Join us for a unique excursion to Kazakhstan and Central Asia, where Arseniy Rudenko works as the general manager of PPG Tikkurila Kazakhstan. Having joined the team during a challenging geopolitical situation in Russia, he managed to solidify the position of PPG Tikkurila on the local market and aims for further expansion.
From the very beginning, Arseniy has been facing the challenging task of having to decrease the dependency of paint production on Russia and transferring it to Finland and Kazakhstan instead. At the same time, he and his team ambitiously plan to expand the market presence of TIKKURILA™ brand by PPG to other Central Asian countries. Leading with other function leaders a team of 40 people, he translates the Kazakh hospitality to how he builds relationships with customers, as well as his colleagues.
Right now, PPG Tikkurila has a presence in five Central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Among these, Kazakhstan is the headquarters, engaged in the distribution, retail and DIY channels. About 90 % of paints in the Central Asian area is distributed to the sector of architectural coatings, the rest going to industry.
Almost Two Decades of Experience
Arseniy's experience in the sales development area reaches back by 18 years. "Already then, my responsibility was not just to sell, but also to develop teams and strategy."
Being the general manager of PPG Tikkurila Kazakhstan, Arseniy carried over this experience to the paint industry. He joined the team in August 2022. "Even though the market and the product were new to me, the business processes are the same."
Arseniy's mission is to expand the company's position in the Central Asian countries, which sounds ambitious per se. How does Arseniy make sure his team isn't daunted by this challenge?
I lead them. I strive to combine different functions on the team and encourage them to work together. We have people in sales, support, marketing, logistics, warehouses, HR, production, finance, and all of us know our goal. Thanks to that, we are able to hit our targets.
Strong Bonds Go a Long Way
The way Arseniy leads his team is strongly influenced by the typical Kazakh hospitality.
"The people here like to maintain healthy relationships with their relatives and friends. They communicate a lot."
All this translates to the spirit of the team, as Arseniy encourages them to stick and work together. This allows us to rise above competition in Kazakhstan.
I feel a lot of responsibility coming from my role. Even though it isn't directly our business, we are responsible for it. We can see where we stand among competition and we have a great desire to meet our targets and win.
Building on Strong Relationships and Looking Forward
The way to lead on the Central Asian market is very specific and goes hand in hand with the local mentality. Arseniy and the team put a lot of stress on building strong, trustful, even friendly relationships with the customers, because "without good relationships, there is no good business". Among others, Arseniy experienced that these bonds ensure customer loyalty.
One of the ways in which the team builds trust with their customer base is by sharing their own analyses and market research.
We do these researches ourselves. Thanks to that, we can provide some expertise to our customers and become more trustful in their eyes. I also believe this will bring us a competitive advantage in the future.
Out of the Central Asian countries, Kazakhstan currently has about 85 % of all the production, stores, studios and DIY channels of PPG Tikkurila. This means that there is a lot of room for expansion. And this is where Arseniy sees a great opportunity.
"We're already developing a strategy to take our place on the local markets and expanding there is definitely our priority in 2023."