Born in 1968 and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden, Peter Jocic took over at Alde on 1st January 2021. He succeeded Tomas Haglund, who held the post for 14 years before moving to pastures new.
Aboutcamp BtoB caught up with Jocic in his office at the company’s HQ in Färlöv, Sweden
Words Terry Owen
For Alde, Jocic is the right man at the right time. His knowledge of advanced heating and cooling systems looks set to keep Alde at the forefront of RV comfort systems for many years to come.
Aboutcamp BtoB: Please tell us about your career to date.
Peter Jocic: My education focussed on technical subjects and, in particular, manufacturing. I gained a BSc in engineering and an MSc in production management before taking my first job, which was working for a company that manufactured wooden toys. From there I worked for a packaging manufacturer serving the pharmaceutical industry, before joining Swedish HVAC specialist NIBE, where I spent the last 20 years.
I started as a production manager and then moved to industrial engineering, doing factory layouts. Subsequently I progressed to the supply chain, before becoming product manager. There I was responsible for setting the product portfolio, which included water heaters, boilers, heat pumps – all the kit that heats and cools houses. I held that position for nine years before coming to Alde.
Aboutcamp BtoB: What attracted you to Alde?
Peter Jocic: There were two things. Firstly, Alde’s size and agility. To me NIBE had become a slow giant, burdened with ever more administration. Of course, the situation was not helped by the huge amount of regulation within the building industry. I like to be able to get on and do things, then see results soon afterwards. The second attraction was the people here at Alde, they have the agility and esteem I really like.
Aboutcamp BtoB: What qualities do you think you bring to Alde?
Peter Jocic: I’m an innovative, enthusiastic kind of guy with 20 years’ manufacturing experience in heaters. I have a lot of experience in the HVAC business in terms of efficient heating and cooling. I think the RV business can benefit from that.
Aboutcamp BtoB: What gets you out of bed in a morning?
Peter Jocic: I could say it’s the cat and horses that want to be fed but, joking aside, I always know what I want to achieve during the day, and that’s what wakes me up in a morning. I have a coffee in the kitchen (with the cat!) and plan out the day from there.
Aboutcamp BtoB: Which one word describes you best?
Peter Jocic: I think it would be ‘project’. My life is a project and I’m a project. I always have something to do – my wife complains about that! If I’m allowed more than one word, I would choose the last two lines of a poem by Swedish poet Karin Boye:
‘Move on, move on! The new day dawns ahead.
Endless is our marvellous adventure.’
Aboutcamp BtoB: What do you see as Alde’s mission statement?
Peter Jocic: Basically, it’s to provide superior comfort for our end users – at least as good as being at home, if not better.
Aboutcamp BtoB: How do you see our industry developing over the next few years and how will Alde need to change to meet the challenges ahead?
Peter Jocic: We see the market moving to smaller vehicles, particularly camper vans. That means we need to lower the entry barrier of installing an Alde system. Beyond that we need to broaden our offering somewhat to reflect changes in the market and energy sources. There are various routes we could follow and we’re looking carefully at them all. Clearly, I can’t say much right now but, as time goes on, you can expect to see a series of changes that will improve the performance and efficiency of our offering.
Aboutcamp BtoB: Do you think we’ll see a diesel fuelled Alde system?
Peter Jocic: Yes, this is something we’re looking at, and something where our synergy with Truma is a big help, as they already have experience with a diesel product.
Aboutcamp BtoB: You have a lot of experience with renewable energy and heat pumps – do you see any of this technology being adopted by Alde?
Peter Jocic: Absolutely, I believe there is room to further improve the efficiency of the existing product using standard technology. Beyond that we could see multi-functional heat pump systems moving into the RV arena.
Aboutcamp BtoB: Wouldn’t this add a lot of weight to the system, limiting its usefulness?
Peter Jocic: That’s a good question but if you look at the growing market of electrical vehicles there are new compressors coming along with remarkable outputs for their size and weight.
Aboutcamp BtoB: How has the Covid 19 pandemic affected Alde’s sales and production?
Peter Jocic: In the spring of 2020 we had to reduce production and put some 60% of staff onto a short-term leave basis. That ended in August when we got back to normal working. Since then, we’ve pretty much made up for lost time, with Q1, 2021 being an all-time high for Alde – a great way to start a new job!
Overall, I think the pandemic has had a positive effect on our industry with so many people looking to holiday in their own country and choosing an RV as the best way to do so. As a result, there are now long waiting times to be able to purchase an RV.
Aboutcamp BtoB: Is it easy to recruit and retain good staff in Färlöv?
Peter Jocic: Production staff are not a problem. There are many skilled people available. Indeed, some are too skilled for some of the jobs we have. Engineering staff are a bit more of a problem as Färlöv is away from the larger cities such as Malmo, Gothenburg and Stockholm where the universities are. However, in general, I would say we can find people.
Aboutcamp BtoB: What is Alde doing to reduce its carbon footprint?
Peter Jocic: We are moving to hybrid or electric company cars and have bought seven heat pumps for the factory, instead of using oil.
Our products are already quite energy efficient but we will continue to improve and reduce weight as technology allows, as one example we have introduced 16 mm pipe system. Further on we want to be able to serve the emerging market for all-electric RV’s.
Aboutcamp BtoB: What are your goals for Alde?
Peter Jocic: The main one is to achieve sustainable growth through improved market penetration. We’re looking particularly at the US and central Europe. In the latter market our system tends to be reserved for the larger ‘liner’ type of RV’s. We need to find more ways of encouraging our OEM’s and dealers to promote the enhanced comfort of the Alde system. Of course, we still want to keep a good position in our traditional strongholds of the UK and Scandinavia.
Aboutcamp BtoB: How do you see the long-term future for Alde?
Peter Jocic: The future is very bright, not just because of technology improvements in the pipeline, but because the Alde system might also be ideal for other applications and market segments that we are validating right now.
Aboutcamp BtoB: Alde is part of the Truma Group – what synergies and benefits do you get from that?
Peter Jocic: The first benefit is that we have a long-term stable owner who knows the business. Compared to being owned by a venture capitalist this is a major advantage. Then we have the technical co-operation which saves on R&D costs and gives synergies of scale. Also, in some areas, such as Sweden and the US, we share the distribution setup for cost and practical reasons.
Aboutcamp BtoB: How do you see the industry in 5 to 10 years from now? Do you think we’ll still have all the main players?
Peter Jocic: There is definitely a consolidation going on so I expect to see more change. We’ve enjoyed serving the smaller players and serving them well. We look forward to doing so with new organisations as they emerge.
Aboutcamp BtoB: What has been your most satisfying moment in business? And your least?
Peter Jocic: That’s a difficult question but I would say I’ve had the most satisfaction when setting up and commissioning new factory production lines. To see 40 heaters per hour coming off the end of a line is a very rewarding result. The least satisfying is being involved in endless discussions, analyses and administration tasks instead of getting on and doing something.
Aboutcamp BtoB: What is your family status and what are your hobbies and interests?
Peter Jocic: I’ve been married to an Austrian lady for 24 years and have three daughters, two of whom are at university, with one still at home. We live on a small farm so most of my spare time is spent working as a farm hand for the ladies. I also have a passion for sailing boats and boat building. The deal with the farm was that the ladies got the stables and I got a shed and workshop for my boats.