The LLENTAB Group designs, manufactures and markets multifunctional steel buildings for a wide range of industries and purposes. The parent company, LLENTAB AB, is headquartered in Sweden. Its story goes back to 1972 and the Lindblad family. Over the years the company has undergone rapid development, growing economically and geographically. At the current moment, the LLENTAB Group has subsidiaries throughout Europe and Scandinavia and a new organization focused on international business. It managed to grow from a small construction company to an international group with branches in Norway, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine and Poland.
First step to the East
The first venture outside of Swedish borders took place in 1987 when LLENTAB opened its first subsidiary in Bergen, Norway. As the undertaking turned out to be a success and the LLENTAB concept developed and attracted an increasing demand, LLENTAB decided to turn to the then transforming region of eastern Europe. The pick happened to be Poland. Decision to locate a subsidiary on the Polish territory was influenced first and foremost by communication factors. – Slovakia, Hungary or the Czech Republic are less accessible for a company from Sweden than Poland. At the beginning of 1990ies, Poland had two regular ferry connections with Sweden. Polish market was simply the nearest one – says Mr. Jacek Liszewski, Polish division’s deputy President of the board. He adds simultaneously that what played a crucial role were similar size of the market as well as climatic parallels. The Polish subsidiary started its business activity at the end of May 1992 in Gdańsk in the northern part of Poland and since then has been functioning by the name of LLENTABHALLEN. At the beginning of its business operations, the Polish division functioned as a sales unit solely. It changed in 1994. – At the time Swedish owners decided to involve LLENTABHALLEN into the design process. At the current moment, 27 Polish engineers work at our design department – informs Mr. Liszewski. The main factory of the LLENTAB Group, manufacturing steel constructions and roofing sheets, is then located in Sweden, whereas LLENTABHALLEN in Gdańsk is responsible for design commissions coming from Poland as well as other countries. What is more, it is in possession of the newest steel profile production line within the whole LLENTAB Group.
Large scale investments
A milestone in the development of LLENTABHALLEN was the 1998 investment into ground. It accelerated construction of an own office and allowed to relocate to the new premises in 1999. Before the time, the company had experienced some location problems, which blocked its development and did not allow to take advantage of the potential in a full way. The deputy President claims that the relocation took place in a perfect moment – a few years before the accession of Poland to the European Union, which removed all customs procedures and allowed free trade with other member states. He adds that a very important event in the corporate history took place in 2007. – At the time we made another investment decision. It was settled that the Polish division will extend its profile by production. For us it was a proof that we are good enough not only to design but also to manufacture. Currently, we are conducting some production tests of the new line – says Mr. Liszewski. The scale of the ventures is tremendous – its worth exceeds 20 million Polish zloty. It is important to note that it is one of the largest and most complex production lines of its type in Europe.
The LLENTABHALLEN concept for business is today widely acclaimed for its efficient construction, high quality and adaptability to different needs and demands. The LLENTABHALLEN trademark represents important values that the company wants to be identified with. These are: quality, flexibility, high efficiency and care for people. The focus on the values is so large that they permeate everything the enterprise does on a daily basis. Quality has been coined into the most important feature of the enterprise’s products. At the launch of the Polish division, it was decided that high quality will not only distinguish the company from many competitors, but also promote it on the market. At LLENTABHALLEN quality is a core value in terms of production, process and product. The manufacturer always works with products and services from top-ranked suppliers – conviction that each link in the production chain is important for the end-result is very strong. All that to ensure that the manufactures the company supplies stand for best quality traits. Another focus of the company is to fully fulfill customers’ needs, requirements and demands. The concept leaves place for customized solutions with maintained cost-efficiency. LLENTABHALLEN believes that dialogue is key to successful partnership with both customers as well as suppliers. Two-way communication and confidence enable long-term relationships and satisfaction of the customers. For the company it is a matter of professionalism and competence to act with the highest possible responsiveness to the clients’ needs. – Results of this attitude are visible in the structure of our sales. More than 20% of the products are purchased by customers that we have already cooperated with. The fact that they come back is a proof of their satisfaction and trust – claims the deputy President. An alluring factor is undoubtedly that the delivery is in accordance with settled agreements and the customer can always count on quick and professional advice no matter what the problem or question is. Another focus of the company is high efficiency. Owing to that, the production process is highly automated which reduces mistake possibility to the minimum. The high efficiency concept is always set for improvement and innovation. It guides LLENTABHALLEN to continuously develop its work process and improve its effectiveness. Last but not least, the company is driven by solid commitment to its employees. It cares not only for its business but also for a good reputation among its people.
Family business, family atmosphere
At the current moment, the Lindblad family owns 85% of the LLENTAB Group’s shares and people at leading positions within the company control the other 15%. This peculiar owner structure guarantees strong commitment and true responsibility to how the company develops and cares for its employees. It refers also to the Polish division. At LLENTABHALLEN the turnover rate is very low and the average time in employment oscillates around 8-9 years. The Human Resources strategy is based on the Swedish model, where human capital plays a significant role in the development of the company. The first rule is compromise pursuit. The company believes that making concessions is easier than simply dismissing someone. Compromise with employees is sought even if it may generate some additional costs or extra obligations. Another important trait is mutual respect and trust. The company does what has been agreed and expects the same from its people. – We do not impose anything on people, they simply do what belongs to them. Due to that our relations are clear and effective, based on partnership. We give what we have promised or even more and we await the same – says Mr. Liszewski. The enterprise offers its people a familiar atmosphere where colleagues care for each other and always try to offer a helping hand. LLENTABHALLEN’s view on work life is long-term – for its employees is means employment stability. The informal, flat-hierarchy atmosphere causes that LLENTABHALLEN is a desired workplace. The positive word of mouth does its job – a number of recruitment processes have been based on internal recommendations. Due to that, the company gets a number of very good applications and can select employees from the best ones available on the market. Lots of attention is paid to the development of employees’ qualifications and competence. – Our people have a chance to participate in a number of internal and external trainings, workshops, courses, etc. It is a very important part of their job. They have to be up to date with the novelties of the industry. It is because of our products, first and foremost their technologically advanced character – states the deputy President.
As far as the product offer of LLENTABHALLEN is concerned, the high priority area is design of steel buildings. The engineers are responsible for designing customer tailored solutions in detail. In order to do that, they use advanced software for visualization and blueprints. Assembly process is also a crucial part of the business activity. Experienced assembly teams guarantee that the cooperation is complex and does not stop until the building is finished. All customers’ claims may be reported to the company – the staff will solve them directly. What is more, continuous improvement of the assembly process is guaranteed thanks to feedback from the assembly teams. With the new production line, the company extends its offer by automated manufacturing of the modules.
SMEs are the future
The complexity of the offer causes that main customers of LLENTABHALLEN are small and medium sized companies. – A large part of the 1100 buildings that we have delivered so far was commissioned by companies of small or medium size. Enterprises of SME sector value manufactures of high quality. If they purchase a product, they purchase it for themselves. They prefer to pay more, yet be sure that it meets their quality requirements. For general contractors price is the most important factor and some of them look for cheaper solutions – explains Mr. Liszewski. He believes as well that the SME sector is where the future opportunities of the company lie. – We think that the expansion of Polish highway network will result in industry dispersion. Once a highway is constructed, there are new firms and business ventures. Small towns and villages will attract a growing number of various investments. It may result in new cooperation possibilities for us – he says. If it happens, the number of executed projects may grow quickly.
Written by Aleksandra Strojek