How do you move a company with 50 employees from a deficit of seven million kroner to a profit of almost 16 million kroner on just one year of operation?
CEO Jan Gram from Nikodan Process Equipment has a pretty good explanation. The company makes automated transport systems for industry and food sectors. The production goes primarily to the export market.
– We decided in the last financial year to thoroughly clean up problematic projects from previous years. Unfortunately, that clean-up resulted in a significant deficit.
-But here in the pandemic, we have had an extraordinary order intake from our long-standing customer LEGO, for whom we manufacture production equipment. Many have probably read about LEGO’s great growth during the pandemic, and it has “contagion” on us and our result, says Jan Gram, who has been CEO of the company since 1 March last year.
Play and comfort eating
At the same time that LEGO has been bought and played with all over the world, sweets have also been eaten. Many manufacturers within the food industry – including confectionery producers – have increased their production capacity, thereby knocking on NIKODAN’s door to buy equipment.
– We have thus had a large order intake despite a worldwide pandemic, says Jan Gram.
The change of director a year ago, when Jan Gram came from BEUMER Group A/S (the former Crisplant A/S), has brought about significant changes in the company. Most visible is the name change to Nikodan Process Equipment, which simply and clearly points towards complete process plants and automation solutions, which are the core deliverables from the company. At the same time, the company has been given a new graphic line and a new green expression to emphasize the sustainability that is being worked on.
More temporary workers
On the personnel side, the strategy has also been changed, so that varying order quantities are handled more flexibly. This is done by increasingly hiring labor in the form of temporary workers for the simpler assembly tasks, thereby ensuring stability and exciting tasks for a slightly smaller staff of very experienced employees.
At the same time, an increasing number of tasks are outsourced to partners who are specialists in e.g. laser cutting and turning / milling.
Finally, there has been a great focus on the processes and tools behind the project management of the large orders. The focus has been on quality through review and design guidelines, which ensure the least possible error correction afterwards.
– We have succeeded in making many processes more uniform and clear, and the important thing is that the whole organization has been involved in the work. It has paid off on the bottom line, says Jan Gram.
After getting “control of the shop”, the next step will be a strong leverage of sales on the export markets. Here, sales efforts must be increased and made much more outward-looking and proactive.
– We have previously benefited from the fact that our long-standing customers have fortunately been good at making enquiries. Here, we have to “chalk our shoes” to a much greater degree ourselves and do outreach ourselves – and yes, it sounds a bit banal. But we have to, says Jan Gram
The company expects to make a profit of around 18 million before tax in the next financial year. Nikodan is owned by the listed Swedish company Lagercrantz Group AB.
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