Think Forward 2014, FREJA Transport

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An openhearted interview with FREJA founder Jørgen J. Hansen on the vital factors that set FREJA apart from its competitors

1. O n taking responsibility for our customers’ livelihoods “FREJA is a company full of dedicated people who are well aware that the business of every single customer depends on the products we transport for them. So when customers entrust their products to FREJA, they entrust their livelihoods – their business viability – to us, too. And having part of someone’s business viability placed in your hands is a huge responsibility. If we should fail to take care of our customers’ products, it would not only be a failure for ourselves, we would be damaging our clients’ livelihoods, too.”

2. O n the advantages of being privately owned “In a company that’s privately owned like FREJA, it can be easier to run a tight, cohesive operation where communication flows freely between people and departments. That’s because even though we might appear relatively big from the outside, we consider ourselves a small company with more of a family atmosphere. Each and every person learns about the responsibility we carry for our customers every day, and we’ve managed to keep that ‘feet-on-the-ground’ attitude despite our growth. This family-style mindset combined with a second-to-none IT system makes us capable of making a real difference in the market.”

3. O n FREJA’s high-tech IT systems and their role in making a real difference “Our competitors use track and trace technology to monitor their trucks, whereas we’ve taken things a step further, opening our systems for our customers so they can find their cargo and check its status anywhere in the world. It’s a frank and open attitude we’ve had since we started in 1985, and the focal point for the difference we wanted to make in the market right from the beginning. Back then, and still in many cases today, if a freight forwarder was uncomfortable about telling the truth behind a delay, they might tell a story about the truck breaking down or the driver sleeping in – whatever they thought would have least impact on the business relationship. At FREJA, if delays happened, we told it exactly the way it was. Now, due to our investments in information systems, we have created even greater transparency – and no one else in the part or full-load market segments can do that yet. It’s another move to show that we want to be known for our reliability and that, instead of being afraid to open our doors, we view this as part of the responsibility we carry for our customers’ businesses.”

4. On helping customers to achieve new competitive advantages “We can deliver mainstream solutions just like any other freight forwarding company, but more than ever, we are focused on where we can use our know-how, capabilities and a little creativity to help customers gain direct competitive advantages. In fact, we’ve got a great track record of building specialised systems not just to lift our own efficiency, but as individual


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“It’s a simple idea, really: our competitors mostly have their roots in the postal industry. We want to develop into the privately owned alternative to state-owned companies – capable of quick responses and flexible answers to customer needs.”

solutions for our customers. Typically, these solutions are a mix of service levels, equipment and technology, creating flexible, tailormade answers to every requirement. Often, we’ll take what we have discovered from working with larger companies and use it for the benefit of small-to-medium-sized enterprises, too. The hydraulic trailers for DanSteel (see page 6 - Ed.) are one example of creating new advantages, and what we’ve done with Deichmann is another (page 4). The measurable impact on their businesses has been very positive. Of course, we want to make money in order to invest in better solutions for our clients, but it’s highly satisfying when we see that the solution we’ve put together enables them to grow their business – it’s a real win-win situation. We have always wanted to make a difference that way, and it’s certainly a vision we’ve managed to fulfil.”

Jørgen J. Hansen, FREJA Founder

5. O n FREJA’s success to date – and its strategy for the future “We’re proud of what we have achieved, because our business success is the clearest indicator we are delivering exactly what our customers want. For the past three to four years, we’ve been building a strategically positioned Nordic platform. We’ve done this to fulfil market demand, but also to realise the advantages of being the only privately owned company able to simultaneously serve the manufacturing and trading industries and be the preferred partner for the freight forwarding industry. It’s a simple idea, really: our competitors mostly have their roots in the postal industry. We want to develop into the privately owned alternative to state-owned companies – capable of quick response and flexible answers to customer needs. It’s a lot about attitude. We have chosen our attitude and we can see that the market is asking for exactly that attitude.

“This family-style mindset combined with a second-to-none IT system makes us capable of making a real difference in   the market.”

