Branislav Popović, Plant Manager Surdulica, Serbia

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BRANISLAV POPOVIĆ, Plant Manager Surdulica, Serbia, Knauf Insulation

Branislav is one of the latest plant managers to join Knauf Insulation, taking over our Surdulica factory in Serbia in October. The site is the only Rock Mineral Wool plant in the country and its southern location enables us to successfully distribute products to Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Greece and make a major contribution to improving energy efficiency and sustainability across the South Balkans region.

My proudest achievement? I would say being hired by Knauf Insulation. It took a lot of hard work and experience to get to this position.
Branislav Popović, Plant Manager Surdulica, Serbia

What were you doing before working for Knauf Insulation?
My first job was in the beverage industry as a sales representative and then I had a range of different positions in the banking sector following by jobs in the metal industry. Each position played a role in shaping my skills. Before I joined Knauf Insulation I was the CEO of AlfaPlam for eight years in the city of Vranje. AlfaPlam produces wood and pellet heating stoves and is a regular Knauf Insulation customer.

When did you start working for the company?
I started as Surdulica’s plant manager in October 2020.

What are the key challenges you face?
As for the plant, the organisation of production during the pandemic continues to be the biggest challenge. Getting to know the technology and my colleagues, also the wider organisation is challenging as well as can be done mostly remotely.

How has the plant navigated this challenge?
Health and safety has always been the number one priority at Surdulica. Throughout the pandemic, the plant has strictly followed safety and production instructions and guidelines provided by Central teams and management. Every employee is highly aware of the potential risks and they all want to contribute to safety measures.

How has your plant environment been shaped by post-COVID requirements?
We have learned a lot from the pandemic. People have started to value health and safety more than ever and this will remain a priority long after this crisis is over.

What key measures were introduced to keep your team As Safe As Home?
The whole plant has been following safety measures from the beginning. Production processes had to be slightly reorganised to ensure distancing and many colleagues are still working from home. All our employees have been provided with masks, disinfectant and vitamin C.

What is your ambition for the site?
My goal is to raise our production level and to be the most successful plant in the group while respecting the environment and the community we operate in.

What has been your proudest career achievements?
As I am a new member of the Knauf Insulation community, I would say being hired by the company has been my greatest achievement. It took a lot of hard work and experience to get to this position. I have been made very welcome at the plant and the team has helped me get up to speed with procedures, organisation and production processes in a very short time.

What successes would you like to highlight in connection with safety?
So far, we have had only few workers infected with COVID-19 without serious consequences and in November we also marked a hundred days without an accident. To date we remain accident free.

How does your plant contribute to the local community?
We aim to lead by example and conduct our business in a way that is responsible and environmentally conscientious. We are using the most up-to-date efficient safety equipment and plan to invest more than €10 million in 2021 towards achieving our sustainability goals.

What recent sustainability successes have been important to the plant?
We have stopped sending waste to the landfill and we are using even more recycled material in our production process. As a result, we are lowering our emissions and contributing to better surrounding air quality.

What messages do you have for neighbours who are concerned about the environmental impact of your plant?
Our neighbours can be sure that our plant is conducting business according to the most stringent local and international regulations and standards in our industry. We are consistently doing everything in our power to create a safe and healthy environment for our employees and the local community. Knauf Insulation is a responsible plant and highly aware of its importance in society.

Are there any important learnings you would like to share with colleagues?
Yes. One of my mottos is: “When you really want something, you should engage all of your energy into it and it will eventually come true.”


Plant Managers Knauf Insulation
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