Courier brings overnight delivery to Slovakia

When the Bacigal brothers started their business, no one in Slovakia knew what overnight delivery was. It took a while for them to convince folks that they needed a local courier service. "It wasn't necessary in the communist era to be quick; people didn't know what express delivery service was," said Juraj Bacigal, co-owner and co-director of the overnight delivery service In Time. "So the problem was to show these people that there was this possibility."
The brothers, Juraj and Peter, got the idea themselves from the Vienna-based company In Time; in February of 1990, they joined forces with the Austrian firm and three Czech partners, shelled out 240,000 Sk, and started In Time ČSFR.


The first courier to service every nook and cranny in Slovakia.
Courtesy of In Time

When the Bacigal brothers started their business, no one in Slovakia knew what overnight delivery was. It took a while for them to convince folks that they needed a local courier service.

"It wasn't necessary in the communist era to be quick; people didn't know what express delivery service was," said Juraj Bacigal, co-owner and co-director of the overnight delivery service In Time. "So the problem was to show these people that there was this possibility."

The brothers, Juraj and Peter, got the idea themselves from the Vienna-based company In Time; in February of 1990, they joined forces with the Austrian firm and three Czech partners, shelled out 240,000 Sk, and started In Time ČSFR. With two offices - Prague and Bratislava - and about ten employees, the company started making deliveries between Vienna, Prague, and Bratislava. Soon the orders started pouring in.

Within a few weeks they had set up a contract to bring international newspapers to Bratislava each day from Vienna. Soon after, they became a subcontractor for the international delivery company UPS, carrying all of their orders within Slovakia.

When the two countries split in 1992, In Time did as well; the Prague branch got the lion's share of the business, said Juraj Bacigal, "but now we are even." Today the company has 80 employees in its offices in Bratislava, Kosice and Žilina, plus 50 licensed subcontractors in 25 other service points. Bacigal said that a new office will open in Banská Bystrica by the end of this year. In Time has plans to start up offices in Nitra, Trenčín and Poprad as soon as the middle of next year.

It's no wonder they're expanding: with more and more foreign firms opening in Slovakia, Bacigal said, In Time pulls in "more and more business." About half of their clients are foreign; the best customers include car companies who use the firm to deliver spare parts, such as Renault and Honda, and cosmetic companies.

Pharmaceutical firms also try to get a jump on the competition by express mailing their products to pharmacies around the country. The majority of In Time's packages go from its bustling Bratislava headquarters to other sites around the county.

Today the company ships about 450 packages a day within Slovakia, 10 tons worth. Five trucks go out from the capital each night with the Slovak dailies, now that the national news distributor Prvá Novinová Spoločnosť (PNS) has signed up with In Time; in addition, they still carry the major international papers. And the company has recently added money-back guarantee's on overnight delivery, modeled on UPS' or DHL's business.

Bacigal and his employees insist that In Time is the market leader in Slovakia, claiming that their focus on domestic shipments gives them a competitive advantage over the major players like DHL, TNT, and FedEx. However, with their new cargo service - shipping heavier packages overseas via the Dutch airline KLM, with whom they have signed an exclusive agreement, they might be treading on the big guys' turf.

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