The founders of Romanian entrepreneurial business hand over the baton. The generation of those with the Internet in their pocket takes it over. They travelled. They studied. They have returned and want to take the company further. The mission of the founders was “to do better”. The mission of the second generation is to build a better world.

Beyond generational differences, continuity seems to be the common denominator. What matters is the development of new products and services relevant to the market, customer and employee focus, investment plans and people able to take the business story further.

Grafex was born as a result of the identification of an acute need for quality sealing products and services on the Romanian market, a segment of the industry that was under-exploited in the mid-1990s. The experience of the founders in materials science and the design of equipment in the field of oil and gas played an important role in the decision taken in 1996 to become a manufacturer of gaskets and other sealing materials.

Experience and professional dedication

The field of seals is of the utmost importance in relation to the role that a gasket, for example, plays in industrial equipment. Throughout the manufacturing process Grafex uses materials that are 100% environmentally friendly: expanded graphite, PTFE polymers, mineral fibers, synthetic, organic.

The sustainability policy implemented by the company has as main directions the reduction of the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere, as well as the observance of the strictest regulations in the field of environmental protection.

Thus, customers benefit from sealing products certified by national and international bodies, thus putting their shoulder to the effort to improve air quality and the use of environmentally friendly resources and materials.

Family business contributes to the development of the global economy, having the largest contribution to global GDP and a significant impact on the labor market.

Grafex is a family business that has evolved year after year. Initially, the team numbered three people in 1996 and in 2021 reached more than 60 employees. The main feature of the team is the high degree of specialization in the field of activity – seals.

Strategic investments for the future

The most recent investments made by the company are represented by the expansion of the production capacity, which materialized through the construction of a new production hall and the purchase of its related equipment. The quality of the manufactured products and the prompt and professional technical support have made Grafex become the main supplier for refineries in Romania, but also for large companies internationally.

The development strategy for the next period of time includes three important elements:

  1. Consolidation of the leading position on the Romanian seals market.
  2. Increasing the number of foreign customers and exporting to foreign markets.
  3. Development of new products and services to meet customers.

The results of a study conducted by a global consulting company show that among the most important challenges of family business owners during this period are innovation (66%), access to the workforce with the skills and qualifications necessary for business development (60%) and digitization (44%).

For 80% of respondents, digitalisation, innovation and technology are significant challenges for their businesses. Digital change in the case of family businesses means levels of concern that exceed the average and that vary from the emergence of new competitors, to the vulnerability of cyber security.

The same study shows that 69% of respondents say they expect and even encourage the next generation of business leaders – including family members – to gain experience and develop skills and qualifications outside the family business to keep up with innovation.

In conclusion

Family business leaders face a multitude of challenges, but succession from one generation to the next is perhaps an essential one. Beyond the need for family businesses to digitize and diversify their investment portfolio, the requirement to define their success from a longevity perspective is a priority. That’s why family businesses focus on plans for sustainability, innovation, and the future of future generations in the long run.