Lucie Vejdová: We have strong roots and we are looking ahead

expansion long-term cooperation purchase of new technology support for SMEs

“In thirty years of our company history, we gradually moved up from a small garage to the first league. As a family business, we have strong roots in our hometown, but at the same time we are looking ahead and making plans for the future. It is invaluable to have a good financial partner on your side to turn your business visions into growth. For us, the Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank, today the National Development Bank, is such a partner who helps us finance our development while giving us crucial advice and support,” says Lucie Vejdová, Managing Director of IMS-Drašnar.

From zero to hero

Today’s certified supplier of global car manufacturers saw the light of day in 1990 in the garage of the Drašnar family’s house. The garage was only equipped with a plastic press, originally intended for scrap. The company gradually grew, and in 1997 it was successfully transformed into a limited liability company. There were more and more colleagues, machines, certificates and customers every year. At present, they are one of the leading companies in the industry, and one of the few purely Czech suppliers of the VW Group. Parts manufactured in Česká Třebová by IMS-Drašnar can be found in Škoda, Volvo, BMW, Renault, VW, Audi, Bentley, Porsche, Lamborghini and Seat cars.

“Without a vision and my dad’s abilities, my mom’s patience and support, the diligence and cooperation of the family and our great colleagues or a reliable financial partner, we would hardly have made it from scratch to the current level. We were growing step by step, kept building and rebuilding and also implemented ISO 9001 and 14001, IATF 16949, Formel Q Fähigkeit and now TISAX. It is no longer about a single plastic press that my father and brother repaired on their own,” Lucie Vejdová recalls.

Success factor number 1: stable and experienced team

IMS-Drašnar is a family business owned and run by two generations of one family. The older generation is represented by the founder and managing director Jiří Drašnar. Sixteen years ago, the production management was handed over to his son-in-law Oto Vejda, in 2014 Mr. Drašnar’s children were given the company shares, and in 2018 his daughter Lucie became managing director. Although plastic injection may not be a typical female field, 67% of the company’s management are women. “The decision to take the baton was a big challenge,” the current MD admits. “Unlike my husband who has the technical expertise, I had to find my way differently. Mine did not lead through production, but through people and relationships. Each of us somehow got involved and gradually worked their way up – my brother worked as a tool setter, my mother was an HR specialist, my sister worked at the payroll, my husband started work in the quality department, my sister-in-law was a despatcher, and I was working shifts with my sister at the payroll. The advantage of a large family is the large pool of potential employees and their diverse focus and abilities.”

Success factor number 2: flexibility and quality

The tool room and pressing room are in continuous operation under one roof, which allows the company to respond immediately to customer needs and ensure the necessary optimisation of moulds, repairs and tests. Flexibility and quality are considered the greatest competitive advantages of IMS-Drašnar. Automotive industry remains the main customer, but the company is ready to offer the same quality products for other industries.

“We can manufacture multi-component parts with 2K technology, precision technical parts, parts for plating and painting or optical parts, such as shields for hockey players,” says the managing director, adding: “All production process is under constant inspection by our quality department staff. A good example of this and something the company is very proud of was when we made a mould for an injected intermediate piece of the Covmask diving mask, when it was necessary to replace a part originally produced on a 3D printer. In about ten days, the mould was ready and placed on a press.”

Success factor number 3: financial partner

In the National Development Bank, the family company has found a reliable partner for financing its long-term development. IMS-Drašnar’s current machinery includes nineteen Engel presses with a clamping force of 28 to 500 tons, 2K presses of 300 and 400 tons, three- and five-axis machining centres, laser welding technology, EDM gouging and wire cutting. At the beginning of 2019, the latest extension of the manufacturing premises was completed successfully.

“We have been cooperating with NRB quite intensively lately. Last year, we used the COVID II loan guarantee and the M-guarantee for operating financing, which allowed us to breathe more freely in a period of limited production output and at the same time not to limit the company’s development. This year, with the help of NRB, we are buying another five-axis machining centre, which will increase our production capacity by 2,500 machine hours per year. As a family business, we are entitled to a special interest-free loan from the bank. We can definitely recommend cooperating with NRB also to other companies,” says Lucie Vejdová and adds: “Speaking of reliable financial partners, I must not forget Komerční banka and our banking advisor, who has stood by us reliably for many years.

Responsible approach to business

If a company wants to be successful on the market in the long run, it cannot do without a modern management system that covers all areas, from quality and environment to occupational safety, social responsibility and information security. IMS-Drašnar is no exception.

“We always look ahead in our thinking and plan for the future. First of all, we raise our next generation, and we also have a responsible approach to business. For example, we have always considered how to best use the excess waste heat from production: we use it for heating, thus saving energy. We also care to protect the nature around us, reduce the amount of plastic waste from production and also sort it by individual type of materials and sell it for further use. We try to be beneficial to our surroundings and donate as much as possible. We are active in various chambers and associations, we educate ourselves and share our experience with the next generation within the company,” the managing director concludes.

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