Our ambition is to focus on quality and the constant development of our services. And if that leads to annual growth of 5–12 percent as we have seen in the past, we’re happy. Going forward, we’ll be looking to build on our existing competencies in handling complex demands, such as project forwarding (page 8) and solutions for the pharma industry, and further strengthening our capabilities in groupage through close partners like Gebrüder Weiss (page 12).”  ∑

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LOGISTICS FOR A MULTI-CHANNEL STRATEGY A multi-channel strategy supported by an integrated full-service logistics setup is driving Deichmann’s footwear sales in the Nordics For the international footwear retailer Deichmann, the combination of physical and online stores is a key focus area. In a highly competitive retail market, where the boundaries between shopping in physical locations and shopping online are becoming increasingly blurred, it gives the company an important advantage. When a new shoe style is released, it has to be delivered quickly to its local shops. Deichmann cites supply chain management as an important factor in its business success and its customer service promise. In the Nordic region, Deichmann's growth has been rapid. Since the opening of its first shop in 2003, Deichmann has grown to 67 shops in Denmark and Sweden in addition to online shops in both countries. “We are focused on maintaining a strong multichannel strategy,” explains Mikkel Linck, Director Finance, IT & Admin at Deichmann Denmark. “Consumers are becoming more demanding. They want the 24/7 availability that an online shop can offer, and when they make a purchase, they want their shoes delivered fast. Our standard delivery time is two days and with our system, the online and physical shops go handin-hand. For example, when customers visit our online shop, they can ‘click and reserve’ a pair of shoes in a nearby shop.” Nordic distribution The distribution of shoes destined for Deichmann's Nordic region, which currently includes Denmark and Sweden, is managed by FREJA. And it’s no mean feat, with more than two million pairs of shoes sold in the region alone in 2013, which means the distribution of more than 40,000 shoes each week. Mikkel Linck, recognises the role FREJA has played in Deichmann's rapid growth in the Nordic region: "FREJA has been with Deichmann since we opened our first shop in Scandinavia in 2003. Up until 2011, we had different suppliers helping us with various parts of the delivery and distribution, but in 2011 we consolidated our supply chain processes and chose FREJA as our one-solution supplier." FREJA collects merchandise from Deichmann's distribution centre in Soltau, Germany and transports them to special distribution hubs in Stilling, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden. From its two Nordic hubs, FREJA delivers to all Deichmann shops in Sweden and Denmark through FREJA’s own distribution network. For each shop, this is typically about 20-100 cartons, each containing 10 pairs of shoes. The cartons are transported and delivered in cages on wheels, which makes it easy for the Deichmann shops to store or move the merchandise immediately upon delivery.


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Mikkel Linck explains, "Together with FREJA, we plan fixed-schedule deliveries one year in advance. Every shop in Denmark and Sweden knows exactly when the trucks will come – the day and the time. This allows the shop to plan their staffing requirements and working schedule accordingly, which optimises costs and processes." Not just distribution The hubs in Stilling and Stockholm also function as warehousing depots designed to handle returns and internal transfers between Deichmann shops. For example, if a customer orders a pair of shoes that is not available in a particular shop, FREJA coordinates the transfer from another shop. Mikkel Linck elaborates, "The one-solution partnership with FREJA helps us to fulfil our customer service objectives. Delivery is a key parameter, and we put a lot of thought into delivery optimisation. The solution in the Nordic region has been developed in close cooperation with FREJA and they have shown they are willing to work with us in striving for continuous improvement." Designed for e-commerce FREJA's role in supporting Deichmann’s multi-channel strategy is key. At its specially designed warehouses, FREJA receives all orders placed by consumers through Deichmann's online shops in Denmark and Sweden. The shoes are then picked and packed individually, and made ready for delivery. FREJA also manages some of the returns. And as consumers' demands increase, Deichmann and FREJA continue to help each other to raise the bar on their delivery performance. Mikkel Linck explains, “We want to reduce delivery time for our online sales even more. Recently, we introduced the ability to pick and pack products from our warehouse several times a day. Customers expect short delivery times – it is one of the key parameters in the market today." He highlights key advantages of integrating distribution, warehousing and e-commerce at one point: "No matter which channel our customer chooses as the method of purchase, it is sourced at one place. For example, we don’t need to move goods from one warehouse to another, which means we reduce a logistics step and, therefore, the delivery time to our customer." A strong business partnership Jørn K. Jensen, Director of FREJA's European Network, explains that FREJA's goal has been to establish a partnership that allows Deichmann to focus on its core business.

