Bosnian Furniture Maker Zanat Embarks on Digital Transformation Journey with EBRD Support

Bosnian Furniture Maker Zanat Embarks on Digital Transformation Journey with EBRD Support

(IN BRIEF) Zanat, a renowned Bosnian furniture company known for its hand-carving techniques and UNESCO recognition, faced challenges with growing international demand, including delivery delays and product quality issues. To address these challenges and optimize their operations, the company sought assistance from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)’s Advice for Small Businesses (ASB) program. Through ASB, Zanat received guidance on streamlining and digitalizing its processes, including implementing software solutions for efficient quote and invoice processing, capacity utilization tracking, and order status monitoring. This digital transformation has increased Zanat’s production capacity by 20-30%, leading to growth opportunities and improved efficiency. The ASB program aims to assist numerous small businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina with similar growth and competitiveness objectives through various support areas, including digitalization, financial management, and marketing.

(PRESS RELEASE) LONDON, 13-Nov-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — Bosnia and Herzegovina, with its thriving wood-processing industry, is home to several renowned furniture brands that have made their way to international markets. Among them is family-owned furniture company Zanat, known for its hand-carving techniques and century-old tradition. It is a family business that has been passed from one generation to another, growing into a successful furniture production business.

The company’s director Adem Niksic, an architect, and his brother, CEO Orhan Niksic, are the fourth generation to continue the family business.

“We introduced our own designs into our production process, and now we manufacture modern products featuring elements of manual woodcarving,” says Adem.

UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Zanat’s preservation and perfection of the woodcarving technique was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2017.

The company works with world-renowned designers, and its furniture is sold mostly in European Union (EU) markets, predominantly in Scandinavian countries, as well as in Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.

As their business grew and the brand started to export internationally, a rise in demand became a challenge for Zanat. The company faced problems with delivery delays and product quality.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)’s Advice for Small Businesses (ASB) programme supports companies in situations like these: when they are at a crossroads, wondering how to overcome challenges and grow in the right direction. The programme offers business advice through local and international consultants, which helps companies acquire the know-how to become more competitive and grow.

The EBRD worked with Zanat to help it streamline and digitalise its processes. The company invested in software solutions that enable quotes and invoices to be processes and tracked efficiently. The software provides information on each workstation’s capacity utilisation, which means managers can make timely decisions that help to eliminate or reduce production bottlenecks.

In addition, the new software allows Zanat to track order statuses and expected production completion dates, which makes logistics planning easier and improves communication with clients, especially when there are delays.

“Thanks to the digitalisation of the company, we now have room for further development. As we have increased our production capacity by 20-30 per cent, we certainly expect some new employment and further company growth,” adds Adem.

Advice for Small Businesses programme

“Zanat is a great example of how digitalisation can help firms improve productivity, boost efficiency and reduce costs, and how they can optimise their business by streamlining operations and making them less prone to human error,” says Zihnija Hasovic, EBRD Principal Manager for the ASB programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The programme has already assisted more than 1,200 businesses and entrepreneurs in the country since 2001. To date, the EU has supported ASB activities with more than €6 million. The programme is also supported by other donors, including Norway.

The new programme cycle will enable at least 40 companies to improve their employees’ skills, become more innovative, attract financing, gain expertise and become business leaders, increasing their competitiveness and productivity.

Small businesses can apply for support in a variety of areas, including digitalisation, financial management, sales, marketing, human resources, succession planning and other fields.

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