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Another refurbishment stage at Zamwell portfolio company is completed
In the summer of 2019, the refurbishing of the main buildings at Kayrakkum Carpets, Tajikistan’s oldest carpet producer, was finished. The renovation of the buildings was a part of a far-reaching project to streamline the enterprise’s business processes, increase the level of comfort, and bolster occupational safety.
The plant was built in the late 1950’s. That was just when Tajikistan’s growing light industry sector was most in need of a large tapestry manufacturer fitted out with the latest weaving equipment.
Over the course of several decades, Kayrakkum Carpets was considered to be the most cutting-edge enterprise in the republic: its technology infrastructure included carpet looms from Germany, tufting machinery from England, and other equipment from Switzerland and Holland. The good equipment and the professional team allowed the plant to maintain production capacity at the necessary level until that equipment started to deteriorate.
In the early 2010’s, the international investment company Zamwell, led by Zafar Azimov, started retooling and upgrading the plant, fitting it out with European weaving looms, a finishing line and a beaming machine.
The "Program to Develop Carpet Weaving in the Republic of Tajikistan from 2014 to 2020" gave new impetus to the industry's development in the country: in 2016, the volume of output exceeded the 2015 level by 33%. Domestic carpet production in 2017 surpassed the 2016 indicators by 66%.
Increasing workforce productivity and comfort for personnel
The plant kept buying new equipment every year. With the growth in output, the number of employees also grew, and one shift could involve as many as 100 workers.
The main rooms that lie along the route taken each day by the carpet weavers were built in the middle of the 1980’s. They were constructed on the location of administration buildings that were destroyed during the powerful earthquake in 1985. These buildings, in terms of their layout and size, were up to date for their time; however, by the 2010’s they could not support the necessary throughput capacity
During reconstruction, they changed the administration buildings in such a way that the lines disappeared from the security checkpoints, and it became more comfortable for people to move around the enterprise's buildings. Now, after entering the administration building, the carpet weavers can put on their uniform then get into the workshops through indoor rooms, without having to go outside.
The locker rooms themselves were expanded – now they can accommodate up to 400 people – and the workers on each shift are provided with individual lockers that can be locked with keys.
The sanitary conditions at the enterprise were improved through increasing the number of personal hygiene facilities by several times; they are now in the immediate vicinity of each workshop.
The shared shower facilities were replaced with a system designed for manufacturing companies that includes 24 shower areas with new fixtures, a central boiler hot water supply, and heated floors.
While the reconstruction of the buildings was taking place, the repair work on existing roads and paving new ones got under way. Part of those were made especially for a new extrusion workshop with the only production line in the country that manufactures specialized yarns, including Heat Set and BSF polypropylene yarns. During a business trip to the Sughd Region, the opening ceremony for the workshop was attended by the Founder of peace and national unity – Leader of the nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon in person.
In addition to the roads, they revitalized the plant's fleet of vehicles. Kayrakkum Carpets is located outside the city limits, and the plant always transferred its workers to their workplace. As production grew, the number of carpet weavers extended. That is why both investors and plant management made the decision to purchase new corporate buses.
Yet another important step to increase workforce productivity and comfort for those who work at Kayrakkum Carpets was opening up a dining hall. Now, workers can enjoy hot meals inside the plant, spend less time on breaks and simply do not harm their health by eating unhealthy food.
Special attention in the refurbishment project was given to providing first aid services to the workers at Kayrakkum Carpets. Administration Building No. 1 now accommodates a revamped first aid station.
Since the beginning of the investment project put in place by Zamwell, the plant's technology infrastructure has been augmented by high-technology equipment from Europe. The production capacities at Kayrakkum Carpets started to grow swiftly, and training personnel on how to use the new machine tools required more time and resources. During the process of refurbishment, the level of production technology continued to grow. Ultimately, the need arose for systematic retraining.
To do this, in the plant's new buildings they set up specially equipped classrooms where employees can learn about innovations in the carpet-weaving industry, and more experienced weavers share know-how with their younger colleagues.
Workplace for designers
The design studio where the patterns in Kayrakkum Carpets are born was equipped with furniture and an optimal lighting system.
In August and October 2019, training sessions were held in the design studio at Kayrakkum Carpets hosted by Amir Kolahduzian, an international expert in tapestry design who owns STUDIO NOV24, an Austrian studio that makes handmade tapestries.
The expert shared his knowledge on the principles of design, taught the workers how to create design concepts and decorations using the Inkscape editor, and helped the designers at Kayrakkum divide themselves into groups based on deep learning specialization. The carpet weavers learned about developing design solutions that take into account the latest trends, how technological modernization is being accomplished, and how to search for and correctly take advantage of opportunities to boost the competitiveness of the plant's goods. By the end of the project, the designers at Kayrakkum Carpets are expected to improve their skills and start to develop special collections with national ornaments.
Amir Kolahdouzian hosted the workshop sessions as part of a project called "Modernizing and Increasing the Competitiveness of the Textile, Sewing and Carpet-Weaving Sector in Tajikistan" by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). This project is implemented with financial support from the People's Republic of China, the Russian Federation, and in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies in the Republic of Tajikistan. The project's goal is to increase productivity and expand the scope of exports from enterprises in Tajikistan's textile, sewing, and carpet-weaving sector by upgrading production facilities, improving management potential and identifying opportunities to gain access to new export markets.
Besides the design studio, the offices themselves were transformed into spacious and open office rooms (the open-space concept). Now, employees work together in a common space, which facilitates information exchange and brief work-related discussions. For longer meetings, the buildings now have special meeting rooms with local and international conference call equipment.
While refurbishing the office rooms, all office equipment was updated. Fiber-optic Internet connection was set up from scratch, and now the plant has a new, durable IT infrastructure with high-speed data transmission. In addition, in the administration buildings the old temperature control system was completely replaced with a central heating and air conditioning system.
Kayrakkum Carpets OJSC is an important enterprise for both Gulistan and the entire Sughd Region. It is not only an employer for hundreds of Tajik carpet weavers, but a cultural heritage site. The mayor of Gulistan, who was an honored guest at the opening ceremony for the reconstructed administration buildings, mentioned how important the plant is, and that preserving the traditions of carpet-weaving is a top priority.