People in Lighting: Vasyl Monastyrskyy

Vasyl Monastryrskyy is Operations Director of our Schréder factory in Ukraine
Vasyl Monastyrskyy
Operations Director - Schréder TOV

Companies are defined by the people who work for them: for over a century, Schréder has been at the forefront of lighting thanks to its employees worldwide. Life@Schréder is where we tell the stories of the people who make Schréder what it is, taking in the 70 countries where we do business, diverse career trajectories and our collective dedication to excellence in lighting.

Schréder has been providing innovative lighting solutions to customers worldwide for decades. Our extensive range of luminaires brings light and magic to destinations from Valencia in Spain to Bad Hersfeld’s award winning lighting in Germany. Bestsellers AMPERA, TECEO and IZYLUM are all manufactured in our factory in Ternopil, Ukraine.

The factory has remained open despite the ongoing invasion, and even achieved record production levels last year. Our people are at the heart of this, and this Life@Schréder focuses on Vasyl Monastyrskyy, Operations Director in Ukraine, and the incredible work his team has done.

Vasyl Monastyrskyy joined Schréder in August 2011, and through challenging times he's ensured that our operations in Ukraine have not only survived, but thrived. He was Schréder's youngest ever Operations Director when he joined at the age of 31 - a position he still holds 12 years later.

Joining Schréder was a complete change of scene…

Before that, I worked in a range of industries; automotive, electronics and wallpaper production. I worked with designers and it was a special experience. The pipeline is totally different from luminaires. Compared to producing wallpapers, producing luminaires is much simpler! Each person has one job on the production line and the metrics for quality control are much clearer.

And we needed a change in mindset...

When I arrived, the factory was very small, very local and very much part of the post-Soviet era. It was a different culture, there was a lot of blame and a very common practice was to find a person to blame instead of finding a solution. Nothing had changed in the last thirty years. That had to change; a new generation came in, new members joined the team, we put the customer at the centre of everything, and we’ve grown from 86 people to more than 300 working here. There’s around 200 colleagues on the production line and the rest are in office and Group roles. We’ve gone from maybe having a few English speakers in the whole factory to a few who don’t speak English!

Next came the arrival of LED technology…

The factory produced its first LED luminaire in 2013, following some resistance from the main Group customers, mainly in Western European countries. They were reluctant to produce in Ukraine because of some previous experiences. It took several years to build that trust, but then we started to receive more orders, new products; we showed that we are a capable, flexible and customer-oriented company. Now we manufacture virtually the whole range here, with exports going mainly to Belgium, Poland, Austria, Germany, Romania, Italy and the Netherlands.

Now we’re setting production records!

Back in 2011, we were producing 20,000 luminaires a year, this year it will be more like 450,000! We recently made our 500,000th IZYLUM luminaire – not bad considering we only started production in 2019!

We’ve stayed open in unprecedented times…

When the invasion started, we decided to stop the activities, because at that time reliable military experts were saying three days, four days, maybe five days left. I think it was after 11 days that I asked my management team to come to the factory, we sat together and reviewed the situation. Given Ternopil’s location, and the general mood, we decided it would be better to resume operations. At that time, there was nothing to do but watch the terrible news, it was good to have the distraction of work and routine.

We had the full support of the Schréder Group and the Schréder family…

They were 100% supportive of the decision, so we started up again. We still had to go through a lot, for example, we had to interrupt production to go to the bomb shelter when the alarm went off. There were issues with finding trucks. But gradually we got back to something slightly like normal life. The managers did an incredible job of motivating people and, despite the circumstances, the staff decided to stay in the country. And step by step, in 2022, we produced 353,000 luminaires, which was an absolute record. Nobody expected it, not even me!

It’s different being in a family business…

I’ve worked for big corporations and here the focus is more on the people. There’s an emphasis on doing things the right way. You have a certain amount of autonomy; there is room for flexibility to get things right for the customer. There’s always a discussion at group level, and if there’s a clear business case, we can come up with creative solutions. Some of our competitors just sell their standard products; if we’re working with someone and they want additional brackets, a different colour, we can work with them and be flexible to provide that.

Olympic Stadium in Kiev is lit by Schréder
Olympic Stadium in Kyiv lit by Schréder floodlights


And the factory handles a lot…

Every day we have our production planning meeting where we call the managers, review the previous day, identify issues and how we are trying to fix them. I work to avoid meetings for the sake of meetings. I encourage a culture of just going out and fixing things; coming to the table with solutions, not problems. On the factory floor, we have shifts for assembly, painting and the CNC machine runs 24/7. We are currently installing a new painting line with a much higher capacity, so we’ll be able to produce everything needed in two shifts.

Schréder supports ongoing training…

I did a week of Lean training at Toyota in Japan, which had a huge impact on me in terms of seeing what was possible. Since joining Schréder I have done an MBA and several live trainings. In my MBA class, there were people from a lot of big companies and some business owners and that really helped me to change the mindset here. We worked on marketing skills and communication as well as people development. Again, it’s about the customer; they want the right quality, the right lead time, the right price. You can have the best factory in the world, but if you don’t have customers, you don’t need it.

Vinnytsia ring road lit by AMPERA luminaires
Vinnytsia ring road lit by locally manufactured AMPERA luminaires


My biggest achievement…

Building a great team. They don't really need me, they can work effectively on their own! I can go on holiday, away for an occasion, and I don’t have to check e-mails all the time, I know they can deal with whatever comes up. If you have good managers, things keep running smoothly, production continues. I look at the evolution of the factory from 2011, and now it's on a completely different level now.

I grew up near the Polish border…

It was still the Soviet era and Ukrainian TV only showed cartoons for twenty minutes at 8 in the morning. But Polish TV had cartoons on several times a day… I soon became fluent in Polish. It’s been very useful in life! When we expanded production, our colleagues from Poland were among the first to believe in us. And since the invasion, they’ve been a great support as well. So I speak Ukrainian, Polish and English.

When I’m not at work…

I’ve got three children and the two youngest are two and three years old so, I spend a lot of time playing with them! Priority number one… you just open the door and they’re ready to go! I also enjoy reading, swimming, playing football and travelling with my wife.

Connect with Vasyl on LinkedIn