Nomination in POPAI Awards Paris for Nestlé’s Home Café

In this year's POPAI Awards Paris 2022, our project for the Starbucks and Nescafé Dolce Gusto brands was nominated in the category of permanent POS - food and beverage. The display won the Food category in the Czech POPAI Awards 2021. We created a shop in shop called...

An interview with Marek Končitík: “My biggest hobby is the company.”

How would you briefly describe your work career?

I have been working at Dago for twenty years. Before that, I worked as a Marketing Manager at Catherine. I graduated from two universities focused on business and marketing. I think I work a lot in general.

What were the effects of Covid on the company’s business?

The basis was that traders and office people worked at home. We originally thought we would meet people in person. But the situation changed and people had to work remotely.  However, they were able to produce the same number of orders as in the past, although it was more difficult because our business partners were also sitting at home and it was difficult to contact them. Not everyone worked the same working times as others. Nevertheless, the result was great. The company’s turnover did not decrease during the Covid period. We even started restructuring the entire company. So we can say that the Covid period turned out better for us than expected.

What is the situation in Dago after Daniel Jesenský left the company? He was the soul of the company, wasn’t he?

I’ll try to say it from the beginning. Dago is currently on the market for almost thirty years, so we have a rich history. I can state that in the field of FMCG we are one of the largest suppliers and we belong to the largest producers. The annual turnover is around two hundred million CZK. In the course of not only Covid, but the entire last two years, we went through probably the biggest restructuring. We tried to grasp the situation in a different way than other companies, which mainly tried to save money. On the contrary, we have invested tens of millions of CZK in new premises, new materials, and the development of employees and production technologies.

In this context, I would also like to mention our historical milestones. Sometimes twelve years ago, Daniel Jesenský, who managed Dago for the first almost 20 years, left the management of the company. For the next ten years or so, the company was co-ordinated by Martin Vorel, who acted as the company’s Executive. At that time, Dago was not completely focused on complete in-house production; however, it focused on the development, progress, cooperation, and coordination of projects and created a great team of people for complex project management. Dan and also the other partner Mirek Nikodém are among the founders who gave Dago a soul and direction and we continue to draw from this until now.  It is also important to mention that they are still part of it and participate in the strategic management of the company.

And then you became the boss…

Yes, two years ago I took over the management of the company. But I note that I have been in the company for twenty years, during which I have gotten to know the company thoroughly. That’s why we decided to innovate the production in the Covid period. We actually created a new Dago. Investments were mainly made in printing technologies based on FCS certificates, which means that everything is done in a completely ecological way and, moreover, quickly. We simply transferred production to the ecological and economic categories. Of course, building new facilities, cars and software was also related to this, but we also solved the training of people for project management, added technologists, and other people to the production team, and created a whole range of new positions for complex project management. The current speed is such that, while previously we usually worked on individual projects for four to six weeks, today they take around three days.

Did you invest from your own resources or borrowed money? What return do you expect?

Most of the investments were paid from own resources. We estimate the return within a few years.

Has Dago also changed the visual aspect of communication? I assume that it is probably related to the expansion of the product portfolio.

As I said, speed was crucial for us. It is not a problem to finish a job order within days, maximum within one week. Thanks to this, there is probably no company on the market that would be as fast (from the point of view of the number of complex orders and the complexity of the project) as we are, and therefore the volume of orders has also increased. We can handle around two hundred of them per month, so we rented additional halls for production. We have tripled the number of employees we had two years ago, we are dedicated to comprehensive project management. I emphasize that we have restructured the ENTIRE company.

How do you expect the market in which you operate to develop? This means, for example, POS advertising and the like.

In general, we can say that during a crisis, advertising always grows. I personally think that the POS market will be rather positive. We bet on speed. We used to struggle with customer turnover. People in the marketing departments took turns and it was not easy to complete the projects. Today, however, speed helps. Within a few days, we are done with a realization. For the first half of this year, we have around 1,200 job orders. This is a good indicator that the market is working well.

Kofola presented a robotic beverage cart at the Retail Summit. What do you think about it? Will this be a new trend?

I think Kofola, as one of the leaders in the beverage field, invests a lot in POS materials, but I wouldn’t call such technology a trend. This is one of the ways to attract customers. I see, mainly due to the price, a major decline in technological innovation. That is why they are not so sought-after in the market. On the contrary, we consider elaborate design to be a trend, which they started solving in America about six or eight years ago. In the Czech Republic, it is still lagging behind. When you look at American POS materials, they are perfectly coordinated and tasteful. Well made, matched 2D with 3D, a compromise between quality and price. But to Kofola’s credit, it’s amazing that they aren’t afraid to invest in such innovations. At the same time, I must add that it is Kofola that makes a whole range of very well-developed standard carriers, where the trend I mentioned in the previous sentences is manifested. This contractor does a great job in the field of trade marketing.

How do you see the news in the field of electronic sales tracking of primary and secondary exposure, that is, the use of different sensors?

There are a large number of different devices, applications, and software for monitoring that can obtain data from individual carriers and have a certain reporting capability. On the other hand, these carriers are currently being used less and less. We also have a drop in demand in this area. When I look at the implementations in the last year, customers (even concerning the time of Covid) do not use these tools so often and rather aim for proven POS materials.

I can probably answer the following question myself, but I’ll ask it anyway: You win a lot of awards in the POPAI competition. The nomination in Paris is also a great success.  What is the reason? I can see from the previous answers that you are simply one step ahead of the competition…

I would mainly like to add that the reason is people who spend a lot of time at work and enjoy working for Dago. During the aforementioned restructuring, we devoted a lot of time to the harmonization of people. For the last two years, we have been looking for employees who are very similar in type. Our main goal is to make people feel good here. And our people are amazing. If you enjoy doing the work, and not just for the money, then the results can be seen also at the mentioned competitions. Thank you very much my whole team. They are great!

I think that it is certainly the dream of every company boss that his people work not only for money but also with joy. Especially nowadays when they are hard to find. You are also known for your high work commitment. Do you actually have time for something else, hobbies, family, etc.?

My biggest hobby is Dago, to which I devote at least 14 hours a day. I am at work from morning to night including some weekends. My hobby is actually the company. I think that is also part of our success. I’m not someone who gets a leadership position, takes care of it for three years, and then leaves. I have the company as a life mission. I have been here for twenty years and I hope to be here for a few more years. Of course, none of this is possible without the support of my family, which is the foundation of everything. I have a wonderful wife and children.

Okay, I’ll ask another question: What do you do when you’re not working or sleeping?

I work all the time. From six in the morning to two at night. I have four computers and two phones. I have a computer or phone in every room, including the bedroom. I really work all the time. However, time spent working is not a problem. I don’t need to divide time, as I often hear from other managers, between personal life and work. My work is a part of me and fits into my private life. I’m just looking for harmony between time dedicated to children and projects.

The company is definitely lucky. Thank you for the interview.

Your team Dago 


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