, we were involved in invoicing, manufacture, and obtaining raw materials. Owners of upholstery workshops in Swarzędz, for whom we produced polyurethane foam blocks due to our location, had to sign up on a waiting list. This lasted until the end of 1989.
And then? 1990 was a real watershed for the economy.
In 1990, nobody needed anything anymore. Due to galloping inflation, empty pockets, lack of work, and general stagnation, a large number of companies closed down or became unprofitable. Conversely to the times before, there was no shortage of raw materials, but there was no one to buy them. Additionally, there were payment difficulties as customers did not want to buy products for cash or in advance. Ordinary people with small family businesses started to take the initiative in business so we started to adapt to the new reality and offer them help in manufacturing polyurethane products. We had no salespeople, so we had to quickly retrain our employees and direct them to search potential customers across the country. At that time, we had no company cars, no mobile phones, and no Internet so everything was different. However, the investment in polyurethanes was a good idea.
What can you tell the younger generation about those times?
Young people only know those times from stories, so it is probably hard for them to believe that it used to be like that. I do not think anyone misses those times. Looking back being here and now, I think it was a difficult time for our country. My advice to young people is to cherish the time they were given and put all their energy, ideas, and diligence into developing themselves and taking care of their loved ones.
You operate in the chemical industry. You are considered a pioneer in the field of polyurethanes. Let non-experts know what polyurethane is all about. Where can we find it in everyday life?
Polyurethanes are currently a common material used in industry and everyday life. Products made of polyurethane include thermal insulation, waterproofing coatings, automotive products (steering wheels, bumpers, car cockpits and filters, seats, child seats), trolley wheels, decorative elements, shoe soles, and police truncheons. As a significant part of our activities, we also produce adhesives with a wide range of applications, from gluing layers of dish scrubbers to creating safe surfaces of playgrounds. The application of polyurethanes is very wide, limited only by the imagination of processors.
In your acceptance speech, you said that your company knows how to attract employees. Some graduates come to you and stay. Why do they not leave?
We treat our employees as partners and leverage their wisdom, knowledge, and commitment, striving to provide fair compensation and respect in return. Many of them came to us as trainees and decided to stay. Many formed lasting friendships here, some married and, in a way, entrusted their future to us. Commitment works both ways. We employ people with different educational background and try to give the opportunity for continuous development, learning foreign languages, and contact with recognised business partners. Moreover, we do not avoid experimentation and testing. We support initiatives. We know that an investment in employee development is an investment in product development.
Did you make it through the pandemic unscathed?
Yes, but this is due to hard and systematic work over the last 39 years. Product development, employee involvement, experience gained, and lessons learnt from previous situations have allowed us to achieve good financial results during the pandemic. We face the future without fear because the successes we have achieved are conducive to the development of the company.
What are your plans for the near future?
We continue to invest our own resources in production. In the nearest future, we plan to expand the existing facilities. We are expanding our sales markets and increasing employment. We also want to keep developing and implementing new products. We have enough work and ideas for the next 25 years or more.