Elanders – Moving in the Right Direction
Elanders, the international group that provides total solutions in supply chain management, has emerged from the pandemic with an expanded global presence.
From humble beginnings, as a small Swedish printing company established 100 years ago, the global Elanders Group today employs some 7,000 people in 20 countries on four continents, generating annual net sales of over €1.3 billion.
The Group operates within two business areas – Supply Chain Solutions and Print & Packaging Solutions – and provides services to prime customers across a range of industries from automotive and electronics to fashion, lifestyle and healthcare.
Kevin Rogers, Managing Director, Elanders UK and President Sales & Marketing, Elanders Group, explains that in the late 2000s the Group’s focus shifted to a supply chain business, into which its traditional print and packaging were successfully integrated.
Global With a Local Focus
Today, Supply Chain Solutions account for 80% of Elanders business. The company offers tailor-made solutions for every section of the supply chain, from procurement and purchasing to after-sales service, combined with comprehensive warehouse and order fulfilment services. With a focus on optimal efficiency, Elanders actively helps its customers to reduce their environmental impact.
Although smaller, Print & Packaging remains an important part of the business, offering cost-effective and innovative solutions that meet any local and global need for printed material and packaging, often in combination with advanced order platforms on the Internet, value-added services and just-in-time deliveries.
“We help our customers achieve profitable growth through effective and efficient solutions. This may include solutions design, systems integration, end-to-end supply chain services, including air & sea freight, warehousing, pick-pack-ship, and returns,” says Mr Rogers. “Our advantage is that we offer both B2B and B2C services. Other providers may be strong in one area but not in both.”
He points out that while Elanders is large enough to be global, the company is very agile when it comes to serving its customers. “Where many of our global competitors are fragmented, we take a joined-up approach to servicing customers across borders.”
“We can offer one point of integration across multiple warehouses in different countries,” he continues, adding that for global customers the company has a key account contact in the country where the customer has its headquarters and local contacts in individual regions or countries to ensure that an effective and timely service is delivered. “In summary, we provide an end-to-end solution to our customers, reflecting their specific needs.”
Strengthened by Challenge
The Group has been well-positioned to embrace recent market developments. Over the last seven years, Elanders has more than doubled in size and significantly increased its presence in Europe and the Americas as a result of acquisitions.
“Last year, we completed a major acquisition of Bergen Logistics, a full-service supply chain company headquartered in New York, a specialist in fashion & lifestyle (F&L) 3PL services, and rolled out their service offering in the UK. A business model that is well established in North America and Canada has proved to be a success in the Netherlands, rolled out in the UK during 2022 and planning to expand wider in the EU and Asia later this year.”
Mr Rogers affirms that coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic in robust shape, having achieved year-on-year growth whilst maintaining profitability, is an achievement to be proud of, and one that created a sound basis for handling the current challenges, such as the impact of the Ukraine war and rising inflation, as well as the infamous labour shortage, which has been further accentuated by the pandemic.
“We see that Covid-19 has changed many people’s perspective on life and also the younger generation is not so interested in working in factories and warehouses. To help address this challenge, we have initiated a project promoting the business to local colleges and universities, so that young people can get a better understanding of the career opportunities available in companies like Elanders.”
Despite current market volatility and uncertainty, Mr Rogers affirms that sustainability has remained high on the company’s agenda. “Being Swedish-owned, sustainability has always been very important to Elanders. The company has recently appointed a Sustainability Officer at its headquarters in Sweden and there are many activities planned for roll-out on a group basis.”
He explains that from a day-to-day business perspective, Elanders has existing practices and policies in place for material sourcing, use and recycling or disposal. “We are very strong from an ethical perspective and one of our core values is ‘Responsible’. We take a responsible approach in everything we do – how we do business, taking care of our people, environmental topics, corporate social responsibility, engaging with the local community and supporting worthwhile causes such as charitable organisations.”
One of the Elanders’ initiatives reflecting this responsible, sustainable approach is a service the company provides for the disposal of IT assets. “This is where we support businesses to return, refurbish, recycle and resale IT and mobile devices which can have a second life. This is a growing part of our business as people become more focused on sustainability – a developing trend we have been adapting to, as we recognise it will have a greater impact on our business in the future.”
Leader in Global Solutions
To be best prepared for accommodating the latest market developments, Elanders continues to invest in both areas of operation. The company is currently busy rolling out its Bergen Logistics business, with major investment expected in the UK in 2023 and preparations being made for expansion into more European and Asian markets.
“This will help small- and medium-sized, better-to-luxury brands expand globally with a quick turnaround from the final decision to going live. We are very excited about this and we’ve already taken onboard our first new customers in the UK and EU,” says Mr Rogers, affirming that this development is in line with the company strategy to become a leader in global supply chain management solutions with a world-class integrated offer.
“We plan to expand our F&L 3PL services globally, further develop our IT asset recovery business, focus on our key customers, which will also include continuous improvement activities and invest more in our systems to automate many processes. We also see further developments in our approach to sustainability. Both for our own business and also in helping our customers to be more sustainable themselves.”
This will require a strong team of committed employees and the company is keen on acquiring new talent. “Elanders is a really good business to work for. And we’d certainly love to hear from anyone who’d be interested in joining our team,” concludes Mr Rogers.