Continuity, Stability, Agility – Presented Business Sustainability Report

Nelt avatar Nelt 03.06.2022.

Public expectations from companies have never been higher. Today, in addition to financial results, companies are expected to make a positive contribution to society. That is why the topic of sustainable development is gaining more and more importance, as was stated yesterday in Nelt Group’s Sustainable Development Report presentation for 2020 and 2021 entitled “Continuity, Stability, Agility, held in the premises of the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia (CCS).

A panel led by Nada Stamatovic, Corporate Communications Specialist in which Darko Lukic, Executive Vice President of Nelt Group, Bojana Mucic, Cheif Human Recourses Officer, Vuk Mijanovic, Supply Chain and Logistics Operational Excellence Manager, Aleksa Saponjic Digital Products Manager and Marko Milankovic Communications Manager took participation, presented the central part of the event.

Prior to the start of the panel the audience was addressed by Milos Jelic, General Manager of Nelt and Mihailo Vesovic Director of Strategic Analysis of CCS.

Jelic pointed out that for Nelt, apart from achieving of business results, the manner in which they were achievement has always been important.

By fulfilling our vision, he said, the Company’s employees try to live and work in compliance with organizational values, which really present universal values, as well as guidelines for every organization that wants to create success.

“This equation also includes our society, our immediate and distant environment. Due to our awareness of the impact we have as a large business system, we accepted the challenge to regularly and transparently, in compliance with the high standards implemented in the European Union, report to key stakeholders and the public about our activities and specific sustainability impacts. We have been doing this for eight years, in a comparable and credible manner, in compliance with the most relevant global reporting methodology for this field – GRI (Global Reporting Initiative). We are increasing the transparency of our contribution to sustainable development by providing a comprehensive picture of the impact with precise performance indicators”, said Jelic.

He added that Nelt makes sincere efforts to competently and continuously deal with sustainability issues, awarding them the place they deserve.

Mihailo Vesovic drew attention to the fact that, although from this year large companies were obliged by the law to report on business sustainability, for  Nelt  this is a fourth report presentation.

“It is extremely important that large companies, of strategic importance and ability to develop, impose and raise the standard for all others who can learn from them. On the other hand, to show the suppliers and everyone who is part of their supply chain, which values ​​a large company, in a mature phase of growth, should promote”, said Vesovic.


The Importance of Communications in Large Business Systems

Marko Milankovic, Communications Manager emphasized the importance of “top-down” communication within the Company and the approach which the management has on informing employees. An indicator of Nelt’s success in this field is the level of involvement and responsiveness of Colleagues to various activities within the Company.

In addition, he also spoke about the specific communication characteristics within the Company, which, in addition to operating in 12 markets and officially using five languages, also has 70 percent of employees working “on the ground”, namely those positioned in warehouses and delivery.

In such a Company, the conventional ways of digital communication, which are the established means of communication in large business systems, are not enough to keep people informed. That’s why we try to systematize communication through the most diverse tools and channels available to us. One of them is launching of internal television via LED screens in warehouses”, said Marko.

He also mentioned Nelt’s presence on social networks – Facebook, which has long been used as one of the channels of internal communication, as well as the Instagram account @lifeatnelt, launched last year, which aims to promote the lives of Nelt employees, who are often themselves content creators.

Speaking about the biggest challenge the Company had faced during the previous two years, the COVID 19 pandemic and the activities of the Crisis Team, Marko and Vuk Mijanovic, who headed the Team, agreed that communication was crucial, both because of the frequent situations when decisions had to be made quickly, as well as because of the cacophony of information we were all exposed to, which made it difficult to find verified and reliable scientific facts.


Vuk stated that, due to the frequent need for quick reaction, the establishment of  Business Continuity Plan, drafted for implementation of activities in similar situations, presented the key factor.

“The pandemic, however, also required certain activities which could not have been foreseen by the plan itself, and hence, some actions were implemented on the go. The Business Continuity Plan foresees clear competencies and responsibilities at moments when something really needs to be done quickly,” Vuk explained.

