HOTSPOT SLOVENIASlovenia is a small nation by number of people, but it is a developed economy and is per capita the richest of the Slavic countries by nominal GDP. The country has also been a member of the Eurozone since 2007.
Forging lifelong partnerships
Slovenian company Marovt D.O.O. has become a leader in the development and production of high-quality forging – a success that has been bolstered by a personal and longstanding partnership with Seco.
In mountainous Slovenia, family-owned and operated Marovt D.O.O. is getting ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Owner and CEO Tomaž Marovt explains that the company was founded by his father in Slovenia in 1971, and since then has involved his whole family. “Now my wife and I continue the tradition as CEO and Deputy CEO,” he says.
Marovt’s operations are focused on Tier 1 production of forged and turning parts. With an automotive client list that includes Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Volkswagen, the company boasts “the most technologically advanced forging production in Slovenia and one of the most advanced in Europe.” Tomaž Marovt entered the family business straight out of university and took over in 1999 when his father retired. During Tomaž’s time, the company has become one of the fastest-growing family-owned enterprises in Slovenia – going from 50 employees to more than 250. Revenues have also grown, from 2 million euros in 1999 to 31 million euros in 2019.
Tomaž’s tenure as CEO coincided with the launch of Seco Slovenia and the hiring of Seco’s very first employee in the country, Maks Potočnik. The close personal collaboration between Tomaž and Maks has been a vital part of Marovt’s success. Tomaž quickly realized the value of the working relationship between the two companies. “We had issues with our grinding process, so we brought in Maks and Seco,” he recalls. “Maks suggested hard-turning with CBN as a solution for grinding, which was new to the sector at the time. We were able to get this operational very quickly, and we still use the process to this day.”
This collaborative and solution-orientated approach has been key to the success of the partnership between Tomaž and Maks, and Marovt has become Seco Slovenia’s biggest in-country client.
As both companies have grown, so too have the contacts between the technical and purchasing staff in both companies. But Tomaž still has a personal relationship with Maks. “If I have a problem, I can speak to him about a technical solution,” Tomaž says. “Seco’s support is always very fast, and we’re always able to find solutions together.”
Seco is already part of Marovt’s next chapter of growth into new areas, helping the company to reorganize production, be more flexible and optimize processes. “We’ve been focused in the automotive industry for many years, but now we’re expanding into the medical and defense sectors,” Tomaž says. It’s an ambitious future, but one made easier with a key partner in the mix.
SNAPSHOTS OF SLOVENIA
Green as far as the eye can see
Slovenia’s terrain is predominantly mountainous. After Finland and Sweden, it has the third-highest forest coverage in Europe, at more than 50 percent. Despite the dominance of mountains, its more temperate regions boast 363 square kilometers of orchards and 216 square kilometers of vineyards.
Small yet mighty
Slovenia has a proud sports history: it has only 2 million people, but since 1992 it has brought home 40 Olympic medals.
Pršut is a dry-cured ham, served uncooked, similar to Italian prosciutto. Its particular flavor and aroma are the result of the mixture of sea and mountain air and beechwood burned during the drying process. The curing process includes salting with sea salt for about three weeks, pressing to remove excess liquid for about three weeks, and light smoking and drying in the cool mountain breeze for three months, followed by a maturing process. The whole cycle takes about a year.
Mountains make mountaineers
Mountaineering is a popular pastime in the country. Slovenian mountaineer Tomaž Humar shot to fame in 1999 when he completed a solo ascent of the south face of Dhaulagiri in the Himalayas – a climb with a 40 percent fatality rate. Humar has more than 1,500 other successful climbs to his name.
A checkered history
Due to its geographically important location, the Slovenian territory has been part of a number of former states, including the Byzantine, Holy Roman and Austro-Hungarian Empires. In 1918, it was a founding member of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs (renamed Yugoslavia), and it remained part of Yugoslavia until its independence in 1991. In 2004, Slovenia became a member of the EU.
Traditional Slovenian cuisine is a mix of Central European, Mediterranean and Balkan cooking, reflecting the country’s history. There are more 40 distinctive regional cuisines. Its most traditional dishes tend to be one-pot soups and stews.