Wire Rope Exchange Interview: Talurit Group CEO Victor Lindh

Talurit

By: Bob Glenn, Editor and Publisher

Talurit® Group, a global manufacturer of swagers and wire rope equipment, marks its 75th anniversary this year. The company celebrated this significant milestone with a grand event held at a prestigious venue in Sweden in August. All employees from around the world were invited to join the festivities that spanned over several days.  We previously posted their Press Release about that event here.

After reading about the all-hands-present celebration, we were interested in learning more about how the company decided to make the remarkable investment in gathering all of its worldwide employees for the occasion. CEO Victor Lindh graciously provided thoughtful responses that we believe give good insight into how the business approaches its employees, customers and products. Here’s what he had to say!

Bob Glenn, Wire Rope Exchange (Bob Glenn/WRE):  It is quite exceptional to assemble your employees from all around the world for several days of festivities!  How did you and the company leadership decide to commit to doing that?

Victor Lindh, CEO, Talurit® Group (Victor Lindh/Talurit):  Frankly speaking it was the obvious choice for all of us in the room at the time. It just felt right! The idea of having a formal event was initiated by our owner Bernhard Rohland, who has held many appreciated anniversary events throughout the years, and he aimed for this one to be something extra special.

We wanted all employees to feel appreciated for their great efforts and it felt like a proper celebration was in order after the success we have had the last couple of years. Simultaneously we wanted to bring the global group of companies closer together and take the opportunity to share knowledge between different departments and locations.

Not obvious to me was how much time and effort has to be put into such event. When you grow in numbers as we have done the last couple of years, the workload of arranging such event increases dramatically. I’m very happy to have the support team around me showing a great care of their colleagues.

Bob Glenn/WRE: Can you tell us more about some of the specific activities – speeches, workshops, employee recognitions, etc. that were part of that celebration? From the photos there appears to have been a boating event, what else can you tell us about that?

Victor Lindh/Talurit:  We started the event spending time at our headquarters in Gothenburg, having an open house with tours, demonstrations of products and important processes and of course fun activities. Really fun and rewarding to show off our operations and for me personally a blessing that so many bridges were being built between my colleagues.

For the boating event we hired an entire ferry to ourselves and set out for a beautiful tour around Gothenburg’s archipelago. The coastline is a big part of the city of Gothenburg’s identity and history, so it was a good way to show that to the employees from abroad. On the ferry we were served lunch and refreshments while enjoying the views. The tour turned out to be a great experience for all, and we also had some light entertainment and a joint quiz competition onboard.

In addition to other amenities, the venue where the celebration occurred featured a spa and several areas dedicated to relaxation which all our employees and guests could enjoy. Surprisingly, many also took the opportunity to go for a swim in the brisk ocean!

I gave a speech and shared my vision for the future and how we plan to achieve it. I emphasized the importance of innovation and staying ahead of the curve in the industry. We discussed our commitment to invest in research and development, as well as fostering a culture of collaboration and knowledge within our organization.

One part of the entertainment that was kept secret was that Bernhard had flown in a magician from Stockholm who would be with us throughout the last day. This unexpected addition proved to be a highly appreciated and memorable part of the festivities. The magician was very talented and interacted closely with the guests, keeping them entertained with his mind-bending tricks and illusions. I think that his astonishing card tricks were particularly impressive, leaving everyone in a state of awe and disbelief.

The final day of celebration ended on a high note with a grand fireworks display in the evening. As the vibrant colours filled the night sky, I think many of us felt a sense of both pride and gratitude. It was a symbolic ending to the event, representing not only the success from our hard work but also the bright future that awaits us.

Bob Glenn/WRE: Approximately how many employees were on hand for the celebration?

Victor Lindh/Talurit: We are just around 90 employees at Talurit Group at the moment, but altogether with board members and close partners we had 100 persons attending the festivities.

Bob Glenn/WRE: This event suggests that you place a very high value on employee engagement and development. Apart from this remarkable event, can you tell us about some of the other things the company does more routinely or regularly to foster employee engagement?

Victor Lindh/Talurit: We do place a very high value on our employees, and I think a lot of it has to do with culture and the mindset of the leaders in the organization. Do you want to tell people how to do things your way or would you like to have their contribution and engagement? I won’t hire the first type for a leadership position.

We also spend money and time on occasions to gather feedback and discuss topics internally, such as workshops or having employees join focus groups with other companies to discuss and learn. Another important aspect is information, where we try to be as transparent as possible. If the people in the company don’t know what is happening and what the current issues are, they cannot help.

Finally, we have been working on being able to develop our employees even further within the company. That might be attending a specific training or rotating to a role as your next step. Having growth and the ambition to expand, this of course gives some additional opportunities.

Bob Glenn/WRE: Given that you serve a diverse range of clients all around the world spanning various industries including rigging, construction, marine, mining and more, how do you keep current with customer requirements and unmet needs across this variety of markets and applications?