Some of the main activities of the Team during this period were the provision of protective equipment – masks, visors, protective suits. A COVID patrol team was formed, which on a daily basis checked adherence to epidemiological measures within the premises, transport vehicles and warehouses. During this period, Nelt Group donated € 350,000  in aid to the countries in which it operates.

Vuk also spoke about the specific characteristics pertinent to the supply chain during the crisis period.

“Many people, due to health reasons, worked from home during that period. However, this was much less feasible on the ground. It was a very challenging situation, communication was key during that period”, said Vuk.


Digitization as a Strategic Commitment

Although digitization is Nelt’s strategic commitment, the COVID 19 pandemic has further accelerated this process. Aleksa Saponjic mentioned three projects in which the Company has invested significant funds over the past two years – the data management project, the promotion management project and the application for sellers and buyers.

“Digitalization is something that companies are obliged to implement. In the case of Nelt, we are obliged to improve our business activities with our principals as well as clients, which will enable us to grow in all the markets where we operate. On the other hand, it is also important for Nelt to turn to its customers and understand, through a partnership relationship, how they also can be digitized. The third component is the State. What Nelt is doing with data and applications is actually an upgrade of what the State is doing in fiscalization and e-invoicing projects,” said Aleksa.

One of the most important activities of Nelt, when it comes to young people, is its cooperation with faculties, as well as implementation of various internship and education programs, such as the “The Right Start” and “Are you Nelt IT” programs.

As a frequent guest at student conferences, Aleksa spoke about the importance of connecting of economy with educational institutions, and as proof of that, he cited how the best companies in the United States of America treat this issue.

“Over 80 percent of our employees in entry-level positions are 2nd, 3rd or 4th year university students. This shows us how important it is for the company to establish cooperation with faculties. Such practice helps students to further understand theoretical knowledge through real life examples in business, to test companies, and it also provides them with the security that they do not have to worry about whether they will find a job after finishing university”, explained Aleksa.

Bojana Mucic, Cheif Human Recourses Officer who joined Nelt a month ago, shared her first impressions of the Company’s approach towards employees.

“My main impression is the respect the Company has for each and every employee, regardless of their position. Another impression is that Nelt really lives by its organizational values, which is not the case with many companies. A good indicator is the fact that over 80 percent of employees participated in the last organizational health survey and left more than 7,000 open comments”, she pointed out.

With the development of the market, she added, the expectations of employees also change, and the Company must find a way to respond to such trends.

Bojana spoke about the importance of employee trainings undertaken by the Company. During the last two years, 30,000 hours of employee trainings, at all levels, were carried out  at Nelt.

In the last cycle of the “Take Your Career into Your Own Hands” program, there were over 5,000 participants in 155 workshops, which shows that our employees are eager for knowledge,” she stated. The key factor in the implementation of the sustainability strategy, said Darko Lukic, is sustainability management and in order to manage sustainability, one of the main prerequisites is measurability.

“One of the most important factors is the awareness within the Company that sustainability is the responsibility of all of us. That every one of us must every day bear in mind how our decisions and activities within the Company affect society. Awareness develops over time, and management has a key role in that,” he argued.

As he stated, it is important to apply the best practices that sometimes come from competitors, to use them in the process of learning and improving competencies when it comes to sustainability.


New Role of Distributors and Logistics

In view of the challenges present in the supply chain at global level, which are not only a result of the health crisis, Darko spoke about the new role of distributors and logistics today.

The two main changes in this field, he stated, are the increasing segmentation of customers, as well as the need for an omnichannel approach to communication, because customers today expect to communicate with the seller and order goods through different channels.

“These trends show that distributors and logistics will play a different role in the future. Communication and data exchange in the supply chain is becoming crucial”, Darko concluded.

Data alone, however, is not power, but wealth. He believes that strategy and quality data management are what gives power.

“This is the only way you can manage data faster, better and more efficiently. A company that has a lot of data is like a country that possesses natural resources, but one that has to use those resources wisely,” he said. The key driver of all transformations, including the improvement of sustainable business, as the panel concluded, are company values ​​- innovation, care for employees, long-term perspective, personal responsibility and a winning mentality.

The full Sustainable Business Report for the year 2020/21 can be viewed HERE, and our promotional video awaits you below.