EUROPEAN BUSINESS: Erik, HANZA is no doubt a leading manufacturing strategist, tell us more about HANZA and how you empower manufacturing industry?
Erik Stenfors: Traditionally, CMs are providing one commodity, for example PCBA, sheet metal mechanics, cable harnesses or machined parts.
We have created industrial parks, which we call manufacturing clusters, where we can offer all the commodities above, and more, plus assembly.
Hence, we offer parts production and parts assembly. In other words, complete, regional manufacturing. Our slogan is “All you need is one”
Advantages are numerous, to lower number of suppliers means lowered costs, increased flexibility (one point of contact) and reduced negative impact on the environment.
EUROPEAN BUSINESS: What are some of the biggest challenges you see in the manufacturing industry? How does HANZA help clients improve their productivity? And how do you add value for them? Can you share 1-2 cases of the clients you serve?
Erik Stenfors: After substantial outsourcing of manufacturing the last decades, and after the globalization, the result is often complex, global supply chains.
We help our customers to streamline the supply-chain. It can be done in steps, as normally it entails manufacturing transfer. This can be tricky as sometimes the documentation is not 100 % valid, why we also do “reverse engineering” sometimes (creating documents from ways of working).
We had a customer with factories in 5 different countries. Our solution was to transfer all to one of our manufacturing clusters, which created several competitive advantages for the customer.
In another situation, the manufacturing was done in Europe and shipped to China, adding customs duty. We transferred the manufacturing to our Chinese cluster.
As a third example, we had a customer who wanted to outsource quite complicated manufacturing which they had done in-house. We solved it in a three-step-solution; first take over the unit inside the customer’s premises. Then move to the other side of the street, to get the customer – supplier process up and running. In the third step we reallocated it to one of our clusters, for best cost and efficiency.
EUROPEAN BUSINESS: We know HANZA has more than doubled its sales and increased profits fivefold in your strategy from 2018, “HANZA 2022” This is a truly remarkable achievement especially we also experienced the impact of the covid-19 during this period, tell us how HANZA delivered the incredible result?
Erik Stenfors: When covid came, and the volumes were dropping, we had a strategy meeting in the BoD. Conclusion was (1) that this cannot last for many years, (2) this should push new orders to HANZA*. Therefore, during the autumn of 2020 , instead of pulling the handbrake, we launched the largest expansion program so far “Roadmap2021”. We expanded our buildings and bought extra equipment for 100 MSEK.
This made us ready for the upturn post-pandemic. In Q3/2021 our rolling 12 months sales was 2.3 bn SEK. One year later 3.3.
- Each crisis has created a need for new solutions. We started HANZA in August 2008, in September the Lehman crash came. So, we were born through a crisis, which has helped us a lot to handle further crises. This first crash also brought us a lot of new orders, as customers were eager to try something new.
EUROPEAN BUSINESS: In Europe, we are facing some challenges (energy crises, inflation, or the war in Ukraine), what’s the potential impact of the challenges on manufacturing industry and your business? Can you share some insights about the business outlook in Europe and international markets? In which markets do you see the greatest potential for HANZA?
Erik Stenfors: One consequence is new opportunities, as the war has made some companies rethink manufacturing in China. Can a conflict with Taiwan spark new embargos?
So this increases the existing trend of backsourcing.
For sad reasons we are also growing with the defense and the energy industries. This will continue. Also, non-cyclic areas as for instance reverse vending machines is growing from government decisions.
EUROPEAN BUSINESS: Erik, please tell us about yourself, your personal experience or lessons. Can you share something about your career journey and what inspires you about being in the manufacturing industry?
Erik Stenfors: My education is based on technology, I have a Master of science. My career started as an R&D manager. That’s when I saw the need for new solutions for contract manufacturers. The supply chains were too complicated, and there was a lack of understanding of the product company’s need.
Even though we have no own products, we have an R&D department in HANZA. This is to assist our customers. But there is another important aspect: It is essential for engineers to understand manufacturing, otherwise they cannot develop suitable products. The reverse is also true, it is essential for the manufacturing industry to understand the R&D departments. That’s also a reason why we will expand our R&D department.
To summarize: HANZA is not only connecting different manufacturing technologies, but also connecting manufacturing with services.