Victor Lindh/WRE: The secret is that we are good listeners and we have accumulated a vast portion of knowledge over the decades. This way we understand the challenges our customers meet, and we have the toolset and confidence to act upon them. We have a global sales team that is good at collecting and reverting market input, and we also try to involve our engineers quite early on in sales calls, both to have an efficient process but also to get the people developing our products to have some more time alongside the end users.

To be fair, we do really well keeping current with the most common applications where safety is key, but have chosen to de-prioritize those where safety and the highest standards are not as valued. Our products are used in such a vast variety of industries and applications that it is not viable to try to meet them all, no matter how fun it would be! At the same time, we have been spoiled with a high demand for new Talurit® products which we have had a hard time keeping up with in the past, a gap we are now starting to fill.

Our focus has been to be the wire rope specialist’s top choice, the partner they turn to when they need safe and reliable products and knowledgeable support. And as such, our focus tends to land in the solutions for high performance ropes, synthetic’s etc. For example, the new wire ropes with 3000 N/mm^2 wires will be a challenge to tackle and something that definitely will separate the companies with know-how from the competition.

We have an ambition going forward to increase our deliveries of “Technical Highlights” to the market and increase our efforts on the fittings and terminations side of development going forward. Our customers can expect quite many new products the coming years, all with some type of technical highlight!

Bob Glenn/WRE: Let’s talk about Excellence and Innovation, as those seem to be key to your view of the business… When you talk about Excellence, how to you define and measure that, or put another way, how do you know that’s what you are delivering?

Victor Lindh/Talurit: Technical excellence is as much about the mindset in the company as the technical delivery of the product, and I do believe that you need to have both to be successful delivering this to your customers. The cultural part of technical excellence is the curiosity to try new things and willingness to improve while the technical delivery is about processes and use of empirical know-how. There is a strong positive synergy here and I think that when you reach this you are delivering technical excellence.

What it means for customers is that they can expect well-built and well-engineered products which often has one or more attributes which adds value or functionality in a dimension not existing on the market before – what we at Talurit Group call a technology highlight. On top of this, customers should expect continuously improved products and if a delivery happens to be flawed (they still do sometimes) an improvement should not take too long.

The tricky part is to measure this, as the KPI in many ways becomes a subjective consideration. In the end of everything our sales figures and the feedback we gain from the market is the indicator that tells us if we succeed in this. However, we do have a number of internal indicators that help us guide our way but, in the end, the technical development is useless unless there is a value to the market.

Bob Glenn/WRE: And with regard to Innovation, how do you guide that process to make sure that you are working on and investing in the things that will drive innovations that pay off for you and your customers?

Victor Lindh/Talurit: We do not have a super tight process for this. Coming back to our backlog of projects and discussions with customers, we often feel quite comfortable knowing what we can develop and sell to them. The tricky thing is to convert it into something that you can offer to more than one customer. At the same time, we do want to have a technology push from our engineers as well and not only let the spoken wants and needs of the market dictate our new development.

I would say that this is closely linked to our strive to technical excellence and a clear case where “culture beats strategy”. We have found a mix that’s working for us and I am just very happy having our team living our culture.

But counter to what you ask, we do not always know if the project will pay off, at least not financially. This is the risk you need to take and usually the higher the risk the higher the reward. I want us to take a little bit bigger risks going forward.

Bob Glenn/WRE: Are there any recent product launches or improvements that you could walk us through as an example of how you identify and foster Innovations?

Victor Lindh/Talurit: A clear product that we recently did further improvements on is our patented T-LOC™, which is a steel reinforcement to aluminium turnback ferrules. This expands the range of tensile grades of wire ropes and the number of wide-angle eye-applications that the aluminium ferrule can be used on. Today it’s the only approved aluminium system for 2160 tensile grade on the market.

The T-LOC™ was a development project starting from the need of a close customer who came to us for help and was driven by the development of wire ropes worldwide. From that specific need we could identify a broader application for the market and start our development towards a broader market need. Today we are selling the T-LOC™ to more than 40 different countries around the world. That we still are expanding the range further and improving this product is also well in line with our strive towards technical excellence.

Luckily the T-LOC™ is today a patented protected solution which give us some advantage against the competition.

Bob Glenn/WRE: Does your history and structure as an individually owned family business provide advantages for your long-term growth?  Are you able to invest in the business and evaluate returns on a longer or more flexible time horizon than “this quarter’s numbers” as a publicly traded company might?

Victor Lindh/Talurit: The different type of ownership offers both opportunity and challenges. In our case it is really allowing us to focus on the long term and I believe that many of our employees feel comfort in the ownership structure we have, still being within the founding family.

Nevertheless, we need to deliver results, but as you are saying I agree that there is a longer horizon for decisions and a more rigid cushion if something bad would happen.

Bob Glenn/WRE: What else would you like to share about how you manage the business or support your customers that we did not specifically ask?

Victor Lindh/Talurit: Just a reflection I’m making based on your questions and my answers is the aspect of caring. I believe that a family business comes with a personal aspect and care from the top down and this is what I think is the reason for us gathering the whole group. It is also something that is fundamental for our corporate culture, that our employees care. Not only for the result or for their colleagues, but also for our customers. And that is a real blessing trying to deliver technical excellence and innovations to your customers.

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