Rakhat: the Taste of Success
Many a Kazakh generation was raised enjoying sweets by Rakhat, a major home confectioner, which first produced sweets in 1942. Today the company offers a wide range of confectionery products – chocolate, candies, chocolate boxes, caramel, toffees, sweet drops, waffles, cookies, marmalade, marshmallow and semi-finished products for the food industry – a total of 200 items. Rakhat was the first company in Kazakhstan to have a full chocolate production chain, from the processing of cocoa beans to the production of finished and partially-finished sweets. Unmatched in Central Asia, high-capacity equipment makes the production of traditional chocolate bars and European-standard chocolates with raisins, nuts, rice and aerated chocolate easy.
Today Rakhat is a modern industrial company with two processing sites: a plant in Almaty and a branch in Shymkent that complements the Almaty facilities. Over more than 60 years of its history, the company's premises have been reconstructed quite a few times; they have seen the construction of new production and administrative buildings, the reconstruction of workshops and infrastructure and the upgrading and expansion of their equipment.
Thanks to its hardworking, professional staff, the company has survived the uneasy transition period and has been steadily increasing sales since 1995. Presently, Rakhat has a 21% share in the local confectionery market. Over the past five years, its sales have grown by an average of 15-20% per year. Rakhat expects this year to be propitious too, with the sales of more than 50,000 tonnes.
Rakhat’s keys to success under tough competitive conditions are high quality and exquisite taste of sweets. The stability of the quality – truly, Rakhat's specialty – and environmental soundness were possible because of a special, comprehensive management system. The latter covers all production phases from raw materials to ready products, including storage conditions and distribution.
Deeply concerned about customers' health, Rakhat applies latest developments and takes account of recommendations by domestic and foreign health experts, nutritionists and ecologists. For instance, many of its recipes include pectins that are indispensable for cleaning human body from heavy metals. In some products sugar is replaced with glucose syrup to make them healthier and lighter for their customers' metabolism. Rakhat is the only confectioner in Kazakhstan that produces sugar-free diabetic sweets.
The company's long-term strategy targets include upgrading its production facilities and actively investing in development. Over the past three years, all the production facilities of the parent company have been reconstructed completely or partially. This has helped to boost production capacity and improve working conditions. Processing equipment has been upgraded too (new processing lines were purchased and existing ones were reconstructed).
A cost-saving model of heating utilities and processing heat supply functions in Rakhat; the system of refrigeration supply also has been improved. This ensures workshop work rhythm, allows the support of essential processing parameters and the application of up-to-the-edge technology. As a result, the plant's production capacity has increased by around 1.5 times. The company's own logistics complex is being created; it will support Rakhat's growing production.
Using information to increase corporate management efficiency is yet another field where the company is applying new technology. Rakhat is currently introducing a modern, ERP-based automated control system. Staff training is also considered important, including skill-enhancement training for top and middle managers.
The company focuses on providing better social benefits for its employees. Its staff of over 2,000 (or 2,500 when including staff of subsidiary companies) enjoy good working conditions, medical services and adequate salaries. Most of the employees at Rakhat are women, so the company pays particular attention to health, occupational safety, the complexity of the work, and the work-rest schedule. The Rakhat management believes that this level of relations between employer and employees is the key to an enterprise's success.
The Rakhat team confidently faces the future and makes new plans. For instance, the company intends to expand production in Almaty by launching new processing sites. This will allow increased production of popular sweets and the introduction of new, European-standard confectionery. The facility in Shymkent that focuses on caramel, cookies, waffles and oriental sweets also has good potential for growth.
Rakhat’s sweets are praised by consumers and counterparts alike. The company is a regular participant in local and international exhibitions and contests; its products have received many awards including Choice of the Year, Pride of Kazakhstan, and Best Products in Kazakhstan. The government-run contest Businessman of Kazakhstan 2003 awarded the company and its CEO with a prize for high quality in the food companies' category. Confectionery by Rakhat is regularly represented at large international events: the Urumqi Fair (China) and food expos in Uzbekistan, Russia and other countries.
The cornerstone of the company’s marketing philosophy is to make the products available for consumers. To this end, the company established a broad trade and distribution network including wholesale and retail stores, regional subsidiary companies and trade offices in most of the country’s regions. In addition to saturating the internal market, Rakhat contemplates winning niches in neighbouring markets: the company has already launched operations in Central Asia.
Loyal to its slogan "Life Tastes Better with Us!", the company makes every effort to ensure the customers enjoy the sweets and are truly satisfied with the special unique taste and quality of the Rakhat brands.
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