"We have worked closely with Deichmann over the years to develop a solution that meets their individual needs. Several divisions of FREJA handle various aspects of Deichmann’s business. For us, it’s about our ability to provide Deichmann with a total solution, involving both distribution to stores and end-user e-commerce capability." Although Deichmann’s e-commerce capabilities are already advanced, it is an area that can be exploited even more to continue growth in Denmark and Sweden. Mikkel Linck sums up the goal of the partnership in the simplest terms: "Our company mission is that the company must serve the people, in other words, our customers, so we need to listen to their needs and adapt accordingly. When they make an order, it's up to us and FREJA to fulfil that order as fast as we can."  ∑

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RIGHT ON TARGET Customised solutions for over-sized steel plates help DanSteel to turn delivery challenges into competitive advantages

Just-in-time delivery It’s not that Frederiksværk, Denmark-based NLMK DanSteel A/S doesn’t do everything it can to minimise production costs – after all, that’s an essential factor in an intensely competitive industry. But the company’s key ability is just-in-time delivery of its large steel plates, helping its customers to optimise their production processes. Maintaining this edge demands that DanSteel’s own production setup is able to walk the tightrope between careful forward planning and last-minute flexibility – and its transportation suppliers must do the same. Steel works In 2002, partly state-owned steelworks Det Danske Stålvalseværk was split up and a separate steel plate manufacturing entity was born. In 2006, the company was sold to NLMK Europe Plate Products, the world’s second-largest supplier in this market. Today, DanSteel, as the newly acquired company was named, produces plates up to 4 metres in width and 5–200 millimetres in thickness. Its products are typically used for shipbuilding, onshore and offshore wind energy, pressure vessels and general construction. Presently, the plates can be manufactured in lengths up to 29 metres, becoming even longer in the future. Thanks to the company’s harbour location, such lengths can easily be loaded onto and delivered by ships. But if plates are to be moved by truck or rail, it’s a different story. CEO Yuriy Bokachev explains: “Traditionally we have three modes of transport. No. 1 in tonnage is ships, then come trucks. The third option, rail, has become less viable.” Ship-based transport presents few problems for the company. Trucking, on the other hand, is more complex, with significant limitations when it comes to weight, width and length. It’s difficult to load trucks up to 100 percent of their permissible loads, and internationally varying road rules only make things worse. Custom solution No. 1 Working together with FREJA, DanSteel set out to resolve one of the most pressing and costly problems of road transport: namely, the fact that the use of open trailers to export steel plates means trucks have few possibilities to lower overall costs by carrying return loads. The answer, it turned out, was to purchase dual-mode (‘duo’) trailers whose canopies could be pushed to the front to expose the open trailer, or pulled back to cover the entire trailer as required by pallet-based return loads. It was the first of two major gains achieved by transport supplier and customer working together – and resulted in annual savings in excess of DKK 1.5 million for DanSteel.


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Custom solution No. 2 Until 2012, the width of DanSteel’s plates was limited to 3.25 metres. But its customers, spurred on by new cost-efficiency possibilities, were becoming more and more interested in larger-size plates. Recognising this, the company invested more than EUR 100 million in a new rolling mill capable of producing plates as wide as four metres. This, in turn, created new transport challenges, since most Northern European road regulations forbid load widths above three metres without a long list of special requirements. “Four-metre-wide loads can be transported as flat loads by truck,” says Martin Dan Jensen, DanSteel’s shipping manager. “But drawn-out permit application periods, complex route planning, limited travel times, and the need for escort vehicles mean that we can’t be as flexible and agile with serving our customers’ needs. In some places, you can wait up to 4–6 weeks for permission.” After months of exploration and more than DKK 1 million in investment, FREJA and DanSteel came up with a new, “diagonal trailer” construction that uses hydraulic-piston bars to raise the four-metre plates to stand at an angle to the trailer deck – exactly the right angle required to stay within the maximum allowable width of 2.7 metres. Now, as soon as these enormous plates are produced, DanSteel can deliver them in just a few days at most – again giving the company an edge over its competitors. “Around eight percent of the new, wider plates we produce to order are over 3.25 metres in width,” says Martin Dan Jensen. “Most are delivered by ship but we are getting more and more requests around Europe for road delivery.”

