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Focus on more skilled workers

A unique collaboration with Sentrum upper secondary school will create growth, efficiency and better access to relevant labor. The 50-year-old Glamox Luxo is preparing for the future with clear competence measures and the company's largest development project.

-Industrial companies in the Kongsvinger region believe that the supply of skilled workers is limited - especially in automation, and we want to help do something about this. Therefore, we have started a new project with Sentrum upper secondary school on the development of a robot that will produce the arm for the lamp series Trace, says factory manager at Glamox Luxo, Jan Hultman.

Company:  Glamox Luxo
Place: Near the church
Employees: 60

Phone: 62 94 92 00

The project had a planned duration of one year, but due to the corona and restrictions related to the pandemic, it has been extended to two years. However, the project continues to have positive ripple effects for both parties in the development cooperation despite the corona.

- The students get relevant competence and a sharp case to work with, while streamlining and future access to labor can be the effects for us. In the next few years, it will be very important to have employees who can work with modern technology and production, as well as improvement processes, says Hultman.

Will produce 25 percent more in five years

Glamox Luxo started up on 9 November 1970, and has now been a cornerstone company in Kirkenær for 50 years. At most, the company had 120 employees, but today the company has about 60 employees. Nevertheless, Glamox produces as much as during the staffing peak.

During 2020, the group has decided to close its factory in Målilla in Sweden, and production will mainly be moved to Estonia. However, five product families, with a total annual turnover of approximately NOK 50 million, will be moved to Kirkenær. Demands for profitability and tough competition in an international market have challenged Glamox Luxo to optimize production, which contributed to production being moved to Kirkenær.

Robotization, for example, is rationalization. But this frees up the capacity to focus on the right competence in a future perspective.

- We must be clear that we can not continue to run the same processes forever, then the other companies run away from us. Among other things, we can not compete on wages with Chinese companies, which is one-fifth of our expenses. If we do not do it well enough, we can be laid off, the factory manager explains. In five years, we will produce maybe 25 percent more with the same number of people, he adds.

Streamlining at all levels

The Grue company, which is the only one in the Glamox Luxo family to make arm-based products, has been working on better and smarter solutions for many years. Among other things, several robots have already found their way to the production facilities, it is sought that more processes can be run simultaneously and more coherently, and purchase prices are negotiated, in addition to what the factory manager calls "everyday rationalization" has been given a significant role.

- We receive approximately 250 improvement proposals from our own employees each year. It does not always lead to the big measures, but if you find a solution that makes the process five seconds shorter, this will have an effect in the long term, Hultman explains. Quality is also important, and we have a positive upward spiral in terms of production errors that take time to correct. The complaint cost is also only five per mille, and it should not be higher, he adds. 

Over the next five years, there will be major changes in staffing. About 15 employees are 62 years or older and need to be replaced. In addition, there are new products from Sweden that trigger the need for more employees. The factory manager is clear that new and relevant competence will be key words in the recruitment process.

- We want to be more efficient, but we will also create attractive jobs. When we are going to replace loyal and skilled employees who retire, we must look to the needs of the future. We will also focus on people who want to develop and who will contribute to the further development of the company, says Hultman.

Sustainability on the agenda

Glamox Luxo also thinks "future" in other ways. Among other things, we have worked actively with the UN's sustainability goals. The seven points that the Kirkenær company believes the company can really influence are hung on the wall in the canteen.

- Sustainability, environment, climate and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) are important focus areas with us, which are also followed up by our owners in Triton. We want to be among the best in the region in these fields, he says.

The future perspective is also taken care of in the form of the annual industry day, where school students can visit the companies to learn more, as well as the inclusion of the rehabilitation company Grue Service into the production premises at Kirkenær.

- Here we have 3-4 employees who contribute to the production and the finished products. This is a nice company with nice people that we are proud to have with us, says Hultman.

The biggest development project of all time

Glamox Luxo at Kirkenær is currently working on the company's largest development project in history.

- Desk lamps have been the toughest market in recent years, and therefore we have chosen to take some big steps in the search for new customers. In 2020, we have come up with a new series of lamps, with a total of 21 models, which stand out in the market with their design, different applications, modern technology and several color options. Everything is produced here at Kirkenær, and we have great faith in these products, Hultman explains.

In other words; the future undoubtedly looks bright for the lamp manufacturer at Kirkenær.

Text and photo: John Kristian Stand

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