Here you can read how did the business plan and innovative business model Peko cooperative came into light.
Mr. Roman Zalokar from the region of Kozjansko, a member of the Movement OPS, on 19th January 2016 heard through the media, that Peko has been filled for the bankruptcy, so he suggested to start a petition that could be an initiative to save the traditional shoemaking company from ending on a history graveyard along with many other intentionally destroyed businesses. The initiative was accepted and the very next day, on the 20th January 2016 the petition was opened on the portal pravapeticija.com, named "Peko our traditional shoemaker - we are not giving away, we are for the revival of production!".
Then we waited a little to see what people think. In the first seven days the response was lukewarm, only a few signatures of support per day. The the turning point occurred on the 8th day when the petition was signed by 395 and on the 9th day by 692 supporters. This was a clear signal to us to start the action fully and keenly and to do everything in our power to maintain the 113 years of tradition of Peko.
In our Movement of the OPS, we started the drafting of the action plan for the revival of Peko. We want to stress here that all that happened in connection with the activities, we worked as VOLUNTEERS, during our free time and at our own expense, without receiving and financial support. Our work was fueled by the desire of not to fail yet another Slovene company, appreciation of our cultural and economic heritage, and a desire to prove to ourselves and others, that we can COME TOGETHER and make something GOOD FOR OUR COMMUNITY. This motive keeps us in action until today, because we believe that we know how and we can do it.
1. Analysis of the company status (meetings with all relevant stakeholders, who have until now worked in the Peko or have had business relationships with Peko and/or are currently in a relationship with Peko). Report 10.02.2016.
2. Finding people at home and abroad with the necessary skills and experiences, who wish in any way to help to maintain Peko and to contribute their knowledge and time for the new business strategy that will lead to the rehabilitation and a new development of Peko. Report and call to the action conference on 20.02.2016.
3. Preparation of the new business plan, VISION and STRATEGY of Peko, with action steps and identified control points to achieve the short-term, medium-term and long-term plans, along with people carrying responsibilities for these steps and the implementation of the plan. Probable deadline: 29.02.2016.
4. Definition of the future ownership structure of Peko and a form of a corporation (D. D. or Association-cooperative) - 29.02.2016
5. The public exhibition of the VISION, STRATEGY and PLANS with the main responsible carriers in the project New Peko and an invitation to the wider public to purchase the attractive and good quality footwear in a form of a pre-order prospectus, which would bring funds for the purchase of Peko, the startup funds and open the the possibility of shares/ co-ownership - 09.03. 2016.
THE SCHEDULED RESTART OF PRODUCTION - 3. MAY 2016
(today's OPS note – The answer to the question of why the production has not started, as we planned follows. There are interest groups and individual people who have incredible influence and power. They have an impact on the media, even on the courts and decision makers at governmental and local level.)
CALL to all who wish to contribute. We need economists, financial specialists, lawyers, negotiators, human resource managers, policy makers, creative artists, experts in commerce, shoemakers, managers, heads of production, motivation experts and all the other positive people of different disciplines and skills, which could contribute their knowledge and time to create the best plan for a new start of Peko and his new, comprehensive and successful development. If you are a person or somebody you know which could help, please contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 031 274 419, and we can discuss all the necessary details.
Action committee for the new start of Peko OPS
After the post on Pravapeticija.com and on the social network Facebook, a lot of people who wanted to participate contacted us – these were experts of different disciplines and skills. During the time of our work on the action plan, 30 different people were involved in one way or the other. Also (which was especially gratifying) people from Peko came forward because they care and did not want Peko gone forever. In accordance to our Action plan, we approached the realization of the first point by organising at least 10 meetings in Tržič, each with different people who were either well-acquainted with Peko business or worked in a Peko or wanted to help in any way possible. The first meeting took place on 4th February 2016 and promises of help were offered. All the others with whom we met provided valuable information so we could prepare a report on Peko d. d. business. Some of the information we found on the web, as for example, the report of operations Peko d. d. for the year 2014. As we have set ourselves a deadline, we have realized it. We have prepared a report on the operations of Peko and the assessment of the present Peko situation.
In short the report revealed the following:
1. A difference between price and costs was too low;
2. High overhead costs;
3. Under-achievement of sales;
4. Poor flow of information from top down and vice versa and in particular about the fact that no one in the management has heard anything (maybe better ‘has listened to’ ?) from anyone who wanted a good change, or reports back from the market or what it is that market is looking for, etc.
5. Deliberately bad and even harmful performance from the part of the certain managerial staff, who for their wrong decisions and to the detriment of Peko never took any responsibility. The same applies to the supervisory boards of the company Peko.
6. Frequent changes of managerial and supervisory boards, which have been recruited past the foundations of the profession, morality and ethics, and programmes that, could benefit the society;
7. Non professional people in certain positions who have taken their positions due to the family or other connections and not on the basis of their professional competences.
