Long partnership forges strong ties
In 1973, Ahola Transport delivered its first export cargo to a little plant in Söråker in central Sweden. Forty-five years later, the Swedish wire manufacturer Pacwire is still a loyal customer.
Pacwire’s President Svante Fielding sees a bright future for the company and wants to continue its co-operation with Ahola Transport.
Pacwire is located in Timrå, Sweden, north of Sundsvall. The company was established in 1923 but since then has moved, changed owners and chosen to focus on manufacturing galvanised baling wire for the pulp, textile and recycling industries.
“In the beginning, we manufactured nails and wire at this plant but after our new owner took charge in 1986, we have focussed on wire,” says the company’s President Svante Fielding.
Today, Pacwire manufactures roughly 12,000 tonnes of wire annually and has an extensive industrial clientele.
“We are unique to our customers because we are the only Nordic wire supplier and have a large inventory. That means we can deliver within 48 hours to basically anywhere in the Nordics,” explains Fielding.
From Timrå to Uruguay
With 28 employees and a turnover of some 100 million krona (EUR 10 million), Pacwire is not a large plant. Regardless, the small company dominates the Nordic markets and is a global leader with customers as far away as Uruguay, New Zealand and Canada.
Globally speaking, customers are drawn to Pacwire’s quality and flexibility. The same applies to the Nordic markets where they are close to many important customers, especially in the paper industry.
“Our closest customer is just across the bay,” says Fielding pointing to the large Timrå pulp mill.
Punctual and professional
It is on the Nordic and Baltic markets where the co-operation with Ahola Transport comes in. Ahola is a well-known name at Pacwire, both in the office and on the shop floor. Roughly half of all the transports leaving the plant do so on Ahola Transport’s trucks.
“Two to three full loads leave here each week,” explains Anette Edström who handles transport contacts at Pacwire.
According to Pacwire, it is Ahola Transport’s punctuality that mostly stands out and is the reason why Ahola transports such a large share of the cargo.
“Loading and unloading reliability are also excellent. Ahola’s punctuality is usually spot on and communication works perfectly,” says Edström.
This is partly why Pacwire uses Ahola Transport to make deliveries that need to make it to a Nordic destination in under 48 hours.
“Our co-operation is great. You always know who to contact and they are easy to reach,” says Edström.
The good co-operation goes both ways. Business Unit Manager Markus Käld at Ahola Transport is also happy.
“We’ve known each other a long time and even though people have come and gone, we have maintained good communications.”
Pacwire’s wire is thus able to roll out safely and on time in Ahola Transport’s trucks to customers in Finland, Norway, the Baltic countries and Sweden. In addition, Ahola Transport handles the initial Nordic portion for long-distance cargo destined for Russia, for example.
Family ownership allows snap decisions
In addition to good co-operation, the companies have something else in common. Pacwire is partly owned and run like a family company, just like Ahola Transport. Behind Pacwire is the family-owned Berg Group.
“The owner is just a phone call away. They participate in operations and are very involved in the company. It is definitely an advantage,” says Svante Fielding.
The small size of Pacwire and Berg Group makes a big difference.
“I’ve worked in major companies like Rolls Royce and Caterpillar. Large companies have benefits in terms of structure and resources that small companies lack, but small companies make up for it with strong flexibility and fast, straightforward decision-making,” says Fielding.
Small is flexible
Ahola Transport also appreciates small companies. They are flexible and communication is easy.
“Pacwire has an uncomplicated and well-functioning setup. They often provide us with full loads and their position in central Sweden is ideal for us,” says Markus Käld.
Svante Fielding agrees: Pacwire’s location in a small town is no problem.
“I think our operations work well in a small place. Less traffic, but close to the harbour, railway and the E4. We have our own dock where we receive wire from suppliers in Europe. A ship can bring us enough wire for a whole month’s production.”
Pacwire used to import its wire from Finland and the Dalsbruk rolling mill, but when it went under they were forced to turn to Continental Europe.
Fifty more years
The similarities between Pacwire and Ahola Transport don’t end with the ownership structure. Just like Ahola Transport, Pacwire has opted for a strong focus on customers. The final product, complete with delivery and packing, is always the result of close, flexible co-operation.
“That is something many customers value. We can easily adjust our production to other dimensions and other packing methods. A small thing can mean a lot to the customer,” says Fielding.
The long history shared by Ahola Transport and Pacwire is another reason for the good partnership. The fact that the first contact between Pacwire and Ahola Transport took place in 1973 when the current CEO Hans Ahola drove Ahola Transport’s first-ever export load to Pacwire is undoubtedly significant.
Ahola appreciates the long-standing relationship with Pacwire so much that Pacwire got an award in 2015, which now hangs on the wall of Pacwire’s meeting room.
“It’s always great to feel appreciated as a customer,” says Edström.
Although Pacwire is now a customer and not a consignee, the relationship between the companies has lasted almost 50 years. Both look forward to 50 more. Currently, Pacwire is working on increasing its production and efficiency. There is demand and when transports increase in the future, they hope that Ahola Transport will come and deliver that cargo as well.
“The sector is doing well and there is no reason that Ahola Transport shouldn’t get a larger share of our deliveries in the future,” says Svante Fielding and Anette Edström agrees.
In 2015, Pacwire received an award from Ahola Transport as one of its oldest customers. Anette Edström, who is a contact person for Ahola, is happy with the partnership.