“We like to be proactive in the way we  work together – exchanging information,  looking for ways to improve things…” Win-win “We load up to two ships and 50 trucks per day,” says Yuriy Bokachev. “We have worked with several freight forwarding companies over the years, and to date, FREJA has been the best in terms of price, service and flexibility. Their willingness to invest has also been an important factor. But the few times a year when we have peak periods can be a challenge, and we’re always watching for alternatives – in our industry, you have to stay hungry.” “Beyond daily booking contact, we often meet with FREJA management to explore new solutions and discuss improvements to existing ones,” says Martin Dan Jensen. “We like to be proactive in the way we work together – exchanging information, looking for ways to improve things and so on.” Yuriy Bokachev agrees: “We take pride in being good to work with, providing forecasts of requirements so our suppliers can be as prepared as possible, and being flexible if loads arrive later than planned.” Cost and environmental savings Today, around 35 percent of DanSteel’s domestic and international steel deliveries are by road – the vast majority delivered by FREJA. With the new duo and diagonal trailers, DanSteel has become more cost-competitive – and together the two companies have achieved savings for the environment, too. Further developments are underway, looking at ways to combine dual and diagonal trailer types to arrive at a third, even more efficient solution that can handle even wider and longer loads.  ∑

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FREJA’s project department   provides tailored solutions for   even the largest shipments

SUCCESSFUL  PROJECT  FORWARDING  IS A WAY  OF LIFE In many ways, multi-modal project forwarding is a showcase example of FREJA at our best: it’s all about carefully tailored solutions that need to be professionally yet flexibly handled

Complex capabilities FREJA in Finland has been working with sea, air and road-based project forwarding since the establishment of the subsidiary 11 years ago. Over the years, it has built a solid base of knowhow, procedures and information systems. Today, the Vaasa office is solely dedicated to project forwarding, and it is particularly active in maritime and energy industries via framework agreements. Things are going well, and the organisation is going from strength to strength. FREJA’s project forwarding office uses multiple modes of transport. The sea freight side involves booking and handling of container line shipments, vessel charter in Europe and the rest of the world, and barge shipments on European and Russian river systems. Road transport includes trailer transport via the company’s own network, often with outsized or overweight cargoes within Europe and into Russia. Every day brings new adventures, all depending on the type of project and the customer’s needs and preferences, many of which encompass challenging geographies such as India, Bangladesh, China and Brazil. In safe hands Two people at FREJA’s Vaasa office, in particular, have plenty of knowhow and experience to lift project cargo tasks for the region’s largest companies. Sea & Air Director Mikael Åback joined FREJA’s Vaasa office in October 2009 as the latest step in a career in the transport business that stretches back to 1986. Over the years, he has worked in virtually every aspect of freight forwarding, even driving trucks. Joining international freight forwarder Kuehne & Nagel Ltd. in 1999, he started the Vaasa office, rising to manage both the Vaasa and Pori offices by 2005, before departing to help build FREJA’s project forwarding organisation. “Despite having worked in the industry for so long, the past five years have been a rich learning experience – after all, project forwarding is an industry where neither processes nor technology ever stand still! Tom and I use our collective experience to solve things together, no matter how complex a project might be.”


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  Mikael Åback, Sea & Air Director, FREJA Finland

Tom Lunabba, Project Director, FREJA Finland

PROJECT FORWARDING ‘Tom’ is Project Director Tom Lunabba, a recent addition to the company, joining in 2013 to work across the organisation with project assignments and heavy lift cargo. But he’s no stranger to freight forwarding either – and this isn’t the first time he has worked with Mikael. They first met at Kuehne & Nagel and, when Tom heard of an opening at FREJA, he needed little encouragement to rejoin his past colleague. Tom brings more than six years of experience as a project manager at Vaasa Logistics and three-and-a-half as a sea exports forwarder. “I started in the business a little over 10 years ago, handling FCL/LCL export for large Finnish companies. I got into the industry almost by accident – I was looking for an internship and my teacher pointed me to a position in forwarding. I talked to the company, signed up for a job and, in fact, it was Mikael that took me into the field. The rest is history.” The FREJA difference Both Mikael and Tom have worked at large freight forwarders, and they know that a big organisation can be its own worst enemy. “If you want to be good at project forwarding, it helps to be smaller rather than large,” says Tom. “The beauty of being small or mid-sized is that you can be flexible and can quickly tailor solutions. Our network can be put together every time with the needs of the project in mind rather than having to use a rigid, owned infrastructure.” Beyond managing multiple deadlines and coordinating with widespread suppliers, another crucial factor for keeping the overall project on budget is the speed with which necessary documentation is processed. It’s vital because the sooner customers receive the House Bill of Lading, original invoices, certificates and other documentation in accordance with their Letters of Credit, the sooner the bank will release payment.

