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FROM KALOSH - TO MODEL SHOES …

The oldest tire factory in Russia - Yaroslavsky - entered the Sibur joint stock company last May and now seems to be experiencing a second youth.

Elena WARSAW

This seemed to be the end and nothing good to come. Debts - under a hundred million rubles, mountains of unsold tires dying under snow and rain, eternal delays in salaries, dismissals …

Now the plant’s products are diverging, not lying flat. The average salary of employees - about two and a half thousand rubles per month - is paid on time. In 1999, more than five million tires were produced (in 1997 - 3 million 600 thousand, and in 1998 - about 4 million). If in 1997 seven new tire models were developed, then in the past - over 30!

Say miracles, do not believe it. And in vain. Because the history of the Yaroslavl tire is not only instructive, but also logical. It is about the fact that if you want, you can ruin the best enterprise, as well as improve the unpromising.

Of course, tireless production in Yaroslavl cannot be called unpromising. It has existed since 1932, it ranks second in Russia in terms of output, has its own design bureau, which at one time developed many new products. But almost two years ago, almost no one believed in the bright future of the enterprise.

Then the change began. I had to cut 160 (!) Extra managers. We reduced the number of units from 68 to 42. We became part of the holding. But most importantly, they changed the approach to work. If earlier production output was at the forefront, and finance, sales existed as if by themselves, now sales come first. They no longer drive a shaft of useless products just to load capacities, but fulfill trade requests.

Now the plant was catching its breath a bit, there was money. If in 1997 they invested 20 million rubles in their own development, in 1998 - already 40, then in the past this amount grew to 100 million. Buy equipment. The new team, led by CEO Nikolai Tonkov, the plant manager, clearly knows what he wants and how to achieve it.

- Well, when will you catch up and overtake foreigners? - Believing in the unlimited possibilities of advanced young management, I asked.

“Never, probably, ” the CEO answered calmly. And he explained: - Our lag from famous manufacturers is endless. Many of our machines - yesterday, the quality of raw materials, mixtures often leave much to be desired …

Bridgestone at one of its plants produces 25 thousand tires per day with 900 workers, and 18 thousand units at the Yaroslavl plant and eight thousand people work! Yes, in two years (if everything goes according to plan) there will be in Yaroslavl an automated production of passenger tires with a metal cord breaker. But where in this time world production will run away?

Nevertheless, Nikolai Tonkov and his team are not pessimists, but pragmatists. They do not see much tragedy in the situation of the Russian tire industry. On the contrary, they believe that she has good prospects, which are determined by the current market.

Do the Russians who drive our cars and on our roads need ultra-modern, high-speed tires? Metal cord will fall into a pair of pits - and think what to do next. And the Yaroslavl tire with a textile breaker (they don’t do such anywhere else!) Is soft, unpretentious, can withstand Russian potholes. And it is significantly cheaper. Therefore, especially after the crisis, many prefer it.

This, of course, does not mean that you need to calm down and not strive for innovations. It is necessary to expand the circle of customers, to occupy new niches - it is more reliable to exist in the market. They began to produce tires for foreign cars, and for heavy trucks, and for buses (by the way, all-metal, for the first time in Russia). Even if you do not count aircraft tires (and here they are made, which, incidentally, eloquently indicates the seriousness of production), YaShZ is today the leader among Russian factories in the range of products.

… In the mid-sixties, the Yaroslavl tire visited Khrushchev. He looked at the machines that have been operating since 1932, and said: "We will not build communism with these." It turned out to be right - not built. By the way, the equipment is still working in some places at YaShZ. But nobody is going to build capitalism with it - they will replace it as soon as possible. And you don’t have to wait long for this, because it seems that you learned at the factory not to rely on someone from the outside, but to rely on your own strengths.

CEO