(Exclusive interview).- Tjasa Luin Peric, Chief Executive Officer of Alfastreet, talked with Focus Gaming News about her experience in the company and its future plans.
Focus Gaming News directors visited Alfastreet’s offices in Sežana, Slovenia, and talked in an exclusive interview with the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Tjasa Luin Peric, about his experience in the last 14 years in the company, the feedback from the public and Alfastreet’s upcoming plans.
How long have you been in this industry? How was your beginning at Alfastreet?
I would say it was really interesting how I joined the company. They were looking for more people and in February 2004 I applied for the Assistant Director position and I had an interview. I was looking for a challenge in my life because I’m very ambitious and it was one of the few companies that told me that I would have good opportunities. They told me: “If you are good you can do something that you will like until you work in the field that you really want to.” They called me back to tell me I got the position and I joined the company in 2004.
I worked in this position as both General Manager and CEO for two years and in 2006 I was asked to take over the CEO position. But at that time I was quite young and I lacked all the confidence necessary to run such a company so I proposed to help them and let the board decide if it was prepared for the new mission.
I occupied that role until 2010, when they offered me the official CEO position. At that time I was feeling really confident, I knew a lot more things about the company, the business itself. And that’s how the journey began.
You’ve been in the company for 14 years and next year Alfastreet will celebrate its 25th Anniversary. How have things changed since 2004 in the gaming industry?
The business in the last years has changed a lot. When I joined the company, most of the markets were not regulated so it was a completely different approach to the clients. But in the last ten years it has improved a lot: most of the markets are now regulated, you know exactly what you have to do, we have certificates, we are obtaining licenses and operators also adopt to new regulations.
But on the other hand, and from our point of view, we could say that business is a little bit more difficult because you need more workforce, you have more expenses for the certificates and everything. Nevertheless, there are also more benefits because everything is regulated, you know you’re doing the right products, fit to each market.
I could also say that we’re happy about how the industry has developed in the last fifteen years. It is certainly different on how the markets are developing through the years because I think that all the companies suffered the 2008/9 crisis -for us it was the same too-. We had a huge growth in 2007 and when the crisis arrived, the revenue declined. This situation was was also very challenging for me as I was facing for the first time a significant drop, and along with a lot of people we had to reorganise the company itself. It was a lot of work for the management team and myself but in the end it was a big challenge on how to make a successful and healthy company during those years.
In the last ten years gaming business has improved a lot: most of the markets are now regulated, you know exactly what you have to do, we have certificates, we are obtaining licenses and operators also adopt to new regulations.
You said that on 2008/9 Alfastreet faced the crisis with great success. Now the company is growing and you recently said that you’re hiring more people. What are the next plans for Alfastreet and in which positions are you currently trying to fill?
As I said before, the last years have been really good for us and we’re going through a really big growth. For this reason, we have to increase not only the number of employees but also restructure the company, especially the number of employees because it has drastically grown in the production and development departments. We’re also taking new staff in the sales department as we noticed that the demand for our products is really big and we want to be around to support our clients or potential ones. We’re working hard on the “customer service” area, we have 24/7 support and we have people that can answer immediately via email or phone. I believe that good service nowadays is crucial because people have to know that they can trust the company and its products. Therefore, it is very important for us to have a good growth and more important to keep it steady for the future.
We’ve visited the current factory and the original one that is now used to make the wooden parts of your machines. How is the feedback from the public regarding the quality of the products?
All our products are completely customised so our clients can choose between different equipments, colors, statistics and many other things. We try to be as flexible as we can and I think it’s the right formula to succeed. We also try to collect as much information for every single operator and we build the machines that will fit their needs and certifications.
The quality or our products is certainly recognised on a worldwide level. We have great control of our suppliers, we know all of them and we know what they’re doing. Some of the components of our machines are produced by one of our companies where we make all the wooden and upholstered parts, etc. That’s why the high standard is always the first and most important thing when we think about the quality of the product.
Therefore, it is very important for us to have a good growth and more important to keep it steady for the future.
G2E Las Vegas is coming soon and Alfastreet will surely take the advantage of being there. Will you showcase new products?
Alfastreet always wants to surprise its customers and visitors and G2E Las Vegas will be a great opportunity to show again what we are capable to do. This part of the year is also very intense on the development side: we’re preparing new graphics, new jackpots and new cabinets, so there will be a lot to see at G2E.
We changed the design of the stand to make sure that Alfastreet will be recognisable from a far as well and we promise that the presented novelties will be a great addition to our current offer.
As we’ve already talked about it, next year Alfastreet will celebrate its 25th anniversary and you’ve been in the company for the last fourteen. What is your balance of all these years? Are you considering something special to celebrate next year?
The beginning of Alfastreet was quite difficult, mainly because the owner developed the first roulettes practically from scratch and he wanted to make something different. The products were performing so well that the demand was increasing so drastically, that it was difficult to keep up with the requests and fulfill them in time.
For being a small company in Slovenia with only 20 employees in the first few years, the numbers were really good. I believe the company did a great job from the very beginning and that is why we currently have such success. I must also admit that our distribution network it’s very important and that our distributors help make our company so recognisable and successful. They really do a great job for Alfastreet and we have all their support every time we need it.
Talking about our 25th anniversary, we can use it as an excuse to celebrate but also a great occasion to present the novelties that will set trends for a “new era” of products in the ETG industry.
Of course we’re preparing some surprises but unfortunately I can’t talk about them now as they are “top secret”. We certainly want to surprise our clients in the future and I’m pretty sure next year we’ll be a special one for Alfastreet.
And because of these reasons, we started the preparations months ago and, again, I’m pretty sure that it will be a great presentation of new products as well as the celebration and probably -just probably- it could start in ICE 2019.
Do you want to add something else?
I would say that I’m very pleased and satisfied to manage a company like this one where we have great people, a modern working environment and positive thinking. I always say -when we have interviews to potential new employees- that we probably spend more time here than with our families, so everyone should feel welcome here. That’s why I want the people that work for us to be happy and comfortable, because this is the only way they can help and contribute their best to achieve the company’s goals.
Thank you Tjasa for your time!