Krebe Tippo is based near Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city. The region has a long tradition of strong engineering skills that have been used in manufacturing equipment for
heavy-duty industries including transport and construction. Those industries have left now but the engineering skills are still available.

Modern European
Slovenia is now a modern European country. It is a very different place from the other countries of the former Yugoslavia, says Mojca Krepek, Krebe Tippo’s CEO.
In part this difference comes from its EU membership. It joined in 2004 and adopted the Euro in 2007. Slovenia is also differentiated by its legacy of German engineering excellence, which is still upheld.
Yet Krepek believes that the attractions and benefits that the country can offer do not have the recognition they deserve. It is a beautiful country with many places of interest for the tourist that have yet to be discovered.
Krepek joined her father’s company in 1998 and after he died in 2001 was elected CEO. Since then she has run the company with her mother.
The company has 60 employees across production and administration areas.
Krebe Tippo produces open-pocket washers from 11 – 55kg, barrier washers from 16 – 200kg and dryers from 11 – 50kg.
It has recently extended the choice within these ranges, introducing a 17kg open-pocket washer and a 26kg barrier washer.
Historically, the company that eventually became Krebe Tippo had other brands but the focus is now firmly on the Krebe Tippo name and with this it serves a full range of market sectors including commercial businesses such as launderettes, OPLs in apartment blocks, sports centres, the healthcare sector, including nursing homes and hospitals, and hotels and hospitality.
All equipment reflects both the tradition of engineering skills and the company’s reputation for producing machines that are reliable and durable but Krebe Tippo has much more to offer the international market.
Krepek says:"We are firmly committed to innovation and to technology that helps to conserve the environment as well as helping to reduce customers’ operational costs.
"We try to help workers get as much as they can from their machines."
To give an example of its innovation, the company has developed hygienic monitoring software that is available as an option.
This continuously records what is happening in the machine and makes it easier to operate. It provides a data management system that records detergent and resource consumptions and allows hospitals and healthcare businesses to obtain the necessary validation of their processes.
Both barrier washers and open-pocket washer-extractors
include automatic weighing systems with software that adjusts the consumption of water, energy and detergent to suit individual loads.

Focus on green technology
Project engineer Robert DrevenÅ¡ek is in charge of research and development and like Krepek he stresses the importance not only of expanding the range but of using green technology and of the company’s continuous search for innovation.
So some machines will include water recycling systems and machines have built-in components that allow the various parameters to adjust to save energy while the machine is in operation.
In developing innovative features for its machines, Krebe Tippo’s location is a great advantage as it has access to the University Clinical Centre of Maribor for use as a test site.
The main focus now is on raising the company’s profile, making sure that the Krebe Tippo brand becomes widely recognised. At present the name is not well known and so competitive pricing is also an attraction. However, the company’s machines are not necessarily the cheapest and it is on quality and innovation that the main strategy
is based.
Krepek’s aim is to get her company recognised as part of the main European market and ensure that its quality is seen to be on a par with that of the better known European brands. Again she refers to the engineering skills available and says that offering a better quality of production than the competition is an essential part of the strategy.

Investing in skills
We invest in obtaining and retaining the best skills says Krepek.
That is not always easy. Slovenia has higher taxes than neighbouring Austria and that has attracted workers to seek employment across the border but now Slovenians that work in Austria must pay a tax surcharge so that attraction is lessening a little.
As the only Slovenian manufacturer of laundry equipment, Krebe Tippo dominates the home market with a 90% share.
So it is in the international market that the prospects for growth lie and 85% of production goes to export.
Naturally the company is strong in the former Yugoslavia, where it has a distributor but it also has distributors and sells to Albania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. In continental Europe its distributor network includes Austria, Germany, Belgium, Scandinavia, France, Portugal and Italy.
Beyond Europe, Krebe Tippo sells both to the Middle East and to Thailand, again through distributors. The company would like to sell to other Asian countries by building a network of distributors and also to expand in the Middle East. Russia is another market that is seen to have potential.

Adapting to different markets
Krepek says that the company is well aware of the requirements of the different markets it serves. For example, in Portugal, the self-service sector is particularly important, while in France and Germany, small capacity barrier machines are gradually replacing traditional open-pocket styles in some applications.
Overall the company strategy is one of being ready to adapt its service to suit sectors that are particularly strong in an existing or potential market and finding a product niche that it can fill.
Krepek says that any country that has a need for high quality reliable machines could find a ready supplier in Krebe Tippo.