Peter Sprigg CEO of Helge Nyberg in Sweden explains the challenges of offering a unique logistics business, developing and manufacturing trolleys and towing and picking trucks for a global market.
Please give a brief overall description of Helge Nyberg AB and the work you do
Helge Nyberg AB is a company that develops, manufactures and markets trolleys and towing and picking trucks for a worldwide market. Some companies make trucks while others sell trolleys, but Helge Nyberg AB is the only specialist company that takes care of the whole picture; people, trolleys and trucks, and the Ergobjörn truck and trolley is a unique solution in the market. Today, we are a global company with customers in more than 60 countries.
We offer our standard trolley range via large catalogue companies throughout Europe, and our solution partner for many years, Toyota Material Handling, is the world’s largest company within material handling, and part of the company that founded the Lean Principles. Our solutions are part of their range. The company’s head office where development and manufacturing takes place is located in Sweden and we have a separate sales office in Germany. Our sales consultants in both Sweden and Germany help both our partners and end customers to find the best and smartest solutions for in-house material handling. As specialists, we want to offer constantly increasing efficiency, better ergonomics and positive economic results for our customers.
Please give an insight to your role as CEO of your company
My role as CEO is to manage Helge Nyberg so that it remains a company with an aim to constantly exceed our customers’ expectations, in all our activities.
As a business leader, how do you ensure that your visions are executed across all sectors of your company?
I make sure that I keep a strong focus on our vision and the position within the market we have taken, which is as ‘the in-house material handling specialist’. My role is to ensure that we always act as a specialist across our entire range of services and activities. However, the outcome and the result of our activities should lead to our customers perceiving us as specialists, and with this in mind, to feel satisfied with us as a partner. This position includes all our actions, from development to production, marketing and sales as well as the behaviour and attitude of the people in our organization. With this in mind, we like to grow our business as a specialist with the view to making the daily business better and more efficient for our customer.
What have you done as CEO for the company since you started in 2009?
As a new CEO in the company, I took the opportunity to make a six-month analysis of our market. I used the strategy ‘Listen, Find and Act’. This meant that I spent a lot of time in interviews with people in the organization, as well as our partners and customers, and I wanted to find new future sustainable strategies for growth. We ‘found’ and we did ‘act’! One of the first things I did was to make big changes in our methods of communication and thinking. From inside out, to outside and in, we started to look at the company with the view from our customers’ eyes. We created a position to take at the market – we made segmentations of our market – we started to communicate the benefit for our customers when they used our products in different logistics flow in each segment, instead of product specifications. We started to make new Lean principle-driven product development, determined by the new segments in which our products should be used. At the same time, we started up a strong development program with the view of making new product solutions. The result of this program we hoped would help our customers to be more effective with our trucks and trolleys solutions, and ultimately, the result has been that 50% of our turnover today comes from new innovative product solutions launched during the last five years.
What has your experience brought to the company?
My background as CEO comes from sales and marketing and I brought this knowledge into Helge Nyberg to understand our customers’ needs and demands; to create strategies, products and solution that meet and exceed those needs. We need to help our customers with their daily business and make them more efficient with our products solutions, and that needs to be something we keep in our minds at all times. Make our customer´s working life easier. If we are able to keep this directive at the forefront, then both our customers and we will be successful.
How does your firm ensure that they are at the forefront of any emerging developments?
We have built a strong customer focus and strong R&D into our different market segment! We also constantly analyse the market segments we are working within, with the view to finding better product solutions, which makes our customers more efficient. With this in mind, we visit many of our customers and regularly undertake studies in the working flow. From those visits, we can find new areas for improvement and we make new product solutions.
How do you ensure that all of your products and services meet the high standards you set for yourselves?
We have shaped a culture within the company that we have created for ourselves, where we keep in mind the position we have taken as the in-house material handling specialist. We have also implemented Lean principles within the company.
Does working in your region throw up any specific challenges or opportunities?
Helge Nyberg Ab is a growing international company, with customers in more than 60 countries today. The industries of today are constantly changing and we have found some trends in the market and today we are working very hard to make new product solutions in response to those trends. One trend is the growing e-commerce business and the second is the changes of how the traditional industry makes their material flow in the production. The forklift free production makes new opportunities for new kind of product solution.
What makes your company unique? What distinguishes your firm from its competitors?
We have unique solutions for order picking and the e-commerce business. We also have a strong knowledge about our customers’ demands in the different segments in which we act. In our segments; industrial and manufacturing, e-commerce and order picking, healthcare and hospital, automotive and vehicle, and service and support, we fully understand the demands and challenges. We have built up an organization that is able to both provide standard products as well as tailor-made customer solutions.
What does the future hold for your firm? What are your plans for 2016 and beyond?
We had a turnover growth forecast of about 20% this year, which we have met, and we should have the same kind of level in our forecast for the next year too.