Stevan Djukic, Country Sales Manager Xella Srbija – We are pushing the business boundaries in the construction market of Serbia together
Stevan Djukic (Photo: Xella Srbija)
Stevan Djukic is a civil engineer by profession, and since the beginning of 2021, he has worked as the Country Sales Manager at Xella Srbija. This native of Belgrade has been acquiring experience in sales, marketing and management of projects and teams in the construction industry for 15 years, in eminent companies, such as Nobel, Hilti, Gradient, Carmeuse.
He says that his engagement in a successful company such as Xella Srbija is a challenge, but that he hopes that he will push the current boundaries of doing business in the construction market of Serbia, where the awareness of the need for environmental protection and the basic right of all citizens to live in healthy and safe homes is slowly being raised.
Since the beginning of the year, you have worked at Xella Srbija as the Country Sales Manager. To what extent have your previous working experiences helped you adapt to the new team you are now leading?
– The previous experiences, which I have acquired in the past 15 years in similar industries, have had a very important and positive impact on my being able adapt to the new challenge. If I was to highlight the most important item and lesson from my career so far, it would be the networking of contacts and experiences, which I have acquired in cooperation with other people throughout the years.
How do you see this position in a successful company such as Xella Srbija?
– For me at this moment, this position is a natural development in my career and an excellent opportunity for further development. For me, a company like Xella, considering its long-term business plan and a wide range of opportunities, opens a wide field for activity and the perfecting of the current principle of doing business and the entire team, but also myself as the leader of sales and marketing. I expect us to together push some of the current boundaries of doing business in the construction market of Serbia.
Which characteristics make for a good sales manager? What would you advise you colleagues who are just starting out? In what way have you acquired your experiences?
– I’ll answer this question as if I hadn’t read any book from the “how to become a successful manager” category. By my standards, a good sales manager, that is, a manager I would follow and in whose team I would like to be, is the kind of a manager who is in the field with their people, who opens the doors and creates the opportunities that their team will use. Also, a good manager gives clear instructions, and also clear feedback when needed, but above all, a good manager is a good person! We all need to think about this category today when we want top results! If, in all our efforts to achieve the best results, we miss the opportunity to be and remain good people, in the long-term, the results become unimportant.
How do you rate the current state of the construction market?
– If we are talking about the building construction, as the segment we follow the most, a considerable growth of investments in all segments is apparent: from family houses, through residential and office buildings, to industrial facilities. One of the characteristics of the current state of the market is definitely the greater awareness of all participants in the process of the level of the quality of both the construction works and the building materials.
Xella central in Duisburg (Photo: Xella Srbija)
What are the latest trends in the construction market?
– The trends in the market change in accordance with the changes of the living conditions and the environment. The issue of noise is very current at the moment, both in residential and in office and hospitality/hotel facilities, so the topic of sound insulation has become inevitable in all discussions. Due to the increase in the price of real estate, the market demands are growing stricter. The requirements are known to all: from investors, through designers, to the purchasers of real estate themselves.
All in all, though constant communication with people from the field, by paying attention to the needs of the market and through constant investments in innovative solutions, we are trying, before everyone else, to offer new solutions, which can meet the growing and increasingly strict needs and demands of the market. I am convinced that, with our local production (at two factories at the moment), a professional team of people and a rich experience worldwide, there’s almost no demand that we are not capable of responding to.
Xella Srbija has for a long time been one of the leaders in the field of energy efficient and ecological building, which are the principles that are increasingly in the focus. Is the awareness of this growing in the local market? Are the dynamics of these changes good or do you believe that they need to be accelerated?
– We can say that there are changes in the market, that the end-users are more aware when it comes to energy efficient construction, which is to investors’ benefit in selling real estate. As the prices of real estate have been steadily growing in the past few years, the buyers are becoming more educated and demanding when it comes to construction quality. They know that better quality walls of their home, with top thermal and sound characteristics, will considerably lower their monthly expenditures and save them money. My impression is that the part pertaining to ecology and sustainability is not yet entirely known to all participants in the market (in apartment building) and that we all need to make an effort to create a better and healthier environment for us all through education and spreading awareness of the importance of the ecological aspect. In that sense, I would like to note that Xella has been a member of the Serbia Green Building Council for years and that we will continue intensively promoting ecological construction together. The dynamics of the changes can definitely be faster, and we will certainly make a positive contribution to that change.
How important are these principles to you in your personal and professional life?
– To me, this fact was crucial in continuing my career at Xella, because, as a civil engineer and a citizen, I fully support the raising of ecological standards and the awareness to the highest level. In addition to ecological standards, it is also extremely important to raise the standard of the quality of construction, both in the sense on the quality of the works and the quality of the materials used. The awareness of all the employees at the company is also at a high level.
Ytong (Photo: Xella Srbija)
For which Xella products is there currently the most interest?
– Since the issue of sound insulation has become part of everyday life and as the demands of the investors when it comes to that issue are growing, the biggest interest is in the “Silka” calcium silicate blocks, which, depending on the variety, achieve sound insulation up to an incredible 70 dB. Also, as I’ve already noted, the awareness of energy efficiency has grown and there’s an increasing demand for our full system of construction, where the combination of all three brands, Ytong, Silka and Multipor, has proven to be the most attractive solution.
What are the plans of Xella Srbija for the upcoming period?
– By following the market, we are gaining insight into the current needs, from energy efficiency, systemic sound solutions, through ecological and innovative fast construction. We will definitely continue working on innovative systemic construction solutions. An increasing digitization of the processes in the construction industry is current, namely, the designing, the execution and the systematic connection of all professions through digital models.
The essence is in creating 3D models for each product, with all the real technical parameters. Through this kind of designing and execution, there’s less possibility of an error. This shortens the time needed for the execution and, of course, reduces the additional costs caused by additional works, which can be enormous.
Xella Srbija will soon present to the expert public its new BIM library with an accompanying app, which will be very attractive for use and this will of course accelerate the entire process, from the design to the execution.
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