On 26-27 February, the entire NME Team vent to Ålesund to visit some of our members in the region. Due to limited time we only had the chance to visit three companies, Ekornes Contract, Anda-Olsen and ShipMed. It is always exiting to visit members and learn more about them and their needs. This is a great way for us to better see how we can serve our members.
When we arrived at Vigra airport on Tuesday, Gunnar Bratland from Ekornes Contract was already waiting to drive us out to Sykkylven where the Ekornes factory is located. We were guided around the entire factory, which is impressive both measured in size, efficiency, work environment and CSR. The factory consists of a wood factory, steel factory, sewing factory and foam plastic factory. All of them producing different components to the famous Stressless recliners, sofas and tables. They even have their own fire station. Crew from this fire station will move out if there are fires in the local community. In the factories, workers and robots work hand in hand. The robots automate procedures like bending the steel, making springs, polishing the wooden parts, spray painting it, and many more. The finishing touches are done by traditional workers. All inn all there are 900 employees at the factory, and an unknown (to us) number of robots. The factory with most robots, the steel factory, has 115 robots alone. It was truly fascinating to see them in action.
After lunch in the factory’s canteen, we were driven back to Ålesund for a tour in Ekornes Bua. This is Ekornes’ Showroom measuring 4000 sqm. Both the building, the view and interior design was impressive. The building is an old fish landing and warehouse. When Ekornes bought it, and built their showroom, they kept the original wooden beams and winches. Ekornes’ interior architect has done a great job combining modern furniture in different colors and texture with the outline of the old building.
Wednesday morning, we were greeted by Marius Anda Olsen at Anda-Olsen. Marius took us through Anda-Olsen’s main activities; batteries, Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS) and hybrid solutions. We learned a lot about the new quality requirements to UPS systems, and how different suppliers have different takes on these. The UPS systems are designed to give power to vital machines when generators fail. The requirements dictate that the systems should be able to work for 30 minutes when the battery capacity is at 80%. Anda-Olsen takes these requirements very seriously. We had a long chat about the future of batteries and other renewable power sources. Finishing off our meeting we got to look at their storage facilities and production area. Never have we seen such an orderly storage!
Further the trip went to ShipMed. Here we were greeted by a welcoming gang. We did a quick presentation about NME before ShipMed presented their activities. ShipMed, deliver medical safety at seas through project planning and supply of all interior and outfit of medical centers. They also have developed a cloud-based software system that includes medical supplies, log and purchasing reports and to-do lists, to provide a greater level of control and peace of mind to the crew responsible for the medical facilities onboard. It was great seeing how ShipMed is committed to the safety of sailors that often find themselves far away from the shore.
All in all, it was a successful and educational trip. Thanks for having us, educating us on your companies and for giving us positive and constructive feedback!