In accordance with the Action plan we called the first action conference in Tržič on the 20th February 2016, in a special room of the Restaurant RAJ (PARADISE). Our goal was to get the consent from the former employees from Peko to continue to work together in terms of producing a new business plan.
Around 50 people attended, the majority was employees from Peko d. d. - in bankruptcy. When we voted on whether we are going to work on the business plan, we have all agreed to proceed. The business plan now exists, all thanks to the collection of funds and an invitation to all interested to become cooperative members of Peko cooperative.
We met on Wednesday, 24th of February 2016, four days after the first action conference, at the Municipality of Tržič, where they gave us permission to use the community meeting rooms. We worked the whole day; we formed the entire concept for a comprehensive business plan. Then we continued to work at home and each did their part based on their expertise. Much of the work was done in the mutual communication via the internet. When we each concluded our parts, we again met in Tržič and discussed again all the open issues and added the missing parts to the business plan. Present were the bearers of the areas.
After this meeting, we worked again hours and hours at home, each in his field, so we could provide even a better business plan. At the same time we also discussed and agreed that Peko will be organized as a cooperative. We also agreed about the new name: Peko Slovenia cooperative, but eventually that would change (the use of the word Slovenia in the company name is hard to achieve – as the authorization of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia is needed) and we formed the new name of Peko cooperative.
Some time before the business plan and new business model for Peko cooperative were finalised, we have asked for and got confirmed the meeting with the State Secretary to the Government of the Republic of SLOVENIA in charge of social entrepreneurship and people's initiative, Mr. Tadej Slapnik. We asked him to explain how the government can help us with a new layout of Peko, which is now in ruins, and what was caused by irresponsible people.
Since we did not get to ask all the questions we wanted to, we decided to do so in writing. Until today we did not receive answers to these questions.
1. Who are the biggest and other creditors of Peko d. d.?
2. What is happening with the subsidiaries: PEKO INDE, PEKO CROATIA, PEKO SKOPJE?
3. When will and why there is not yet been done, e.g. the court of auditors audit of the operations of this national company? And whether this audit will be done in future by any of the governmental offices? And if they do not have the time, please give us the approval and we will do it. After all Peko is also our company. According to our previous research in Peko some serious irregularities could be suspected, even possible crimes. ‘Leeches’ have sucked dry the Peko company. The same happened in many other state run enterprises and it is still going on. Alpina, another footwear making company, for example, is presently in a state of ‘fainting’ due to the similar exhaustion. As we told you at the meeting, no company will fail as Peko did. We will not allow it!
As far as the audits of the Peko business for a couple of years back is concerned, we told you that if you don't have the ability, or if the authorities cannot, want not, or must not, under the supervision of the bankruptcy administrator, review the business, just tell us and give us a week of time so we can conduct a careful review. And then we can present to the whole of the Slovenian public the harmful contracts and fictitious payment invoices. Tell openly and stop the pretending, because we told you that pretending in this case is a crime. So, we demand a clear answer from you and from the bankruptcy administrator, who received a master's degree in science of law, Mrs. Tadeja Tamše, when and in what way will company Peko d.d. undergo a careful review, revision of (at least for 10 years back) the business, and a company that has been in a majority ownership of the government, so the property of Slovene people? We ask for the schedule of such a review and which office of the government will be in charge of it.
And it should not be forgotten to also perform the audit of the valuations and a selection of the best bidder for the purchase of a majority stake in the Peko Skopje. A full review is required also for the robbing business for Peko Split and for Peko business in Serbia.
4. Do they exist and whether we can see the findings of the bankruptcy administrator? We are mainly interested in her findings from the careful review of previous business of Peko d.d. How many years does the review go back and up until today, and did she as a good manager take any steps in this direction?
5. What is the situation with the real estate abroad, in particular those which have not yet been returned to Peko, but should be returned already long time ago?
6. What can we expect from the Government of the Republic of Slovenia as per assistance in starting a social enterprise Peko Slovenia Kooperativa? We would like concrete commitments: subsidised rent, costs of electricity, phone, heating in the case of state enterprises? We need support for at least two years, because we are starting from scratch.
7. What can we get from Peko itself (collections, patterns, supplies, materials)? Can the Government give us all that so we collect a useful start-up capital for a new company? Today we found out new damages to the company Peko d. d. in bankruptcy. What is happening is namely the sale of footwear discounted up to 60% and more. For example a pair of shoes worth 250 Euros is selling for approx. 16 Euros?! Why such hurry with the devaluation of the past work of already exploited workers of Peko? What game are you playing??? If you yourself have never done anything useful, you cannot know and cannot appreciate the work of others and also cannot value products made by diligent hands.
