To enumerate the entire product range of Rábalux would be quite a challenge even at first glance, as they distribute virtually everything from modern and classical models, through spotlights, indoor and outdoor lighting to LED lights and solar-powered lights to meet a wide variety of retail demand. Thanks in no small part to their broad product portfolio, the company group realized net revenues of HUF 6.2 billion last year.
Naturally, the size of their selection is only one of the contributors to the increase in their turnover, and way more was needed, such as hard work, a comprehensive portfolio of services, motivated and highly trained staff, and owners who are not afraid to face changes. The company was founded as a garage business 25 years ago by Csaba Czigler and his father. In the beginning, they only sold to shops specialising in lighting systems, then later on, hardware stores also became involved in the distribution of their products.
Currently, the group is made up of nine privately owned subsidiaries, which export products to another 12 countries, explains Csaba Czigler. The volume of their orders is illustrated by the fact that in a matter of a few years, Rábalux outgrew its logistics centre, completed in 2012, and had to expand it. The expansion, completed at the Győr Industrial park on a lot of nearly 19,000 square meters, with one-quarter of the investment funded by EU grants, cost roughly one billion forints. With a surface area of 7,200 square meters, the facility was turned into a high rack warehouse, where goods are stored in multi-storey pallet frames. This tremendous warehouse capacity expansion was designed to enable the company – in accordance with its strategic goals – to offer its clients a full range of logistics services. By filling the storage capacity they can fulfill “just-in-time” orders placed by their partners, which, in combination with the resulting flexibility and cost-effectiveness, will lend a further competitive edge to the company, and faithfully represent the underlying values of Rábalux. The satisfaction of their business partners and retail end-users is a good measure of the latter, and is a high priority for the company.
Their success is supported by the one hundred employees working at the group’s headquarters in Győr. Sales take place through three channels: specialised shops, hardware stores, and various partner webshops. Together, these ensure appropriate market coverage and access to buyers. They assist online stores by providing them with product information and photos. Today, the company’s product range includes over 1,800 items, all of which are available (thanks to their comprehensive logistical services, using the SAP system) in each of their target countries.
The fact that Rábalux has become practically the number one CEE-owned lamp manufacturer and distributor owing to their hard work over the last few years stands as a testament to their success, says CEO Kálmán Baksa, who joined the company five years ago. In the period following the financial crisis, there was a great need for manager’s novel management-oriented know-how, which helped them successfully weather the lean years. Besides significantly expanding their product range, the company was also able to keep processes which require high added-value close to home, and at the same time outsource to the Far East the activities which could be performed more cost-effectively there. The company group sees significant potential in further developing manufacturing in Hungary, and has several relevant pending projects.
The company’s productivity has been largely increased by new processes introduced to optimise internal efficiency. The management places a high priority on controlling and top-level strategic HR planning. They hired seasoned professionals with a solid background and experience at multinational companies mostly for top management positions. The owner deserves to take most of the credit for this conscious management building. Contrary to many other Hungarian company owners, he realised that a company this size needed to be led by managers with more training than him. Following a carefully planned strategy, he hired a CEO who was independent from the family, while he himself stepped into the background, handing over the reins to Kálmán Baksa. This was the first step in building the company’s professional management.
“We have to reinvent ourselves every 3-4 years, with the terms being dictated by trends and market needs. This means that each year, we need 300 to 400 new types of products. LED lamps are the biggest hit on the market right now. Of course, trends vary from one country to another, and we need to follow them. For example, the countries of the former Eastern block prefer more traditional models, while in the West, modern designs are much more in demand. Another important consideration is responding to the price sensitivity of buyers”, notes the CEO. The company’s intensive export activities (selling 12,000 lamps a day on average) are supported by its Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Romanian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, and Polish subsidiaries. Its branch in Hong-Kong is not involved in sales, however, but deals with strategic procurement and quality assurance.
Banks vie with one another to offer the company funding in view of its continuously and sustainably expanding operations. Its further growth potential could also hold an interest to the capital market as well, and makes it eligible for a potential launch on the capital market in the future. Both the owner and the CEO agree that the company is on track for going public at a more remote date.
It is the conviction of the company group’s leadership that the key to business success is to meet consumer demands as fully as possible. This is why it is a high priority for Rábalux Ltd. to offer a comprehensive and high-level service package to its partners. In addition to services for its products, the company also created the Rábalux Academy event series, designed to provide partners with updates on the latest developments and trends in order to promote their success.
The solid and dynamically growing company group’s activities and business achievements have been recognised by the Ministry of National Economy with the distinction of “SME of the Month”.