The Putin Production System

In an earlier post we saw a message from Stalin to a factory manager that showed his way of motivating employees. Now Youtube has the following video illustrating Vladimir Putin’s approach to manufacturing:

The video was first posted on Youtube on 2/17/2012, when Putin was Prime Minister and running for President in the election that took place on 3/4/2012. The event took place three years earlier, and was reported in the New York Times on June 4, 2009. It happened at the Baselcement factory, which makes alumina, in Pikalevo, 150 miles East of Saint-Petersburg. The video was obviously not taken with a hidden camera; it was a deliberately staged event.

Putin comes to this cement factory, berates the managers for being unprepared, and “running around like cockroaches when I said I was coming.” He tells the owners that they are “unprofessional and greedy,” and then that this factory, which we didn’t know was closed, would be restarted “one way or another,” and without the owners if they didn’t cooperate.

One of the owners in the room is Oleg Deripaska, a rich businessman and political ally of Putin. Putin has an agreement in hand, that is apparently missing Deripaska’s signature, which he demands. The last touch, after Deripaska signs is Putin demanding his pen back, which seems intended as a counterpoint to the White House signing ceremonies where the US President gives away pens.

Seeing the confidence with which Putin passed judgement on manufacturing issues, I assumed it was based on his own extensive experience. The wikipedia article on him, however, only mentions 16 years in the KGB prior to entering politics.

BeripaskaIn the video, we see what appears to be a cheap nerd watch on billionaire Deripaska’s wrist. The same watch is prominent on his home page, and has to be there on purpose. If Deripaska has a Rolex, he keeps it out of the public eye.

3 comments on “The Putin Production System

  1. I worked for a US Company that was purchased by a European organization. Shortly after the purchase the head of the European Company visited the facility I worked in. As soon as he arrived he berated the management team in front of everyone in the facility for an extended period. Not surprising, there was a major reorganization soon after; maybe this was a show to provide the justification for that reorg? Regardless, the berating was unnecessary and counterproductive. I’m not trying to link this to Europeans, its just a personality issue… Whether the Head of State, or the Head of a Company, some people like to act like they know it all and demonstrate their power. The looks on the faces in this video, remind me of what I saw that day…

    p.s. that entire merger was deemed a failure in less than 2 years and the Company proceeded to “de-merge.” The leader that did the berating was given the boot too.

  2. Looking for updates on what happened with this plant after the Putin visit, I found the following press releases from Interfax, dated 11/17/2011 and 10/8/2013:

    “CJSC BaselCement-Pikalevo plans to increase the amount of alumina it produces this year by 7% over last year to 255,500 tonnes, the company press service said.

    The company produced more than 210,000 of alumina and upwards of 2 million tonnes of lime in January-October, 10% more year-on-year.

    Company Director Dmitry Niklayev is cited in the press statement as saying this production growth reflected investments in the modernization of production and the introduction of the program “Lean Production.”

    BaselCement-Pikalevo increase the delivery of counteragent to Pikalevo outfits in January-October: Pikalevo Soda received more than 1 million cubic meters of carbonate solution (up 7%), Pikalevo Cement more than 845,000 tonnes of sludge (up 16%). Pikalevo Cement received 356,469 tonnes of lime, and another 108,095 tonnes is planned for shipment there before year-end, which would make the total amount 140% more than in 2010.

    BaselCement-Pikalevo produces alumina from nepheline concentrate received from OJSC Apatit (RTS: APAT). From alumina, the company makes nephiline (belite) sludge delivered by the Basel plant to CJSC Pikalevo Cement (part of the EuroCement group) for the production of cement, and carbonate solution shipped to Metakhim (managed by Sevzapprom LLC) for the production of soda and potash. The three enterprises function as a single technological complex.”

    and:

    BaselCement-Pikalevo to seek 4 bln-10 bln rubles from VEB for updates

    ST. PETERSBURG. Oct 8 (Interfax) – BaselCement-Pikalevo, an alumina producer that is part of Oleg Deripaska’s Basic Element, plans to raise 4 billion-10 billion rubles in financing from state lender Vnesheconombank (VEB) for a project to modernize its production facilities, the CEO and owner of Pikalevksaya Soda and future head of BaselCement-Pikalevo, Maxim Volkov told Interfax.

    “At the first stage, we intend to ask VEB for financing for the modernization project. Depending on the scope of the project, a loan of 4 billion-10 billion rubles will be needed,” Volkov said, adding that the company will not be able to raise a commercial loan given the situation at the Pikalevo production complex, while VEB’s activities are aimed at financing such development projects.

    The modernization project might be approved by the end of this year and will take about three years to carry out, Volkov said.”

    Today, Pikalevo is in the list of production plants on the Baselcement website.

  3. Pingback: The Cobot Controversy | Christian Hohmann | Michel Baudin's Blog

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