Project Forwarding is the process of moving and shipping cargo associated with specific projects, delivering them to their destinations in line with a strict schedule and at the budgeted cost. Typically, project forwarding customers come from industries related to oil, gas and energy, power generation, mining and metals, and infrastructure projects, requiring detailed loading, transport and off-loading procedures to facilitate, for example, the building of a power plant or a new factory. The project forwarder focuses on devising a plan that will deliver the bestperforming, safest delivery at   the lowest cost. FREJA’s project forwarding services include: •  Overall project management •  Feasibility planning •  Road, site and port surveys •  Site management

With all coordination conducted centrally from the Finnish office, and all shipping documents produced here, FREJA’s customers receive their documents as much as two weeks earlier than the industry norm. Continuous dialogue between project forwarder and customer keeps everything up-to-date, recording activities and checking off against a detailed plan.

•  Route optimisation •  Engineering assistance •  Legal support •  Cost optimisation

It’s a way of life When asked what makes FREJA’s project forwarding services stand apart from its competitors, Tom doesn’t hesitate: “I’d point to three key strengths: retail solutions, the commitment of our staff and the flexibility of our solutions.” “We live and breathe this industry,” adds Mikael. “You can always reach one of us. The commitment of the staff at FREJA is fantastic – and it shows in our 24/7 attitude – people arrive early and leave the office late. By choice. You need to think of it as a way of life.”  ∑

•  Heavy lift transportation   via land, sea, inland waterways or air •  Overwide/height/length and heavy cargo •  Chartering and escorting •  Authority and documentation management

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RAPID SOLUTIONS   Four times a week, cables are collected from the Ludwigsburg Service and Logistics Centre in Stuttgart and delivered to Drammen within 48 hours

THE DRAMMEN DAILY Daily shipments from Germany are vital for Miltronic   to meet local customer demand in Norway

At the Lapp Group’s production facilities in Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart, one of the world’s leading cable manufacturers produces around 200,000 different articles. These are shipped to different locations around Europe, including to Miltronic, Drammen in Norway. Here, Lapp’s cables for the oil and gas industry in particular are in heavy demand

Miltronic Norway needs to ensure it has enough products readily available in the local market, so it is vital that these products are transported promptly, regularly and securely from the production facilities. Christian Raak, Logistics Manager at Miltronic Norway, explains the importance of timely delivery from Stuttgart to Norway. “Because of the number of articles produced, it is impossible to have them all on stock in Norway. Yet there is heavy demand for our goods from our customers in Norway, which means we need to deliver them as quickly as possible. We really have to deliver as though we had production facilities in Norway.” In addition, customer orders vary greatly from day to day. Miltronic determined that the best solution was daily deliveries from Stuttgart to the distribution centre in Drammen. “We needed a reliable transport partner who could help us with daily express deliveries between these two locations,” says Christian Raak. Previously, goods were transported to Norway via Miltronic’s distribution centres in Sweden. However, this solution meant long lead times, frequent delays, and lack of information about transport en route. So a change was needed to speed up deliveries. From decision to action Christian Raak invited FREJA Norway to propose a solution. Such was the importance to Miltronic that a decision needed to be made fast and the new transportation solution needed to start as quickly as possible. One week later, FREJA collected its first delivery from Stuttgart and delivered it on time to Miltronic in Drammen. Geir Heiermo, Sales Director at FREJA Norway, explains, “Flexibility and quick action are important values to FREJA, so when I was contacted by Christian, I was confident we could meet the demands he set. We were quickly able to

