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Agrikol: building greenhouses worldwide
“A lot of people doesn’t necessarily mean a success”
“Will the project be completed fast enough and exactly like I want it, will the price be the best and will our company information be safe?” According to Nikola Petković of Agrikol, this is what companies care about most when it comes to hiring companies to build your greenhouse with. Since Agrikol answers to these points without questioning, the company is growing very fast itself.
On a yearly basis Agrikol builds up to 40 hectares greenhouse worldwide – but that’s not all the company does. Construction, glazing, heating systems, electricity systems, irrigation systems, all systems related to the greenhouses, foundation works or covering greenhouses with either foil or glass – it’s in their portfolio. The Agrikol holding consists of 4 companies, housing in total 25 trained supervisors/coordinators and over 200 trained labourers. “We’ve been working for many greenhouse companies worldwide and, in consultation with them, worked for growers directly as well.” An example of this is the Desert Joy project in Tunisia, where Agrikol built the first phase for Richel and, in cooperation with Richel, is building directly for the Desert Joy team currently.
“Right now we’re investing in our machine park and logistics department so we can grow with the market”, Nikola Petković tells. Over the last years, training also became a big topic. Only this way the Serbian company can answer to the growing demand for trustable subcontractors worldwide.
Agrikol Training Center
Since mid 2016 Agrikol operates their own greenhouse training centre in Serbia. “Training our employees thoroughly, it is the only way we can extend our capacity without giving in to the quality or speed our customers are used to. Hiring people isn’t hard, but on a building site a lot of people doesn’t necessarily mean a success. On the contrary. You need the right people and the right training. Only by doing this ourselves, we’re sure the education part is done right.”
And then there’s the right mental toughness and the propriate mentality that is required by the company's activities. “That’s something we cannot learn to people, that’s something we search for and why we work with Serbian boys mostly. If they don’t succeed during the training course, we won’t let them out of the country”, Nikola grins, but he is serious about it. Thanks to their daughter companies and their experience, Agrikol can supply their employees with the right paperwork to work worldwide. “So only when we are sure new employees are skilled enough, they are allowed to go abroad. Then they start on a big building site, where they can work in a group and where the things are on a roll. This way, they get trained completely. We focus on the highest standards worldwide and this way, they can work everywhere in the world.”
With this vision, the Agrikol holding grows very fast and thanks to sister companies in Tunisia, Slovenia (EU) and Norway, Agrikol is covering several important horticultural areas. According to Nikola, the development in the Russian market is remarkable. “We started in Russia 7 years ago as supervisors and have been building there ourselves since three years. We’ve seen the market grow and now it’s the fastest growing market of the world.” Recently, Agrikol built 10 ha heating and irrigation systems in a glasshouse - in only six months. “You’ve got to do what you got to do”, Nikola laughs. “The crops had to be in before winter and so they did.” Unlike other building companies, the change of seasons is no problem to Agrikol. “Once you stop building here, you start in Africa or Middle East countries. Since we work worldwide, the weather is always good somewhere.”
As a subcontractor, Nikola knows most of his clients care about a few things only. “Will the greenhouse be completed fast enough and exactly like I want it, will the price be the best and will our company information be safe?” he sums up. “So that’s what we guarantee our customers. Building causes them a lot of stress and by making sure these points are taking care of, we can relieve our clients. The non-disclosure is an important one to our clients. To be honest, we don’t care about the use of technical equipment and the details in a project. We just want the work to be completed on time and following the given order exactly. What a grower will do after, is not up to us.”
When the plants go in, the team is done!
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