ELTON is a dream job for me, says CEO Renata Červenák Nývltová
Why did you decide to do so?
This challenge immediately caught my attention. For one thing, I had an office in the ELTON building from the very beginning, so that I didn't have to commute from Nové Město nad Metují, where I live, to Prague. In addition, I enjoy watches. That's why I decided to apply to the selection process, even though it was a step into the unknown. I have spent almost my entire career in purchasing. But in the end, it worked out and I have been the CEO of ELTON since January 2021.
What does your typical working day look like?
I spend a large part of the day in meetings, both within the company and with customers. I usually start at eight or nine in the morning and I am with people until the afternoon. Then comes the time when the company empties out a bit and I sit at the computer and emails instead of talking. Often, I catch up on office work from home in the evening, which I did not manage during the day. I am a night owl, so it doesn't bother me.
What does a good manager look like in your view? What qualities should they have?
For me, it has always been crucial for my boss to be able to make quick decisions. This works great in CSG. Because I follow the motto that it's better to decide quickly, even if perhaps incorrectly. I can always go back later and make a different decision. That will still be better than hesitating for a long time. In addition, a manager needs to lead people well, walk among them, talk to them and perceive their needs and stimuli, which they then transfer into the company's management.
What education do you actually have?
I studied mechanical engineering both at high school and university. I received my diploma from the Technical University in Liberec.
Do you have a dream job? Perhaps something you dreamt of as a child?
I never really thought about a dream job in that way. As a child, I enjoyed sports a lot and wanted to go to a sports high school. That did not work out in the end and I ended up in mechanical engineering, partly due to a bit of persuasion. From this perspective, I have my dream job right now at ELTON. I am doing a technical job that I enjoy. Watchmaking is unique and, in addition, it's a company in the place where I live. So, I am really satisfied here.
You mentioned sports. What were you involved in as a youth?
At a higher level, I ran 800 and 1,500 meters. Concurrently, I was also involved in downhill skiing competitively. I was good at sports - I was even in a top center, but I never made it to the national team.
Are you still involved in sports? What are your other hobbies, if any?
I'm still trying to keep active. I think sports free up a person's thoughts and help to alleviate everyday stress from the office. At least it helps me. In summer, I try to cycle, otherwise I play golf or tennis and badminton. In winter, I still like to put on my skis and go out on the slope. But I can basically get involved in any sport, so sometimes I try something else, like inline skating.
Returning to work, what do you enjoy the most about it?
Certainly, meeting people. I also enjoy inventing new watches and their design. It helps me relax from the usual managerial life.
What do you enjoy the least about your work?
Probably administration. I don't like the classic "paperwork". I always put it off until last.
Do you see any advantages arising from ELTON being part of a group like CSG?
Definitely. Without CSG, ELTON would certainly not be doing as well. That's beyond debate. With a strong partner, we have much greater certainty that we will overcome any crises. If we were not doing well, we know that they would throw us a lifeline and we would not drown. But it's not about the CSG holding company giving us money just like that. They may lend us for new equipment, which we would not otherwise get. It's not like the group is giving us money, it's a debt that we have to repay, just like at a bank. We then have to earn the money to pay it back ourselves.
What would you wish for CSG for the next five or ten years?
That the group would still be healthy and led by as good people as now. We are still more of a family business, where everyone pulls together rather than a corporation. Thanks to the group being led by one owner - Michal Strnad - we have a good drive and can make decisions quickly. And I hope that will last.
Where do you see the future of ELTON in the coming years?
Today, the industry is moving towards greater robotization and electronization. We don't want to go down that path. We are purely a manufacturing production. Of course, we also use machines for machining various parts, but about eighty percent of production time is taken up by human labor. And it should stay that way. In the short term, we want to reach a thousand hand-made watches with our own movement. And we don't want to go any further. We still want to maintain PRIM watches as a result of manufacturing work. That's why in the future we will focus more on smaller limited editions and unique watches rather than mass production.
How many watches will you produce this year?
We would like to assemble 800 watches. We set the goal to round production up to a thousand two years ago when I took up the position of CEO. We have a clear strategy and vision on how to reach such a number.
How are you doing with the watches yourself? What are your favorites?
I especially like the legends – for example, Orlík, Sport and Diplomat. I have ladies' Orlík on my wrist right now. I like to wear Diplomat for example with a dress, and for the Sport model, it's obvious (smiles). I also have a watch made specifically for me.
Did your childhood sports activities help you in your current job?
Definitely yes. I always tell everyone that sport, even if a child doesn't reach the top level, brings a lot to life. In sports, you learn discipline, goal-orientation, and a healthy reluctance to lose. And of course, it also teaches you that you won't always succeed, and it helps you better cope with defeats. This is important in business too. Not every negotiation or business mission ends in victory. Subconsciously, I choose people for my team who have a sporting past or love sports. I can feel these human qualities in them.
What was the biggest change you made in the company after you took over?
We focused more on production management – mainly on ensuring greater production capacity and better efficiency. We also plan better and have a clear annual plan. One of the visible changes, for example, is the notice board at the entrance to the building above the electronic attendance system. Colleagues can immediately see how we are doing and whether we are meeting our plans.
If I wanted a PRIM watch, how long would I have to wait?
For a customized watch, you will wait four to six months. For standard production without changes, it depends on whether we have the specific model in stock. If not, the customer will wait one to three months.