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mobilise so that from the beginning we could collect cargo on a daily basis and deliver it within 48 hours.” Two-day delivery, four times a week The 48-hour delivery time was a stipulation of Miltronic as part of its goal to deliver quickly on customer orders. But there was an exception to the daily service. Miltronic did not want pick-ups on Thursdays. This was to accommodate the 48-hour delivery time, where a pick-up on Thursday would mean delivery to Norway on Saturday morning. Instead, a pick-up is made on Friday for delivery on Monday morning – another special requirement that FREJA has readily accepted. The pick-ups vary greatly in size, ranging from a single pallet up to ten loading meters. Airfreight was considered as an option, but between these two locations, it was not viable. Geir Heiermo says, “We were quite certain that road transport would be more reliable, partly because the cables we transport are heavy. Even the single pallets can weigh hundreds of kilos. Overall, it was the most cost-effective solution.”

But as can be expected, plans need to be open to change. Geir Heiermo talks about the time a bridge was closed on the road between Hamburg and Kiel: “As the driver couldn’t take his normal route, we needed to quickly reroute the vehicle. We managed to find an alternative route and make the ferry on time. It’s not always possible to make last-minute route adjustments like this, but so far, we have achieved a 98% success rate.” “We monitor the traffic with our advanced Fleet Management system and adjust the route when possible. That sometimes means using smaller roads. We talk about offering logistics solutions for a world in motion – and that’s what we do!” says Geir. Speed, reliability and cost are important factors for Miltronic to maintain a competitive edge. Christian Raak is very happy with the excellent relationship with FREJA, and says, “We made a fast decision to work with FREJA, based on an overall belief that our valuable goods would be handled in a proper way, and at a satisfactory budget. It is important to us that the deliveries are made at the agreed times on the agreed days, and this is what we get from FREJA.”  ∑

The usual route is by road from Stuttgart to Kiel, via Hamburg, and then by ferry from Kiel to Oslo. From Oslo, it is about a half hour’s drive to Miltronic in Drammen. This route has turned out to be up to 25 percent cheaper than routes through Sweden or Denmark, and these cost savings have added to Miltronic’s competitive advantage in Norway.

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ore than five hundred years ago, the Weiss family helped establish a messenger service between Austria and Italy. The service became a lasting success and grew through the ages into what is now Gebrüder Weiss, one of Europe’s leading transport and logistics companies. Now providing transport services around the world by land, sea and air, the company has around 6,000 employees and 150 company-owned locations and, in 2013, posted sales revenues of EUR 1.2 billion. Its impressive history and track record have been built upon strong family-owned values and a tradition of positive development in a changing world.

These values resonate strongly with FREJA and form part of the background to the newly formed cooperation between the two companies. The cooperation is intended to extend the groupage network of both organisations throughout Europe.

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For FREJA, this means it can provide customers with services in Austria, Switzerland, southern Germany and a number of central European countries. With this cooperation, Gebrüder Weiss customers gain increased access to FREJA’s stronghold in northern Europe and the Nordic countries. A best-in-class offering Jørgen Hansen, CEO of FREJA, looks forward to bringing the benefits of the cooperation to FREJA’s network: “Our two organisations share similar values, which are based on customer focus. Both companies place emphasis on customer intimacy and dialogue and are dedicated to creating value for customers. Running our business is a way of life and I believe this comes across in the daily operations of the business.” One objective of the cooperation is to create a strong, independent alternative to the global state-owned transport corporations.

Walter Konzett, Head of Product Management for Land Transport at Gebrüder Weiss

Gebrüder Weiss has chosen to enter into partnership with FREJA because of FREJA’s strength and solid development. Walter Konzett, Head of Product Management for Land Transport at Gebrüder Weiss, explains the benefits the partnership can bring to Gebrüder Weiss: “In terms of new capabilities, our customers will benefit from a stronger distribution service and more delivery points in the Nordic countries, with standardised lead times and track and trace capabilities. They will also gain access to excellent LTL and FTL services in these countries.”

