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13 May 202020 years on the market – the history of Magorex

Although Magorex has been on the market for 20 years, the history of its establishment dates back to the early 1990s. Robert Górka, the founder of Magorex, talks about the beginnings of the company, its development and plans for the future.

What were the beginnings of Magorex? Who was the first customer?

It all started in 1992. I was just on vacation between cruises (I am a marine navigator by education). A friend introduced me to Mr. Porter Grabert, a German who was looking for a manufacturer who would make one particular model of a tray for him. Together with my then partner we decided to take on this task and so our cooperation began. Mr. Grabert promised huge orders, about 300 thousand pieces a year. It’s easy to calculate what the quantities were at that moment. This was the beginning of the transformation in Poland, when capitalism was only just beginning, so we were very much engaged in this undertaking. However, he ordered only 6 thousands… And so my adventure with metal, in this case aluminum, began. At the beginning I had no idea about its processing. But over the years I have learnt everything.

This was also the reason why I decided to give up swimming. I was already a man in his 30s with family and children. I wanted to be able to be with them. It turned out that you can earn similar money on land as at sea and I decided to start this business.

When did the new customers show up?

We started selling trays that we outsourced to another company. We were just packing them. We had been working for the first customer for about two years, then he started asking us about other models. And so we bought the first machine, hired the first employee. We started producing trays. At first we didn’t even know what their purpose was. Later, it turned out that they were used in the bakery and confectionery industry just for display. But these industries also need other baking trays, moulds. We also started to get questions from Germany and there were also bakeries and confectioneries in Poland. We began to supply them locally with such products and that’s how it started…

Which events have been particularly recorded in the history of the company?

Certainly, the first milestone was the purchase of real estate which is still our headquarters today. On 7 January 2000 we signed a notarial deed and a purchase agreement. We left the 200 m2 of rented space we had occupied so far and here we got wind of the sails. Here we were able to develop, we put in more machines.

The second milestone was the investment in 2006, the purchase of a sheet metal perforation machine. It isn’t an easy technology but it is required in bakery. Thanks to this transaction we could expand our offer and sales.

Another milestone was the construction of a new hall because we were already running out of space. The next, but not the last one, was the change of direction of the company’s production. We moved from craftsmanship to industry, and these are two different worlds. We were producing only for artisan or large manual bakeries until 2013. Then we began to move into industrial bakeries.

Where does the success of Magorex development lie?

The development of the company is related to our work and our customers. If Mr Porter Grabert hadn’t come with that tray… He’s one of our biggest clients who is still with us today. We can call him our partner because he sells a lot of our goods. You could say that he’s one of the reasons we’re growing. But this growth is only possible thanks to our work, the courage to take risk, purchase, take credit and invest in new technologies.

What were the beginnings of production?

We started production when it came to us that artisan bakery also needs products made of aluminium and stainless steel. We started to observe the competition, which was and still is present in Poland today. These companies were similar in size to ours. They employed a few, a dozen or maybe several dozen employees. We all went together in one line.

The number of customers supplied locally grew, but we also looked at our competitors abroad. In fact, they weren’t the competitors but the unsurpassed western patterns. These were companies with great machine parks and technologies that we could only dream of. We watched their products at Polish and foreign bakery and confectionery fairs. For me, these were the patterns we were chasing.

We thought that we could never be on their level, that they would always be ahead of us. But at one point it turned out that by investing in new machines and technologies we became the biggest company of this kind in Poland. Those who started at the same time are also present on the market but they haven’t developed like Magorex. However, we can say that Western companies are comparable to us in terms of technological advancement.

In which direction is Magorex going today?

We’re still developing in two directions. We produce for artisan bakeries which still exist in Poland. Although a lot of them fall down because they don’t withstand the competition of large industrial enterprises or foreign providers. We also supply industrial bakeries. This is a very difficult, responsible and risky subject which requires high production accuracy and extremely careful quality control. But we have made this decision and we know that this is our future. We do not give up on craftsmanship and we are moving towards industrial bakery. That is the plan.

The machines are the heart of Magorex. Is the company investing in new equipment?

I don’t think there are any more machines that have been with us all these years. There are certainly old German models, some of them even at my age, but they are unbreakable and still working. Our plan is robotization. The company is installing more and more robots that will replace human work but also allow us to do things that any employee is not able to do alone. There are many products that a human being can’t hold in his hands and a robot simply has to do it.

Didn't you want to open your own bakery or confectionery?

Of course, there was an idea of opening a test bakery or confectionery where we could check our products. Sometimes I had thoughts about how to improve a product and friendly bakeries not always wanted to agree to take part in such a test. It seemed to me that if I had my own place, it would be easier to do it. But the drive that I had a dozen or so years ago was quickly gone and we focused only on metal. This is what we do the best.

What is Magorex's strength?

Definitely the realization of orders for customized products. We have a catalogue with several thousand products but customers very often need products with special parameters: dimensions, material, design. And I think our strength is that we can make them. There is no problem for us, whether it will be one or 10 thousands pieces.

Lack of investment is a step backwards. Companies, even bakeries that did not invest and worked on equipment from several decades ago, have already disappeared. Only those that decided to enter new technologies and products are still developing.

What skills are necessary for running such a large company?

Organization skills. I believe that I am a good organizer and that’s what the work of a navigator’s officer at sea required from me. In consisted in guiding a group of people, and a man also had some responsibility. A company is also an organism like a ship. All the elements are somehow overlapped, connected and this must work. This experience is crucial.

Which product do you have the greatest sentiment for?

I certainly feel sentimental about the first model of the tray that’s still on offer. It’s amazing that we produce and sell more than one hundred thousand pieces of it every year. The second product is a certain mould that we have been producing for several years, which allows bakeries to bake better quality bread in terms of shape and workmanship.

What does the bakery and confectionery market in Poland look like?

In Poland, many bakeries also run confectioneries. There are also many confectioneries focused exclusively on sweet products. As customers, we usually don’t see it because when we enter a shop, we see both bread and sweets. But often they are products of two different companies. Although I avoid sweet and prefer to eat bread, I admire confectioners for their craftsmanship.