Safely Upwards With ALVE
There is an inconspicuous company, at first sight, called ALVE spol. s r.o in the small town of
Veřovice under the Beskid mountains. However, it is, in fact, a very important company and their
products travel all around Europe. We talked about them and many other things with company
CEO, Mrs Mervaldová.
How did you get into the position of
CEO of ALVE? The company focuses on
manufacturing aluminium ladders and
steps. Were you more of a ‘technical type’
as a child?
No, I am an economist and a banker.
I started at ALVE in the position of financial
director. After about two years, the owners
of the company, who had been managing
the company themselves, were looking
for new management. I guess they saw
some potential in me and offered me the
position. Considering the fact that I was
a sort of exception in a traditionally male
world, I took it as a challenge. And I have
been here for twelve years.
Can you introduce us to ALVE? What
do you focus on, what products do you
ALVE has been here since 1992, so next
year it will be our thirtieth birthday. It
is a pure Czech company with Czech
capital; there is no foreign property. We
are proud to be a Czech company with
Czech funding and Czech banks.
The range of products has been pretty
much stable from the beginning - it is the
aluminium programme: ladders, steps,
scaffolding, assembly platforms and
various accessories to these products. In
2016, we also added a special construction
division to the portfolio, that is, tailored
products for companies across the whole
Do you have an established collaboration
with any logistics company?
ALVE also has two subsidiaries, in Slovakia
and Romania. The Romanian company
delivers mostly to the Romanian market
and neighbouring territories. In Slovakia we
have a branch for the Slovakian market. In
the Czech Republic we have the registered
office and the management of the whole
group. We manage all exports to Western,
Central and partly also Eastern Europe from
You said that you target companies
mainly with special construction. The
second part of the company produces
mainly ladders that you distribute via
20 ǀ POSITIV 2/2021
sellers and hobby markets. Are you
expanding this network or is it sufficient?
The territory in the Czech Republic is very
small. Therefore, our goal for the Czech
Republic is to hold the first position among
traditional Czech producers, because we
all should be supporting Czech products.
We also prefer Czech suppliers. Our goal is
to maintain the market.
It is great that a company from such
a small town is so successful worldwide.
What is your driving force? What do you
consider to be the basis for success?
A stable ownership portfolio, which has had
the same strategy for twenty years. These
people said in the beginning that they want
to develop the company, to keep earned
money in the company for its continued
development. And we haven’t changed this
direction in the past twenty years, which is
very important, in my opinion.
It is both about the employees and the
owners; some of the owners are also
employees at the same time: they tend to
the company, monitor development, and
are stated as employees in the hierarchy.
You can communicate the strategy much
better this way; people know what they
should be doing.
What are you proud of as CEO? What
went really well for you recently?
I work in the men’s world. I don’t know
any other European ladder manufacturer
managed by a woman. Women mostly end
up in the roles of financial directors, HR
directors, etc. It is not standard to reach the
highest level. It may be because of the fact
that women are more aware of the risks, we
are not such shooters.
Me and the production manager are the
only two women in the team of ten people
and that is a good thing. All-male or allfemale teams never work. We are more
emotional and rational in some things,
men are more keen to take the risks. And
you need both sides. I struggled with it
a lot during the first years. Now I got used
to it and I must say it has some benefits.
Women’s thinking is different from the
men’s. Women can look at the same
problem and bring another point of view.
But most of all I am lucky to have colleagues
who have been here for a long time, in
some cases since the establishment of
the company. These people identify with
the company and are still enjoying it. This
is one of the reasons why ALVE lasted so
long: the people who joined in the 90s and