He sees a good fit between the two organisations. “Both companies are family owned, strongly market-driven and flexible. I believe that together we offer a better alternative for customers than state-owned companies.” Jørgen Hansen agrees: “Both organisations bring something unique to the cooperation, but what we have in common is a strong, dedicated workforce of people who are truly interested in what the customers really want. Together, we are well-positioned to provide tremendous value to our customers’ businesses.”  ∑   Find out more about Gebrüder Weiss at

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Founder and CEO Niclas Rautamo (left) with business partner Tony Roos, at Rautamo's Finnish headquarters

FASHION FORWARD If you’re in the market for a new set of alloy wheels and you live in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia or Russia, chances are you’ll end up with products from Jakobstad, Finland-based Rautamo Wheel Fashion ‘Fashion’ in this progressive company’s name is no exaggeration. According to Rautamo’s founder, Niclas Rautamo, alloy wheels and accessories are all about fashion. “This is like the clothing business,” says Niclas. “Tastes change from season to season and you always have to have something on display from the latest collection.” He started the business in 1991 at the tender age of 20. Fresh out of military service, Niclas hadn’t planned to go into the wheel business. He simply knew he would have to find a way to put bread on the table – and the sooner he got started the better. A wheel success Others might have been discouraged by the reigning financial crisis at the time, but Niclas went against the prevailing wisdom (“no one is going to buy luxury wheels when times are hard!”) purchasing 40 wheels from a Finnish importer who was looking to reduce stock in a hurry. Getting the wheels for “a good price” was the first step toward success. The second step saw him sell all 40

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wheels within just two weeks. It was the beginning of what would turn out to be a highly rewarding journey. The very first consignment of wheels was imported from Germany on just one pallet. Four years later, the company began to sell beyond its local market, extending to all of Finland. Then, in 1999, Rautamo Wheel Fashion radically changed its business model from selling direct to consumers to wholesale only. It was a bold move that paved the way to open an office in Sweden during 2006, faithfully copying the Finnish concept. By 2013, the company was in Norway too, and in the Finnish market alone during 2013, over 90,000 individual wheels were sold. Nothing but the best Today, Rautamo Wheel Fashion is a thriving business, active in six countries. At the helm are Niclas and his close business partner, Tony Roos, who joined the company in 1995 and can take a large part of the credit for Rautamo Wheel Fashion’s progress.

ThinkForward Taking transport & logistics one step further 

“In our business we need to work with the best to become the best.”


“Behind our company’s success, I believe, is a combination of quality, personal service and flexibility,” says Niclas. He sees similar qualities in FREJA, the freight forwarder with whom he has now worked closely for around three years. In fact, working with suppliers that reflect his own company’s values is part of Rautamo Wheel Fashion’s business formula for success. The company’s website even makes the statement: “Suppliers we work with correspond to our high demands for certainty of delivery, financial strength, design and quality.” “In our business, we need to work with the best to become the best. For example, we have 10–12 leading brands today, including Brock, Oxigin, OZ Racing, Momo, Vossen, and Vertini. All of them stand for the best of quality. People want our wheels for both summer and winter tires, so high quality is important because of salt on the roads, too.” Efficient, timely delivery Thanks to internet-based systems, the company handles its impressive product and order volumes with relatively few staff. In Finland, for example, there are just six employees. Key to the business, too, is the ability to have wheels in stock and be able to deliver them quickly and reliably to customers in the Nordic region. Rautamo Wheel Fashion began to systematically use freight forwarding from Germany in 1994, trying out a variety of suppliers. Today, FREJA performs the vast majority of the work.






Deichmann Gebrüder Weiss Miltronic Rautamo

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“FREJA takes care of transport and distribution for us in various ways for Sweden, Finland and Norway. We’re shipping big cartons on pallets with truck service, with each pallet holding 60 pieces of 14–16 inch wheels or 40 pieces at 17-inch or larger. The goods are destined for car importers, tire dealers, leasing companies and other customers,” says Niclas. “FREJA is a very good supplier for us. They deliver on time with real attention to detail. And they have the same attitude to service that we encourage in our own company: it’s easy to reach them, you get an immediate reply and they’re very flexible.”

THINK FORWARD free of charge or for further information about our Group. FREJA TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS Denmark

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Tony Roos agrees: “Time is money and everyone is busy. You need to be very proactive to stay in the market – that goes for us and that goes for our suppliers, too.”

Copyright ©2014 FREJA Transport & Logistics A/S. All rights reserved. This material

From Rautamo Wheel Fashion’s elegant showrooms to the European brands it carries, everything fits the picture of a premium company that will continue to be a leader in its field. And FREJA is pleased to be helping along the way.  ∑

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F R E J A . C O M




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