SOLUTIONS TO WORK ON

Kazakhstan 2014 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Olga Voronova, Director of V-Time Object Office, on the philosophy of the company, client demands, and her overview of the office market.

Olga Voronova
BIOGRAPHY
Olga Voronova has more than 15 years of experience working for various international companies in different managerial positions. She has an Engineering Degree, MBA, and graduated in 2006 as a Lawyer with honors. She launched the Bene brand locally in 2007, and followed this business by establishing V-Time Object Office in 2011.

How has V-Time Object Office developed since it was founded?

We began operations in 2007 as a sales office of Bene AG. At that time, construction was booming in Kazakhstan. Bene AG, a celebrated worldwide producer of office interiors, looked at the Kazakhstani market and decided that an office should be opened on the ground. I was working for the Baker & McKenzie law firm at the time, and became a Bene client. I was highly impressed with Bene's products when I saw the catalogues, visited the factory, and perused the showroom in Vienna. I realized that the firm had a completely different attitude to office space, the likes of which I hadn't seen before. It was for that reason that I took the decision to accept Bene's job offer and start the Bene business in Kazakhstan. I never was a sales professional, and there were three of us when we got the ball rolling in 2007. We really got going in 2008, during the crisis. We didn't have any experience in the field, or even a showroom, and sold solely on the strength of our emotions and the high level of excitement about Bene products. We were also selling some of the most expensive products on the market. Despite these challenges, we doubled our turnover each year and eventually opened up a showroom in the center of Almaty in 2012. In 2013, we were involved in some large-scale projects, including the new Kaspi Bank office building. Not everyone would undertake such complicated project work. At the beginning of 2013, due to Bene's organizational changes, we were faced with the choice of becoming an independent dealer, and we accepted this new challenge on February 1, 2013.

What are your key products and services?

We offer a complete package of products and services for office interiors, and our performance in 2013 confirms that we are on the right track. Our mission is to bring to Kazakhstan an understanding that an office is a motivational tool, and that smart solutions for an office space can improve business processes, save money, and create a positive emotional atmosphere in the office. We work with our clients on a complete turnkey basis. We begin by getting an idea of the client's business processes. Following this, we choose from among thousands of technical options that Bene offers. Then, together with the client, we create a unique design, which underlines the client's corporate style and culture. We work hard from beginning until the end, designing proper layouts, producing the furniture, and then overseeing delivery and installation. Clients appreciate the process because we offer them exactly what they need. Over the past year, we have also noticed a growing number of SMEs approaching us. They no longer consider the cost in the same way, but appreciate the value that our products can bring to their businesses.

How are attitudes to office space changing in a practical sense?

In the past, little consideration was given to the practical aspects of an office. Today, however, space is highly considered. Offices require a range of areas that support different activities. In one area, for example, you may concentrate on work, whereas in another people need to be able to communicate. A third area can then be dedicated to client presentations. In short, it is important to appreciate the office as a unified organism.

What are the strengths and challenges of working in the Kazakhstani market?

The main challenge is to change minds. Our clients come to us with ideas, and leave with completely new fresh ones. We are also working to educate the sector, as clients do not always fully grasp their requirements.