Development and production in Denmark – also in future
Retaining production in Denmark has contributed directly to the strong position achieved by Gram Commercial on several important markets, believes Ole Brandorff-Lund, Gram Commercial's managing director.
It's seldom that refrigerators and freezers are manufactured in Denmark nowadays – wouldn't it be good for business if you moved production abroad?
No, not necessarily. For the customers who purchase appliances from Gram Commercial want top-quality, customised solutions, and that is something we can provide within five days as our production is based in Denmark. You should also bear in mind that building such specialised products requires technical know-how which we can't always find abroad.
And, of course, it's no secret that we take pride in retaining our production in Denmark. You've got to be on the ball to succeed, but if you are, it's possible.
What are the benefits of retaining production in Denmark?
One major benefit is that we have a well-qualified, highly motivated workforce which is willing to take responsibility and get things done. Another is that the distance between drawing board and assembly line is very short, allowing our development engineers to keep a close eye on things when technical know-how is transformed into reality. Response times between customer service, development and production are generally short when everything is gathered under one roof – and we can therefore quickly adapt to the input we receive.
What challenges do you face by retaining production in Denmark?
We must make high demands on the entire organisation. If you think you can retain production in Denmark by saying "everything'll be fine" – you might as well shut up shop right now. All members of staff know that keeping production in Denmark can't be taken for granted – it's something we must treasure and value.
We therefore have considerable focus on LEAN, so that we can continually streamline production, and on quality systems, so that we can always deliver outstanding quality. If quality is not good enough, we receive complaints, which is expensive both for us and for the customer. Our greatest achievement is when customers don't give much thought to their fridge during their day-to-day activities. For that means that they never have problems with the cabinets and never need to contact customer service.
You presently operate in more than thirty countries. What are the prospects for Gram Commercial in the long run?
I have no doubt that we will be present in even more countries than we are today. From a production point of view, the majority of our activities will still be based at the factory here in Denmark. However, this will primarily apply to our specialised product lines. Other products, where price is the most important competitive factor, will in all likelihood be manufactured abroad.