We recently spoke to Frosina Meshkova, leading technical expert of Makprogres’ Vincinni Academy, where we discussed the importance of Total Quality Management (TQM), the Six Sigma approach and corporate social responsibility. Frosina also provided some insights regarding the creation of her two start-up businesses, as well as the growing success of Vincinni Academy and Makprogres.
Frosina Meshkova was born and raised in Ohrid, a small city by the famous Ohrid Lake. She received her university degree at the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, University of St. Cyril and Methodius, Skopje, where during her studies she worked as a demonstrator at faculty where she was studying, as her goal was to pursue a career in the academic field.
Soon after completing her studies, Frosina was offered a job in the quality control department in Swisslion, an international company that focuses on the production of confectionery products. However, she quickly realized that she was lacking in knowledge about business administration and economics. This brought her to pursue an MBA, applying for a scholarship at the ALBA Business School in Athens, Greece. The scholarship was offered by Titan Usje Cementarnica Skopje, which is a subsidiary of the international company Titan S.A., as part of their corporate social responsibility program. She states that the “MBA degree was probably the best addition to my engineering career, as it helped me pursue various managerial positions later on.”
Later on, Frosina became the Research and Development manager in Swisslion, an interesting yet challenging position that gave her insights into new product development and management of investment projects. In 2010 she was promoted to CEO of the company, which also consolidated its 5 subsidiaries in Macedonia. For the next 5 years, Frosina was managing a 30+ million euro consolidated business. She states that “this was at the same time challenging, yet inspiring and fulfilling.”
Frosina later progressed into the position of General Manager of Technology in Swisslion, which among other responsibilities included integration of production processes and all supporting departments into SAP (the most advanced ERP software). In 2018, after reaching all the potentials within Swisslion, she decided to fully dedicate her time to her two startups.
The company where Frosina is the sole owner, focuses on the production of completely harmless, both for users and for the environment, disinfectant for general use. The company’s business has been placed on the foundation of patented technology for production of such disinfectants. The second company, which was founded by Frosina and her business partner, is an innovative company recognized by the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development. With a significant grant from the Fund and their own contribution, Frosina and her business partner managed to increase the capital of the company 20 times in the first two years of its operations.The patented technology and the patented equipment designed by both partners are used to produce food-grade products for fortification and supplementation of calcium and collagen by using eggshell waste (sustainable source for raw materials).
When creating her two startups, for Frosina, the most important aspects were sustainability of the businesses and the additional benefit of the products for the end user.
“Indeed, managing an international company and leading your own startup companies is substantially different, the only common things are the passion, the motivation and the hard work that are crucial for success.”
“What really motivates me is the process of making an idea reality, the process of developing something (the final product) from nothing (just a set of raw materials). And if you add the whole creative process, the impact that the product has on the community and the environment, then the motivation passes to a drive that is overpowering. “
Frosina’s future aspirations are exactly based on what motivates her. “I hope that I will never stop creating new possibilities that are in line with my values and my passion, knowledge, and experience to support others to reach their goals.”
Frosina, as a leading technical expert of Makprogress’ Technical Trainings, as part of the Vinicini Academy, can you please provide us with a testimonial on your work with Makprogress? Where do you envision Makprogres in 5-10 years’ time? And what impact do you think it will have on the community and business environment in Macedonia?
Having the opportunity to work on this project for a company like Makproges is both an honor and a real pleasure. Since I have been in the confectionary industry for 13 years, I kept myself informed about the companies in the sector. The advancement that Makproges has made in the past 10 years is really remarkable. The Progressive Academy together with the Vinchini Academy is the cherry on top, and it sums up the corporate values and mission of Makprogres.
Building the solid foundation of Vincinni Academy, focused on technical training for the needs of Makprogres’ employees is crucial for the success of the Academy, and very important for how it will be perceived by stakeholders.