We require that you stop with the sales immediately, close the shop with a note up ‘until further notice’! Concerning the stock: people who are well aware of the value of about 50 thousand pairs of shoes and have excellent knowledge about it, they can sort shoes into those that can sell and those that cannot. After the selection we can agree how, and in accordance with good management, to execute the sales that no further damage will be done. Nothing in Peko d. d. is the property of the Mrs. Tamše, nor any other person! Everything in Peko d. d., in the company that you with your political management have got on its knees and almost in the grave, is full property of the taxpayers! Debts that were created with ‘bum’ like management of politically installed presidents of the boards, supervisory councils and ‘clever’ bureaucrats from the banks will have to fall on their shoulders.
Once and for all, this robbery of public property has to stop. The time is right, don't you think? On which side will you be is your decision. We volunteers, we are on the side of justice and truth and on the side of the people.
8. We require an agreement with you of who and when will trigger a criminal investigation to determine the undisputed criminal liability described above.
9. How will you, or on the basis of which criteria will you, rent the premises of Peko d. d.? And would the group that has clearly shown the intention to join forces to make a social enterprise, have an advantage in the rent? In the event that somebody else hired all the Peko premises, we require from you to determine the origin of their finances, because it can be the very same laundered money stolen from our public assets just transferred from abroad.
We suggest that during the (rent) selection process all interested parties show their business plans, and that the experts are present to evaluate these plans and see who has the solution for a sustainable development of Peko, with a special assurance, that there will not be exploitation of workers. In our belief there should be a condition that the lessee shall set up a social enterprise. We here today, we guarantee, we have a draft business plan for such a company.
10. How can other state institutions help in the development of Peko? Faculties, ZRMK, Institute Jožef Štefan, and others? Is it possible to get any discounts, since it is a company made almost from scratch and we need a lot of support and cooperation in the development of new materials, in the research, with the introduction of new technologies, etc.? What about primary and secondary schools and the organisation of competitions for the design of the footwear, dresses, skates, belts, purses and other accessories?
11. Where do the state-owned enterprises buy working footwear for their employees? For example: Krka, Gorenje, Telekom, Medical clinical centres, hospitals, etc?
12. What about the possibility of contracts from the state-owned enterprises and institutions, as far as the working protective footwear is concerned?
13. Which machines were taken away from Peko because you terminated the contracts? Who was the owner of these machines, how much was the renting fee and how much time were they hired for?
14. Is it possible to rent a brand name? Or could the Government of the Republic of Slovenia as an inadequate manager of the public (our) Peko property and the main creditor (which can only blame itself and those who have already left their positions) grant the brand name and perform at least one noble act in this case. We invite you and all the others, to become a Peko cooperative member, and even before that a volunteer, to join us and create something FOR THE COMMON GOOD, WITHOUT BEING PAID FOR THIS FROM OUR TAX PAYERS’ MONEY. WHAT EXACTLY CAN YOU DO AS A VOLUNTEER?
DO YOU PROMISE THAT YOU WILL COME TO THE PRESENTATION CONFERENCE OF THE NEW BUSINESS PLAN PEKO SLOVENIA KOOPERATIVA on the 9th March 2016 in Tržič ? We are asking both of you, Mr. Slapnik and Mrs. Tamše, who have received our questions to each answer these questions. If you cannot answer, please write to us who is, instead of you, competent for the answers to the questions to which you cannot, dare not, know not how, or do not want to answer.
All the best!
Volunteers for the revival of Peko
Many did not believe that we will, in such a short time, succeed to bring together such a highly qualified team of experts, who will each in their own professional fields develop the business plan, and that this business plan could be without any hesitation presented to the public, and that there will be not comments. And it happened. In accordance to the Action plan, a presentation of the Business plan took place on the 9th of March 2016, again in a special room of the restaurant RAJ in Tržič.
Then it started to get more complicated, but on this we do not want to go in detail here, because it would not make much difference (a lot of this can be found on the website of the Movement of the OPS, just type ‘Peko’ in the search engine). There are people who have power and influence and cannot stand the success of other people who are not their subordinate. Despite the fact that we have done all as we set out with a really devoted work for the production that could start on the 3rd May (we are not was able to rent 700 m2 production premises, the necessary machinery and equipment, to employ, as in the plan, 25 people), we were unable to begin the work. And we were not able to start despite the fact that we certainly offered the best deal, had a plan to employ the highest number people, and would be keeping everything from the ‘ruins’ of Peko. Evidently somebody has different plans from ours. Our objectives are exclusively for social benefits, in terms of pursuing the tradition of shoemaking and to employ again people who have the knowledge, experience, and desire to work, people who know how to make great products, while at the same time everybody who will purchase their products, will benefit.
NOW THE MOVE IS ON YOU, SLOVENES, CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA AND BEYOND, TO SUPPORT THIS POPULAR PROJECT, BUSINESS PLAN AND INNOVATIVE BUSINESS MODEL.