Arkan – family business with a formula for success
The development and success of Arkan proves the importance of adjustment to the changing reality, a skill characteristic of efficient managers.
When Kazimierz Białas started his company Arkan in Tarnów on 1 May 1997, he could not even guess that his small enterprise would grow so significantly in the years to come. In 2017–19, its turnover tripled and employment doubled soon to reach 80 people. Moreover, Arkan expanded its original premises with successive buildings and land. This is the effect of smart management and watchful observation of the business environment as well as of the analysis of market demand and skilful extension of the products and services offered.
The earliest days in Tarnów
Initially, Arkan provided transport services and produced bus stop shelters. Gradual but persistent investments in equipment made it possible to extend the range of products and services offered. Today the company provides complex services in priming steel surfaces, powder coating, metalworking, making balustrades, and also construction of assorted steel constructions, including shelters for bus stops and railway platforms. Arkan may boast a diversified client portfolio in such promising industries as infrastructure construction, industrial and residential construction, machine building, design and producing of production lines, and the automotive sector.
Saying that after over a decade of active operation Arkan found itself among the leaders of the local market in its segment of services and production is certainly no exaggeration.
Family is power
As becomes a family business, Arkan’s business know-how that Kazimierz Białas shared with his four sons is among the company’s key assets. Mentoring from the father combined with lifelong learning of his sons provided Arkan with the managerial staff perfectly ready to manage the business. Today Damian, Krystian, Kamil, and Konrad not only manage Arkan but also define its strategic goals. They are responsible for three departments of the company (welding, metalworking, and painting shops), and for development and operational management of the whole business.
New space for development
One of the key projects initiated by Arkan in 2018 was opening of a new facility in the Tarnów Economic Activity Zone (SAG). This is where the daring concepts of Kazimierz Białas and his sons on machining metals and producing steel constructions for developers and infrastructure construction will be made real. The large surface of the site made it possible not only to have the machines previously used by Arkan moved in to the facility, but also provided space for the new machine tools: a laser cutter and servo-electric press brake produced by the Italian Prima Power company. The new facility, opened on 3 July 2020, the closing date for the first stage of investment, comprises a modern production hall covering 2200m² and nearly 600m² of administrative back offices.
The construction of the new facility will let the company intensify research and development activity, an activity strongly emphasised by the young managers of Arkan. Already today, both operating assets and human resources related to construction and technology, as well as sheets machining and welded constructions production departments are housed in a single facility. In the following years, Arkan intends to introduce numerous product innovations, reinforcing its market position further.
The Kraków Technology Park played an important role in the construction of a new facility. Its investor services staff helped by providing consultations and expert guidance in designing the business plan and the application for the support decision. It resulted in a positive decision to support the project under the Polish Investment Zone, issued in December 2018 and giving a green light for the construction of the plant. The works began several months later. Investment to as little as eight months from the proverbial “ground breaking” to the permit to operate.
Never be afraid! If you can pay lower taxes for in return for certain investments, as part of tax incentive defined in the conditions for public aid, you need not be afraid of that. The investment threshold is low, especially in Tarnów, and the other criteria defined by the Polish Investment Zone, both quantitative and qualitative, are by all means fulfillable. Remember, the tax relief obtained through the decision to support is your right and not a burden, Kazimierz Białas and his collaborators advise.
As becomes modern managers, the management of Arkan eagerly share their knowledge. That’s why the staff responsible for the strategic project to develop the new facility in Tarnów prepared some precious practical guidelines concerning the process of efficient application for the decision within the Polish Investment Zone. They are the more valuable as they are based on personal experience of Arkan staff from a development project that has already been concluded.
- Getting down to a development project, whether you have your support decision or not, you need to think twice or thrice about the catalogue of investment outlay to be incurred, design the timeline of expenditure, and select the sources of financing that will let you qualify individual sums spent towards the minimum expenditure indicated in the decision.
2. From the practical point of view, it is also important to plan and perform your expenditure budget so that it lies between the limit defined in the decision and the cap of 130% of that limit. Should you spend an amount below the limit indicated in the decision, you will not be able to tap into the tax benefit.
3. The experience we gathered proves that the scope of operation you plan to carry out as part of the project supported by the decision, as specified by the specific Polish statistical classification of economic activities (PKD codes) listed in the decision, is highly material. The company’s plans for several years ahead must be strictly bound to the scope of operation indicated in the document.
4. Carrying out the tax relief resulting from the decision is a major challenge for the company’s financial and accounting services who need to break up the revenues, costs, and profits between the activity covered by the decision and the activity that is not covered by the tax relief resulting from the decision to support. From this perspective, if the nature of your operation allows such a division, it is more reasonable to set the operation covered by the tax relief apart and develop it into a separate, independent business.