Vincinni Acadmey was built in four stages by Makprogres’ top management, the consultancy team from PrimePoint Partners, and myself as the leading technical expert. The first stage focused on the strategical planning; the second, development of learning materials; the third, training of the trainers; and the fourth stage was actually performing the pilot training of the first group of trainees.
As there was a great deal of attentiveness focused on the first two stages, the third and the fourth went quite smoothly. The carefully elected trainers were very warm and welcoming, eager to learn new skills, dedicated and hardworking, so they delivered great output and were praised by the trainees and the management of the company.
If we simply extrapolate the growth of Makprogres in the past 10 years and analyze the present situation with the Progressive Academy and the diversification of the business in other fields, there are no doubts that the company has a very bright future. Investment in education, support of your existing employees, and attracting new employees that are going to be introduced to the company by extensive educational process, is a guarantee for further growth of the company.
The impact of the Progressive Academy on the local community has been tremendous. The other, more significant impact will be how this success story will affect other companies within different industry sectors, to adopt the educational approach, allowing employees and the community where they operate to prosper. Actually, the butterfly effect of this success story will bring the biggest impact in the business environment in Macedonia and the broader region.
What is your approach for product optimisation? How do you approach or utilise Total Quality Management (TQM), and how has this management approach influenced worth ethic from your experience?
Even though product optimization sounds like just decrease of expenses, it is much more than that. Product optimization starts way before the process of production is initiated. It starts from the process of planning the investment in terms of choosing the right location, an energy efficient building and energy efficient equipment, training of the employees, suitable process flow, the right raw materials, precise quality control, efficient supporting departments, well communicated and accepted vision and mission of the company, and shared values. It is really a process that needs constant attention and continuous improvements, which leads us to a conclusion that product optimization is a never-ending process.
Total Quality Management is a structured path towards a successful company. Many successful companies are actually running upon the principles of TQM even though they don’t define it like TQM. Understanding the TQM approach and implementing it methodically will definitely help you reach your desired level of success much quicker,and will help that success remain sustainable. At this moment, where every business is competing on the international market and where the economy is so unpredictable, the only way of sustaining your business is through applying contemporary managerial technics that are based on TQM.
In contrast, have you utilised the Six Sigma approach to improve the production of high-quality products? And how can this approach be used by other businesses to reduce costs and help transition towards a green economy in Macedonia and the broader region?
The Six Sigma method originated from terminology associated with statistical modeling of manufacturing processes, and its focus is on eliminating defects and reducing variation i.e. improvement of processes. In order to improve something, you need to have a great deal of knowledge relating to that particular item or product, and even then, it is essential to sta
rt thinking about the process of improvement.
Knowing your processes in detail will give you the opportunity to easily detect problems or elements that need improvement. Manufacturers which seek to deliver high-quality products or services as efficiently as possible, identify waste as the enemy of any successful business. More specifically, experts have identified the 8 wastes, hence there is great focus placed on waste management. Waste management among other things includes reduction of defected products, product optimization, and decrease of leftovers in the production process, and waste recycling opportunities. Having that in mind, the Six Sigma approach can definitely help companies reduce cost and transition to eco conscious practices.
How can companies and businesses optimise their supply chain management in a way that enhances their corporate social responsibility?
Supply chain management is a very complicated process since it incorporates many interdependent processes. The more attention that is put to these processes, the more efficient the company will be. The digitalization era offers facilitation in the whole supply chain management process by offering many software’s and tools to enable faster and better management. Still, the corporate social responsibility aspect of the supply chain management requires a human touch,specific corporate values and determination towards social responsibility. Some corporate social determinants can include: suppling for local suppliers as much as possible, employment from local community, waste sorting and recycling, reduction or elimination of air pollution, water and ground pollution, renewable resources (water recycling, recuperation of energy, green energy), energy efficiency policy, introducing a non-GMO policy, fair trade policy, and so on.
Stefani Taskova Miteva