If You Know How to Do Something,
Just Do It...
Mr. Květoslav Bašista, the owner of the engineering company BAŠISTA s.r.o., took us through his own
personal journey from the initial first steps of an employee setting out after the Velvet Revolution
trying to start his own business.
How did it all start? Tell us about your background
and the activities that your company is involved in.
After the Velvet Revolution, I witnessed the collapse
of the engineering company that I worked for because
the management was unable to maintain it. And so,
I said to myself, “If you know how to do something, try
and do it.” During the year of 1991, there was a chance
for everyone, including myself and that chance was
something that I believed in. I decided that I was going
to leave the company and start doing what I knew how
to do best. There were many opportunities available at
that time, for example, ‘let’s go to Germany and make
some money, and when we come back we can start
something’. However, I knew that in returning, it might
be a totally different situation here.
The following day, a customer
came all the way from the Netherlands
wearing his rubber boots and started
to look for his parts and then to clean
and preserve them. This action was
a big encouragement for me to continue
overcoming all of the obstacles that were
still ahead of us.
In the beginning, there were just the three of us, but
I soon realized that not everyone has the drive like I did.
A motto that I go by is : “If you understand yourself,
you can be alone.” In the beginning, I started with cam
machines. However, the quality and the quantity of
the production was poor and the orientation towards
Germany was demanding. I decided to go to Germany
myself, and I went “the Czech way”, with only some
bread, salami and water in my bag. I visited an iron
processing company, and the way it smelled inside
was a pleasant smell for me. I didn’t speak German
but instead, I showed them what I could do and gave
them an offer. Within a week, I had my first orders.
I got additional contacts from other companies and
we had enough work and we were able to confirm
orders for every quarter. However, it so happened
that the order didn’t come. So this time, with a keg of
beer and a bottle of slivovitz, I returned to Germany
again where I was informed that the company was
losing money on me and that they had cheaper supply
options from China. Fortunately, in the end they were
12 ǀ POSITIV 2/2023
fair and offered me a new order. I knew that I now
had a quarter of a year to rethink how I was going to
get it done. I came to the conclusion that simple, lowmaintenance series won’t hold up in Europe, so I started
to focus on very challenging and precise, high value
production. We succeeded and had contracts with
companies from Denmark, Netherlands and Germany,
introducing CNC machines along the way, which took
our company down a new path. This current customer
rates us as their biggest and best supplier. We have
worked with much effort and diligence, learning that it
is far more difficult to keep that positive rating, rather
than just getting it.
Today, we operate 40 % of locksmith work and 40 % of
machining. We have also added the assembly of finished
machines. We have achieved what we set out to do. It
has been two years of hard work, but our determination
has earned a lot of trust with our main customer.
Currently, our primary objective is to attract and recruit
young talent who can effectively manage the integration
of digitalisation into our production process.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have
encountered? Have you ever experienced moments
when you wanted to give up?
During my experience, I have encountered two
big obstacles. The first significant challenge was
during the 1997 flood when our plant was severely
affected. I watched the water rise for a few days, and
upon returning to the plant, I was met with broken
gates and machines that were covered in mud and
leaves. However, what amazed me the most was
the immediate response of our employees. They
asked when they should come to clean up and get
back to work. Their resilience and dedication gave me
a renewed sense of purpose. We had a tremendous
amount of work ahead of us, including cleaning
and repairing 83 engines. I am happy that we were
successful and restored them to working condition
again. The following day, a customer came all the
way from the Netherlands wearing his rubber boots
and started to look for his parts and then to clean and
preserve them. This action was a big encouragement
for me to continue overcoming all of the obstacles
that were still ahead of us.
The second challenge was when we made the decision
to switch and change to a technology. We only had
a few hours to do the switch and to ask ourselves