GLULAM IS STRONG, attractive and mouldable. It is suitable for most types of building project. The almost unlimited possibilities for design and execution make it a hot material of the future which really pushes the boundaries. So it is not so strange that interest in glulam is increasing and that the industry association’s statistics show a new Swedish sales record for 2015.
This increased interest can also be seen at Setra’s production facility in Långshyttan which is highly automated and has an annual production volume of about 45,000 cubic metres. The facility is characterised by forward thinking and innovation. For nearly five years, work has been focused on the smallest details in order to optimise and streamline working methods.
Thomas Kling is a new product specialist for glulam. He has extensive experience of the industry including as sales manager at Moelven Töreboda and with housebuilder Mälarvillan. You cannot help noticing that Thomas sees great potential both in glulam as a material and in the production unit in Långshyttan.
“We see that more and more people are becoming aware of glulam and that the material is capturing market share for building frames. This is because it is strong, attractive and easy to handle and work. Also it is a fire-stable material and has an obvious role in a sustainable society. The work done here in Långshyttan is admirable in many ways. There is forward momentum where all employees are aware that their individual input is decisive for the end result.”
A few seconds can mean significant time savings
Efficiency work at Setra Långshyttan has paid off and it is now clear that a few seconds saved at each stage are sufficient to achieve significant time savings. The processing unit has in principle improved every metric that can benefit the customer. This applies not only on the factory floor but also in the office where short lead times from enquiry to offer have been a success factor for the business.
“We have achieved a good flow in our work,” says Thomas Liiv who is a sales engineer and together with his colleagues Ronny Dahlberg, Niclas Tapper and Tobias Österberg has come up with a model for answering customers’ enquiries just a few hours after they come in.
“Everybody does the same thing out in production and that also applies to us here in the office. To be able to have short response times we need things to be neat and tidy and to work in a structured manner,” states Tobias Österberg who is a designer and helps customers dimension glulam.
Håkan Mettävainio is a salesman responsible for wood at Beijer Byggmaterial in Luleå and a customer of Setra Långshyttan. He confirms the importance of rapid feedback, not least since he thinks that forward planning in the building industry has got worse.“When I started at Beijer Byggmaterial 24 years ago the situation was different. Then I could have several weeks to prepare a proposal for my customer. Today, I need to get a price in the same afternoon that the enquiry came in. In this context Setra Långshyttan is unbeatable. They handle all questions immediately and although we have worked with them for a couple of years we are still amazed at how quick and efficient they are at getting back to us.”
Setra Långshyttan is a partner to rely on
Today about 40% of Långshyttan’s production is exported. Now Thomas Kling and his colleagues in the sales department are fully focused on increasing market share in Sweden. A lot of this, of course, is about building and maintaining good relations, but also informing about glulam in general and Långshyttan’s offering in particular.
“We must tell the market how we can help. That we are a partner who can respond to enquiries fast and that a quick offer can often lead to a quick order. But also about the advantages of letting us get involved in the process as early as possible. Then we can give the best advice on how our glulam fits into a planned construction, which saves a lot of time on the project,” says Thomas Kling.
At Långshyttan production has been set up to meet increased customer demands for glued wood and shape-stable products. The facility is extremely flexible, which means that each individual order can receive special treatment. The glulam that is delivered is customised directly for the end user and a well-developed logistics system delivers the products quickly and securely throughout Sweden.
“The results of our efficiency work just get better and better and we have taken big strides on most fronts,” says Kjell Lilletjernbakken who is Mill Manager at Långshyttan. Since August last year we have had a delivery reliability of 100% and we have the shortest delivery times in Sweden. We promise eight days, but will pare that figure down further. Considering we have full control of our processes, I am convinced that we will achieve this.”
Text: Katarina Brandt
Photo: Björn Lofterud