Scan Magazine | Business Profile | TePe
in the long-term it’s fruitful and important.” This no-shortcuts approach is part of the TePe DNA, with beginning-to-end control being key to its success: despite an annual turnover of around 450 million SEK and export to over 50 countries, everything from R&D to production and testing still takes place in Malmö in southern Sweden. “This has always been a natural choice, and a way for us to control and guarantee top quality,” explains the CEO. “At the same time, being able to create jobs in Sweden is a motivation, and it feels like more and more businesses are seeing the benefits of centralising production to Sweden – which is great news for the labour market as well as the economy as a whole.” Interdental hit and expansion Recent years have seen several new additions to the product portfolio, the conquering of new markets, and new and improved channels of distribution, including this year’s introduction of TePe’s products at one of Sweden’s largest, most-loved supermarket chains, ICA. But amongst the most crucial turning points in the company history, according to Eklund, was the increased investment in interdental brushes, initially a result of close
collaboration between Eklund’s father and industry professionals, introduced onto the market in the ’90s, and now by far the company’s most important product category.
It was also the success of the interdental brush that enabled significant international growth for the company, which has grown from an almost exclusively Swedish trader in the 1990s to an international player with subsidiaries in four countries and export through external distributors in more than 50 countries. The first step was the successful launch of the German subsidiary in 1998, pushed through by Eklund’s predecessor, then-CEO Birgitta Nilsson, eventually leading to similar developments in the Netherlands and Italy. Since then, TePe has also acquired a distributor in the UK, now one of its most important markets, and can be spotted on the shelves of, among others, Boots.
A proud family business man, Eklund maintains that his own motivations are honest and simple: “That we produce high-quality products marketed under our own TePe brand, improving oral health around the world, means that I can be whole-heartedly proud of the company and our offering,” he says. “But I also take pride in our international expansion, with a subsidiary in Germany since 1998 and colleagues in five different countries from a wide range of backgrounds. Among my colleagues are professionals ranging from dental hygienists to control engineers and graphic designers, all highly skilled in their fields.” With 25 per cent of all toothbrushes bought in Sweden made by TePe, and a market leading position for interdental brushes in Sweden, Germany, the UK and other markets, what is the secret? “Our success is not based on secrets,” the CEO insists. “I have a great team of committed colleagues, all our products are made in Sweden, of exceptional quality and functionality, and supported by the dental profession. That’s it.”
For more information, please visit: www.tepe.com
CEO Joel Eklund
Issue 67 | August 2014 | 89
Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with Tim Schou.