Most people probably hope to celebrate their birthday in a memorable way. This mid-April is definitely exceptional – in the face of a pandemic, we celebrated the 29th birthday of the KOPA printing house. While quarantine restrictions prevented the entire team from gathering and blowing out birthday cake candles live, a joyful mood flew from one electronic inbox to another.
Birthdays often provide an opportunity to look back and appreciate the past year, especially when the thirties are knocking on the door. Therefore, we invited Žaneta Mudėnienė, Head of CSR, and Saulius Mudėnas, the Director, to share their thoughts on the establishment of the printing house and what the future has in store.
When you created the company, did you envisage it as it is today?
Ž.M. Probably not. There were three of us. We, like many other active people, were motivated by the conditions of freedom and the opportunity to create independent jobs and choose our desired way of doing business. The start was very difficult – we had no knowledge or experience, and the sources of information were limited. Still, that didn’t stop the emergence of business ideas and visions, and hard and consistent work helped the company to grow.
Over 29 years there would be highs and lows. What helps to overcome difficulties?
S.M. A Lithuanian proverb says, “A fish starts rotting from the head”, so the corollary of this would be that the success of a company depends on its managers. KOPA has always had a good management team, which has managed to make the right decisions at important moments.
Which moments stand out the most when looking at the 29-year life of the company?
Ž.M. Maybe it will sound strange, but to me personally, the economic crises that affected the company (the 2009 crisis and the one caused by the coronavirus pandemic). Such crises mostly sow fear and uncertainty about the future, but they also open the door to new opportunities. This is a time when a company’s resilience is tested and people’s true values are revealed.
What helps maintain unadulterated inspiration?
Ž.M. The constant changes and the challenges that come with them are a very strong driving force.
What do you think matures the company the most?
S.M. Values that are evidenced by deeds and actions.
What aspirations or dreams shine most brightly when looking to the future?
Ž.M. It must be acknowledged that in 29 years we have grown, strengthened and caught up with competitors in the West who had incomparably better starting conditions. I have no doubt that with the great company team we have, we will surpass them.
What kind of company do you see in the future and what would you wish for the coming year?
S. M. Of course, I want our company to be a well-known, customer-appreciated Northern European printing house. My wish would be that we catch up on what will be lost during the crisis.
We also have a beautiful tradition for a birthday – to honour the employees who have been travelling side by side with the KOPA printing house for ten years already. This year, project managers who clocked up ten years with our company are Ramūnas Bridikis, Laurynas Aukštuolis and Mindaugas Šveikauskas. It is gratifying that the experience gained over a decade not only improves personalities, but also cultivates professionals, who become one of the most important parts of the company’s propulsion engines, without which we would not achieve our goals and be appreciated.
It is thanks to the professional team that we can enjoy the awards we earned last year. In 2019, Kaunas District Municipality expressed its appreciation to the KOPA printing house for our high organisational culture. We were recognised in the Lithuanian Printing Industry Awards for the greatest export growth and technological solutions. In a book art competition, M. Kairaitienė was recognised for elegant and meaningful minimalism in the book Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis: Correspondence 1892-1906. Perhaps the most prominent award went to the art album Memorabilia, which was printed on our presses and is now marked with the prestigious Red Dot: Best of the Best award.
The occasion of this anniversary allows us to stop for a minute, evaluate the past year and set new goals. So as we blow out the candles on the virtual birthday cake, we express the hope that we will overcome the crisis and that we will continue to set ambitious goals, because that is the only way we will move forward. We look forward to meeting our thirtieth anniversary even stronger, more professional and full of enduring inspiration.