It seems unbelievable that it has been thirty years since BIBUS s.r.o. was founded in Brno (now Czech Republic). The year was 1992, less than three years after the political situation in Czechoslovakia had changed bringing the opportunity for free enterprise and trade adaptation to Western countries.
When my father told me stories about the beginnings of the business, which at first was very modest and often depressing from today’s perspective, it was almost hard to believe.
However, the main challenge was not the small number of employees, a limited offer of completely new products or brands such as ACE, DEUBLIN, BANSBACH, etc., or even limited possible support from the established Swiss partner - as most of it had to be done locally in Czechoslovakia. The biggest obstacle was an unprepared business environment with great new opportunities, lack of financial resources, very little experience with the capitalist way of doing business, and considerable mistrust of manufacturers towards small business companies. For example, it was a problem to get a telephone line. When my father managed to get one line set-up, they would make phone calls during the day and send fax messages at night. The challenge of building a good market position was as well complicated by the fact that many renowned, often German, companies such as FESTO, LENZE or MANNESMANN were prepared for the new situation in advance and had already begun to assert themselves on our market.
Trading companies like BIBUS s.r.o. were left with few options if they wanted to succeed at a time when the market was being divided. The prerequisites for this success were capable employees, hard work and good economic management. Over time, another factor proved to be important, namely courtesy and honesty, which paid off, for example, when dealing with complaints. These qualities were not typical for all the emerging companies at the time.
Our company has soon built a good position with medium and larger customers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia who were willing to conclude year-long framework contracts with us. At this time, the company was also becoming more and more interesting for many suppliers (manufacturers) who were able to assure themselves about the reliability and flexibility of BIBUS s.r.o.
In 1996-1997, a modern building, financed by Mr. Felix Bibus, was built at a carefully selected location in Brno, where our company moved at the end of 1997. At this point, the company gained confidence, increased investments in advertising and in a short time built modern warehouses and workshops.
After the division of Czechoslovakia, during the existence of the customs union between the two countries, approximately 25% of the company’s turnover was generated in Slovakia. Over time, trade from the Czech Republic to the newly forming Slovakia became increasingly difficult. The main complication was the customs protectionism of the Slovak government which disadvantaged Czech products in Slovakia. In January 2000, the company BIBUS SK was established in Nitra, which, like BIBUS s.r.o., has developed into a successful business and today occupies a leading position in the supply of components in Slovakia.
At the end of 2010, the company increased its focus by selling the METALS section which supplied titanium and nickel alloys in the form of sheets, bars and forgings. The company’s results and achievements throughout its existence can be evaluated according to different criteria such as turnover, net profit or productivity. Other criteria are more difficult to express, yet they are of great importance to the company and are valued more than one would be willing to admit. These include relationships and team cohesion, a working environment which means you look forward to going to work every morning and not just for the money. From the very beginning, building this friendly environment was as important as achieving good economic results. Our parent organization in Switzerland served us as the model in this respect.
During its thirty years of existence, the company has not experienced only periods of growth and a year-to-year increase in turnover. The economic recession that has affected the whole of Europe has led to a decrease in sales. The measures concerning, in particular, the reduction of spending and investment have resulted in a consolidation of the team and also confirmed the importance of the wide range of products that we offer and their distribution across different industries.
A recent complication for the company was the Covid-related measures which meant that our technicians could not visit the manufacturing companies where we’re regularly supplying our components. Nevertheless, in 2020–2021, we managed to modernise the entire workplace with new office furniture and computer equipment. A modern computer system was introduced interconnecting the subsidiaries with the parent organisation and the warehouse management was modernised using barcodes.
We were forced to upgrade our services and expand our offer to include partial assembly, assembly of multiple components in one delivery, etc. Every year we expand our product range with brand new components that are presented at trade fairs all over the world.
Our parent company in Switzerland now has more than 30 branches around the world, which is a great advantage for us in that our exported machines, fitted with components from BIBUS s.r.o., can also be replaced abroad very easily.
We are proud of our achievements over the past thirty years. At the same time, we feel obliged to continue to be a reliable and trustworthy partner for our customers – something we will always strive to do. Our slogan “We support your success” is not only the wish but also the goal of all our employees.