Modig Machine Tool – Marvellous Machines

We learn how a Swedish machining company is punching above its weight.

In the locality of Virserum, Sweden, in 1947, a family founded a business whose mission was to build the best in class machines for manufacturing. That company’s lathes, universal drills and machining centres soon built up a global reputation, and by the 1980s they were starting to develop high-speed machining centres. Since then, that company, Modig Machine Tool, has continuously redefined the world’s machining standards.

And through all of that Modig has remained not only one of the world’s leading manufacturing premium performance machining companies, but also a proudly family-owned firm.

“The Modig company was founded in 1947. It is a family-owned company. I’m the third generation and took over ten years ago,” says David Modig, current President of the firm. “We’re focused on high-quality machines for the aerospace and automotive industries. We see ourselves as the Ferrari of machines, not the normal commodity machines suppliers. We’re very focused on customer relationships. We’re not just selling machines from a catalogue; we’re helping customers receive they want.”

Innovation and Collaboration

Modig has sold over 11,000 machines around the globe, and the Modig brand is widely recognised as a trusted partner for businesses.

“I would say we have a couple of unique qualities,” Modig reflects. “Firstly there is what we’re selling. The reason we’re selling these products is that we’ve been able to develop products that give the customer a price per part that is 95% of the time much less than our competitors can offer.”

Despite being a relatively small company, Modig is able to offer this value thanks to a relentless cycle of development and improvement.

“We do a lot of development and that’s really what’s good about being a smaller business like ours. When we develop a new machine, it will not take us very long compared to a big organisation with a lot of decision-makers,” Modig points out. “For us, it’s completely different. I design the machines and can say what direction to take. We’re always ahead four or five years ahead of our competitors in terms of technology and that drives price.”

Beyond sheer innovation, however, Modig Machine Tool’s value also comes from the strong collaborative relationships it builds with its customers.

“We work closely, together with our customers. We don’t sell machines from a catalogue,” Modig says. “Our competitors say this is what we have and this is what you get. We say if you want to tweak it or do something with it it’s okay for us. That relationship is very important to us.”

Spreading the Word

While Modig is a favourite partner of the businesses that know it, the company isn’t a large one, and what resources it has are usually channelled towards further developing products and providing value to customers. This can mean that in marketing terms it’s a challenge to compete with larger, more corporate competitors.

“We want to be stronger in marketing ourselves. That’s the biggest issue right now,” Modig admits. “Our competitors are big machine companies with thousands of employees and the muscles to market themselves, garnering more recognition. If we could do the marketing in the way we want with demo machines, showrooms and so on, then there’s no limit to what we could sell, but that is the limit for us right now.”

Getting the word out, and forging those new relationships that will allow the company to continue to grow, is the primary challenge Modig is facing, but will marketing may limit their reach, Modig is quick to point out that the company is more than equipped to take on the large jobs.

“That’s the struggle every day. We do a lot of travelling, talking to the right people. When you do that, you are pinpointing people who know their companies,” he says. “Our biggest customer is a large corporation and they know us; we’ve been with them for 20 years and it’s not an issue for them. We sell them so many machines. We find connections, and the bigger the company gets the more there is to spend on marketing. But while we don’t have that big a marketing budget, we can build that trust and those relationships that create word of mouth.”

Growing Talent

That growth is continuing, with Modig recently moving to a new location and constructing a brand new, state-of-the-art machining plant. But with that growth comes the need for more people and with more people comes the need to ensure those people have the necessary skills and knowledge.

“The type of work we’re doing is very technical so when we hire an unexperienced person they get trained by an experienced person, and these days there’s a lot of instruction,” Modig explains. “I am very to open to staff development. It’s not about the grades you have, it’s about the interest in what you’re doing. If you’re interested in doing something you can accomplish anything. So, when I see this in someone, we bring the people further up through the company, having regular meetings with them. There’s a lot of things going on.”

Fundamentally, for Modig, the main way the company attracts talent is through the breadth of challenges and experiences they can offer.

“Most of the people who work here never have two days the same,” he says. “It’s not a job where you can just press a button for eight hours. It’s a problem-solving environment and that’s what they like.”

It’s an environment that still excites Modig today, and he’s looking forward to what they’re going to do next.

“The future is actually looking really good. We have a new machine portfolio. The last machine in this portfolio was announced in 2019, our three-year plan was put into place in January, just after we completed our last three-year plan,” he says. “We’re going to increase sales and broaden our market and try to do some diversification away from the aerospace sector. We had too many eggs in one basket. We’re now trying to focus on the automotive sector, especially electric vehicles. 2019 was a good time for us and we got many orders from the automotive sector so that’s exciting for the future.”

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