Vetlanda in Småland is home to Hydal Aluminium Profiler, one of Scandinavia's leading suppliers of aluminium profiles. In recent years, the company has made a conscious effort to increase competitiveness and profitability. Today it consists of a dedicated team who all form a part of the company's success.
Hydal Aluminium Profiler is one of Elmia Subcontractor's ambassadors this year and both Petra Olsson, CEO, and Jennie Rutgersson, Sales and Marketing Manager, are convinced that it is a company’s people that determine its success.
At Hydal, technology investments go hand in hand with employees
-"At Hydal, our daily work is about realising our customers' products. We work as a complete supplier of aluminium profiles. We can do everything from the simplest cutting to advanced CNC machining with robot cells. Of course, it is inspiring to work with a material that can be recycled over and over and where the recycling process only requires five per cent of the energy used in new production. There are many advantages with aluminium, but we do, of course, also face some challenges," says Petra.
One of the company's challenges is to constantly develop technology, processes and people. This involves investing in technology but also creating well-functioning teams with opportunities to grow within the organisation.
-"We used to have perhaps one or two people who could set up a robot. This posed a risk, not least because we work in three shifts. That's why many of our employees have now completed robot training courses, and in this way the company has increased its expertise. If you show willingness and commitment with us, you get the opportunity to grow and show your skills. It's a win-win situation that benefits everyone," explains Jennie Rutgersson, Sales and Marketing.
Knowledge and willingness to learn outweighs pure skills
From talking about competences and training, it's not too long before issues with recruitment arise. Petra likens skills to a rucksack and says that it is difficult to find employees who come with a fully loaded rucksack. Hydal has therefore changed the recruitment process where the focus has shifted from the individual's skills to looking at the entire personality. It is important for the company that there is a will and an interest in the work because then it usually turns out well. According to Petra, it is about building team spirit and giving people the opportunity to grow.
"The issue of sustainability is important to us and it is not just about producing in an environmentally friendly or resource-efficient way. We want to create a working environment and an organisation that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable in the long term. For us, this means focusing on recruiting, developing and retaining employees in a way that favours both their well-being and our overall sustainability goals.
Prejudice against industry stems from outdated views and ignorance
Many in the manufacturing industry face the same problem. There are many prejudices against the industry and few young people think of an industrial job as being long-term as an adult. Petra and Jennie want to change that. Working in an industry no longer means just "standing at a machine", at least not for the team at Hydal. Not only are the premises bright and fresh, but the workplace is full of advanced technology.
-To join us, you should have a strong understanding and interest in technology, be able to identify problems and solve them. You also need to be able to work with digital tools and not be afraid of change. Both technology and our processes are constantly evolving, so you need to be able to adapt to new working methods and technologies. Last but not least, you need to be meticulous and ensure that our products are of the highest quality.
Sustainable production is a hygiene factor for Hydal
In 2015, all world leaders signed Agenda 2030. Since then, economic, social and ecological sustainability has become more important to many companies. Energy consumption and carbon footprint are some of the areas that the company has focused on. For some years now, Hydal has been carrying out a climate calculation to detect waste of resources.
-Machines that were not in use were not switched off, either in the evening or at weekends. This was an energy thief that we addressed immediately. Another issue is waste. Discarded material is wasteful, so you have to ask yourself what you can do to reduce waste.
Aluminium purchases are made with sustainability in mind and therefore Scandinavian suppliers of raw materials are chosen, with a high level of renewable energy used in their production.
-Twenty years ago, few would have believed that sustainability could be a competitive advantage, but today things are different. Many companies choose suppliers who can offer manufacturing with less climate impact and more local alternatives.
-"We have a responsibility for the future where the next generation inherits our current actions. For me, work with sustainability is a matter of course, a part of everyday life and in a way a hygiene factor," says Petra.
Elmia Subcontractor is a perfect arena for inspiration and meetings
-"For me, Elmia Subcontractor is a meeting place that follows the development of the industry. Both visitors and exhibitors can enjoy an experience. It's not just an exhibition space for different brands, there is knowledge to be gained here. There are seminars and inspiration and you always have the opportunity to see the latest news from different industries. The fact that we have this perfect arena to market ourselves while meeting new and existing customers is incredibly valuable to us," says Jennie.
-"For us, Elmia Subcontractor is a great meeting place. Here we get the opportunity to network and generate leads while getting the chance to update and increase our knowledge," concludes Petra.