The first man of Tokić, Ivan Gadže, explains that haulers were still driving in the lockdown, hence the demand for parts, but people were driving less cars, so the car batteries broke down.
During the crisis, they recorded an increase in the demand for truck parts because haulers continued to drive even in moments of total lockdown. Tokić noticed that the sales of wipers for cars that drove less also fell, but for the same reason, the sales of car batteries increased because the vehicles were less lit and stood in the parking lot. The pandemic also brought an increase in online sales, and it was good to have loyal partners to rely on when everything was ‘stuck’. Ivan Gadže, CEO of Tokić, who joined the campaign “Be the heroes that Croatia needs” organized by Styria Media Group, talks about this.
„In recent months, we have been faced with challenges that few people could have expected. Today I can say that with a timely response we have successfully kept the business on solid ground and most importantly – saved all jobs and the health of our employees. We have set health as a priority; and thus gave a possibility for some employees to work from home, while others were provided with needed protection for health and safety in the workplace by implementing a series of preventive measures. Closing the borders proved to be an obstacle to regular business, but thanks to the well-organized procurement system and long-term partnerships with our suppliers, Tokić had no major issues with the availability of its products. This was particularly important to us because while the stores were closed to the retail customers, a delivery system to the carriers and public services was working flawlessly“, says Gadže and continues how he is proud that they have already contributed to the preservation of jobs in hundreds of other smaller companies while maintaining the work of all services that in these times had to be available to the citizens. Considering the situation, in Tokić they have quickly organized and enabled their retail customers to order products through the call center and webshop. They have offered them various delivery options, which is very important to maintain good relations and trust. Since the stores have opened its doors, the business has stabilized.
„During the period when the shops were closed, the delivery of goods increased significantly. Logically, we also recorded an increase in the demand for truck parts because hauliers worked hard during the crisis. Colder weather and less frequent use of personal vehicles affected the increase in battery sales and for the same reason we recorded a lower need for wipers. Disinfectants and equipment for service workshops were also at the peak of demand and with the arrival of warm weather, sales of tires did also increase. Given the announcements of the recession, we can assume that the demand for car parts will grow further towards the end of the year. We are ready for that, and with an assortment of car parts from 230 of the world’s most famous manufacturers, we will respond to the needs of the market“ – says Ivan Gadže.
He points out that he cannot stress enough the engagement of all Tokić’s employees, the concessions they have made and the responsibility towards the work they are showing every day. The combination of experienced and young people with innovative ideas has made it possible to successfully bridge this challenging period.
„What this pandemic has taught us is that we need to change the way we look at the day-to-day business while becoming more flexible and ready to make decisions daily. We have reduced costs that are not necessary at the moment, while negotiating with suppliers, arranging longer payment deadlines or installment payments and relying on the maximum on our workforce. To show solidarity with our suppliers and everyone who came out to meet us, we have temporarily reduced the value of the coefficient for calculating the salary, believing that it is important to preserve every job and the future of our employees. It was one of the more difficult decisions we had to make, but we think it was the right one. We got support from the employees as well. The financial conditions of our employees are significantly above the average salary in Croatia and our industry. Our basic goal in that field is to return the salary level to the pre-crisis level as soon as possible, to make it even higher“ –explains Gadže. He continues that the sustainability of the Croatian economy depends on the attitude of each individual as well as the support of the entire system.
„We employ more than 600 people and are happy that at the moment there are no indications that that number should decrease; on the contrary! We are also responsible for hundreds of companies and crafts whose business depends on our products. Of course, we have to mention the loyalty of customers to the Tokić company, who have been coming to us for the last 30 years, which directly contributes to the whole picture. In such times of crisis, this is the fastest way to show who your real partners are and with whom you want to maintain good business relations in the future. I believe that Tokić also proved to be a reliable partner and an employer“ – he says.
The crisis has motivated them to turn to the future, so within Tokić there is already a post-crisis headquarters that defines the development of new business processes. He is sure that this crisis will generally contribute to the accelerated development of new technologies and the optimization of business in Croatia.
„Customers recognize and appreciate any such improvement that a company makes, especially when it comes to domestic companies and brands because they know they will personally feel the impact of that development too. The advantage of domestic companies in Croatia is certainly a personal contact, which we witness every day. Professional salespeople and customer support staff are an important part of Tokić’s business because the customer needs to receive accurate and quality information when visiting the store or a webshop. We have seen how important this personal contact is through our customer support, which during the lockdown period was able to record twice as many customer calls per day. That is why we have redirected some employees from the stores to the call center and I can say that they did very well, since these are people who live this business, fully know Tokić’s product range and know-how to advise the customer“ – says Ivan Gadže.
Ivan Gadže also referred to the topic of media and advertising:
„Speaking of partnerships, I must point out the strong support of the media for the entire Croatian economy. This is certainly one of the benefits of this crisis because we all as citizens have become additionally aware of the importance of each business entity and its impact on society. In Tokić, we have defined how marketing activities should be continued, because of efficient communication with our customers and the media to see as long-term partners. We practice advertising primarily in cooperation with local media and agencies, although communication through global platforms and social networks inevitably develops in our industry as well. However, the local media and agencies know the Croatian consumer best and we trust the advice and assessment of experts, especially when we know that advertising is carried out by world trends and standards“.