Transforming the Transylvanian bearing industry – LECO

Associated with beautiful mountains, breathtaking castles and of course the legend of Dracula, the area of Transylvania is being given an industrial image overhaul, with LECO IMPEX at the forefront of industrial and agricultural maintenance in Romania.

The story of LECO IMPEX, a company dedicated to products and services in the field of industrial and agricultural maintenance, began on April 21, 1992 in Târgu Mure, Transylvania, Romania. Technical director, Mr Carol Bartha, the CEO of LECO IMPEX, noticed how important the importing of industrial products was in Romania and the deficiency in the distributor’s system at that time. Having a wide knowledge about bearings and other power transmission products, and having a good friend who was already leading a bearing business in Hungary, Mr Bartha was given an interesting opportunity.

Mr Bartha’s studies, work experiences as a leader and technical director, his entrepreneurial spirit (inherited from his father) and the support of his wife, all motivated him to start a new business in the private sector.

“This served as inspiration for me to start my own company, so I decided to embark on a journey, which in 27 years has grown into one of the biggest companies dedicated to industrial and agricultural maintenance in Romania,” said Mr Bartha.

Behind the branding

The name ‘LECO’ is the brainchild of Mr Bartha, who saw his daughter (Reka Fodor, now the 2nd generation working in the company) playing with LEGO pieces and decided to create the name by fitting LE and CO together like the famous toy brand. ‘LE’ coming from ‘lemn’, meaning wood (the first field of the company was intended to be carpentry, the CEO’s father owning a woodworking shop at that time) and ‘CO’ coming from ‘comer’, meaning commerce. In the 90s, the Romanian bearing market was unable to serve all the needs of the country with enough power transmission products. There was a serious need for long-term thinking and technically prepared new businesses:

“Leading and maintaining a business back then wasn’t secure at all because the inflation was about 120%. There was a serious lack of money in Romania so clients couldn’t pay in time and the maintenance system in factories was disorganised or non-existent.” said Mr Bartha.

A bearing focus

The firm started focusing on bearing distribution in 1996. At that time there were only a few similar stores in Romania, with poorly trained employees and inadequate stocks. They only offered products, but not services or technical solutions. As the family business grew, the company began to diversify its product range (bearings, chains, belts, seals, lubricants and pneumatics) over the years. This then led to them becoming an authorised distributor for some of the biggest manufacturers in the field, such as SKF, Koyo, Donghua, Gates, Total and Festo.

This enabled them to offer individualised services to their customers. These manufacturers ensured quality products and technical support. They offered a wide range of experience and knowledge about commerce, stock management, finances, marketing and business strategies. They even developed their product range and services together with distributors like LECO. In the present day, LECO IMPEX has a dynamic, well-trained team of 45+ members, helping clients find the ideal solutions for their needs and applications.

2 new branches were opened in Bistrita and Sibiu, where customers have the same products, services and advantages. The firm now has a well-established distribution network that expands to all of Romania, working with agricultural and automotive stores, and includes a field sales team of 17 people. To ensure minimal delivery time and rapid response to the clients, the company now has a huge stock of SKF and KOYO bearings, Gates belts, TOTAL lubricants, and the biggest stock of agricultural and industrial DONGHUA chains in the country.

New plans and announcements

On the 7th of April 2016 LECO IMPEX opened a new showroom and a warehouse dedicated to the Transylvanian agricultural after-market. The company invested heavily, buying a 4,000 sq metre terrain in Cristeti, Mure, with a big warehouse, and administrative offices, with an 800 sq metre shop dedicated to the agricultural end-users. This convinced manufacturers that the firm were capable and dedicated to focus on the rapidly growing agricultural market in the country. In 2018 LECO IMPEX became the first and sole SKF Agricultural Parts Supplier in Romania.

“We have a long working history with SKF, resulting in some remarkable achievements, but this new level of partnership allows us to get even closer to our customers with better delivery times, prices and technical solutions, ensuring they benefit from the frontline discoveries made by the biggest bearing producer in the world,” said Eng.

Boloni Otto Csongor, SKF Product Manager and Technical Support Team Supervisor at LECO IMPEX. The goal of LECO IMPEX is to maintain its position as one of the biggest agricultural and industrial spare parts suppliers in Romania, by continuing to offer quality products and services to its customers, offering them the best solution for their problems. Commenting on his company Mr Bartha said: “In 2016 we celebrated the company’s 25th anniversary, together with family, colleagues, clients and suppliers. Looking back, I can clearly remember that we tried to be different from the very beginning. We wanted to be the best in industrial services with innovative ideas and long term thinking. Even with the years passing, my team is still as enthusiastic and creative as in the beginning. Our colleagues, clients and suppliers became our partners – In my opinion this is the best way to run a successful business. Even today there are difficulties in our country, but the Romanian economic situation is heading in a good direction, and I am certain that the next 25 years it will be even better.”