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We encourage involvement

During periods of expansion, how do you ensure a business doesn’t lose its efficient decision-making structure and keeps everyone focused and feeling a sense of responsibility? One way is by behaving as though the business isn’t so large.

Important to encourage involvement as a company grows

Nolato has experienced considerable growth over the past few decades. When it was listed on the stock exchange back in 1984, the Group comprised four companies in Sweden with a workforce of 175 and annual sales of SEK 90 million. Today the Group employs 6,000 people and consists of over 30 wholly owned subsidiaries in Europe, Asia and North America, with combined sales of SEK 10 billion.

For some time, Nolato’s fundamental culture was built on ‘interaction between capable individuals with know-how, good ideas and a sense of responsibility creating a successful company’. 

Close relationships

In practice, this meant that the Group was made up of a number of smaller companies, each with between 50 and 100 employees, an enterprising CEO, a flat structural organization and a close relationship with all its employees.

When Ericsson’s vast plastics plant in Kristianstad with a thousand employees was acquired in 1997 – a move that can be regarded as the birth of the modern-day Nolato – the business was therefore swiftly divided into several companies. The aim was, at least in part, to be able to adapt conditions to Nolato’s somewhat more small-scale culture, with its strong focus on the customer and employee relationships.

Able to see the bigger picture

Today, 25 years on, customer focus and job satisfaction are still very much at the heart of our business. But it’s not about dividing up the business anymore, but rather about creating virtual companies within a company.

“Some time ago we identified a real need to take a more active approach to our ownership of the various streams within the company,” says Kristian Larsson, Sales Director at Nolato MediTech. “We needed to be even better at managing our existing customers, with clearer responsibility for the processes. “We realized that everyone involved in a customer relationship also needs to be able to see the bigger picture, not just the finer details.”

As a result, the company’s customer-related business was divided into five different value streams. Each value stream was assigned a value stream manager with ultimate responsibility for both customers and the employees who are part of the value stream.

The plant was also adapted to the value streams, and instead of employees who worked with specialist departments such as quality management, logistics or techno­logy being grouped with others in the same specialist function, everyone working within a single stream – regardless of function – relocated to the same premises. 

Clearer and more focused

“This simple move meant that the departments became secondary; it led to everyone working towards the same goal, with effective communication and efficient decision paths,” explains Kristian Larsson. “Another effect was that it created more contact between the various specialist areas, which simplified work within the value streams.

“The results have been that both customers and employees are now happier. There’s a natural ownership in our organization; everything has become clearer and more focused.”

Some of the other larger Nolato companies are also working based on the same principles to create ownership and focus. Nolato Contour in North America calls it customer-centric teams, while Nolato ­Hungary has flow managers. But it all amounts to the same aim: creating commitment and clarity that leads to good business and job satisfaction.



  • Nolato
  • Nolato Magasin

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