Nolato Group – Offering Solutions Sustainably
The Nolato Group are a solutions provider that launches global products, supporting their customers with development and production for the global market. The company is organised into three different business areas, Medical Solutions, Industrial Solutions and Integrated Solutions. While Nolato works in each of these areas separately, however, there is also a great deal of cross-pollination between sectors. We learn how a long-term perspective and a broad, in-depth knowledge base have made the Nolato Group what it is today.
“The overall work we’re doing is similar across those three areas, support and development in engineering skills,” explains Christer Wahlquist, the Nolato Group’s CEO. “A lot of what we do is based on polymer materials, but we also use other materials and electronics.”
Nolato has built a name for itself not only on the broad foundation of knowledge it can draw from but also through the extra mile they’re willing to go to understand their customers’ needs.
“I would say our unique selling point is we’re extremely committed and focus a lot of energy into understanding our customers, their market and needs, and we can get influences from different markets into our customers’ development,” Wahlquist points out. “We can get the best practice from all the market segments we are present in, importing special skills from different aspects to our solutions.”
While those who know their work will swear by them, Wahlquist points out the biggest challenge the company faces can simply be getting their foot in through the door.
“I would say our largest challenge is to get the first assignment from the new customer, to get the first development to a new customer and bring it all the way to production so they can understand how our solutions work compared to the competition,” Wahlquist says. “After we get the first assignment it’s easier to win the second.”
Taking the Long View
Getting that first assignment isn’t simply a question of knocking on doors, a great deal of research and communication goes into ensuring Nolato is the right firm for the job.
“I would say it’s a long process,” Wahlquist says. “We have a list of future customers and there’s a lot of work done in order to make sure they understand our proposal in-depth on their aside and our side to get the feel for what we deliver. Then, of course, we always have a long-term approach. We look at our customers as partners and our customer relationships are very important to us.”
This long-term perspective can also be seen in the way Nolato has prioritised sustainability and has done so since long before it was a preferred buzz word for businesses.
“We have had a very long-term approach to sustainability. We’re part of the UN Global Compact, setting targets for improvement in our own work and progressing in a good way on all measured targets, with a strong sustainability report every year,” Wahlquist tells us. “The next step we’re taking is working with our customers’ products and suggesting improvements from an environmental perspective. We’ll be suggesting new materials, routes to reusability, that’s our target for improving customers’ products in a sustainable way.”
It’s an approach that goes all the way back to the roots of Nolato.
“It’s always been a priority since the foundation of the company. By managing a company you have obligations,” Wahlquist insists. “You have to look at the longer-term sustainable approach and in the last few years, we’re seeing that has become increasingly valued by investors and customers. We’re in a good position because we have addressed these issues for a very long time, and now we’re seeing the benefits of that from the business side.”
All of this would not be possible without the expert, dedicated staff that keep Nolato running. Talking to Wahlquist it’s clear that it is a point of pride for Nolato’s staff to not only understand their own area of expertise but to also have a holistic understanding of everything the company does.
“We have very high retention levels overall. We value our people, treat them equally and have a decentralised organisation to rapidly get to a position where people can make decisions and be part of the process of guiding the company,” Wahlquist says. “They come to understand every aspect of the company and that attracts a lot of people. People like being able to have a career journey and not just be a specialist in one specific field but have a role in running a company.”
It means that in recruitment terms, Nolato’s reputation precedes it.
“We’re attracting people through word of mouth from the people working for us already. That spreads and we’ve found that’s the best way of hiring people,” says Wahlquist.
As well as growing the business’s reservoir of talent through recruitment, Nolato is also working to build up their resources through acquisitions.
“We have had a period of time where we’ve expanded and invested money across a lot of facilities and seen good development of the company in growth and earnings. We will continue that journey with organic growth and expand into new geographical areas. We’ve just expanded into the US for example,” Wahlquist explains. “Parallel to that we have got a long-term target of acquiring companies to strengthen our portfolio.”
Just as with their process to approaching clients, Nolato considers acquisition to be a long-term process, with every variable accounted for.
“Over the years we have added a company approximately every second year to strengthen our overall offering to the market,” Wahlquist says. “This approach is long term; we identify good competitors and work with them and understand them in-depth and when they’re ready to divest we’re the preferred buyer.”