Keeping it in the Family – Caroline Andersson, CEO, EMVE

EMVE, which manufactures high-quality machines for handling vegetables and fruit, has benefitted from close ties, lifelong commitment, and trusted partnerships for decades, as its CEO Caroline Andersson explains.

There’s something special about a family business, something EMVE’s CEO Caroline Andersson knows only too well. The fourth generation to steer the Swedish engineering experts to new heights, Caroline has grown up at EMVE and after taking over from her father Bengt, and is now making her mark on the company.

She says: “I have been working for EMVE for my whole adult life. It’s my passion, my life, my second home. I love what we do, from our customers to partners around the world, there’s never a dull moment.”

Founded by Edvin Andersson in 1916, EMVE has grown from its roots as an agricultural machine servicer to designing and manufacturing machinery of its own, primarily for the handling of potatoes, vegetables, and fruit. This encompasses both small and larger production lines, with scope for customisation and close cooperation with clients as standard. Caroline witnessed the growth of EMVE under her father’s stewardship in the seventies, but despite great success, times have changed: “My father was CEO for almost 40 years – I stepped into his shoes five years ago when he retired, but he still drops by the office one or twice a week. I have changed the way we work, especially when it comes to dealing with our customers – it’s important to evolve as a company.”

What do these changes look like on the ground? First and foremost, it’s about developing a relationship with clients: “It’s in the meeting where the magic occurs,” says EMVE in its mission statement. The company is committed to really listening to customer goals before tailoring design and production solutions accordingly. It’s this dedication to getting under the skin of client needs – and nurturing the relationship for the long-term – that makes EMVE different. Indeed, it’s this focus on clear and open communication that Caroline feels she has best implemented.

EMVE has a long, distinguished history.

“I am passionate about communication, both internally and with customers,” she explains. “My aim is for every employee to share the same goal. Is there room for error? Of course. But when something goes wrong, we learn and we correct it the next time round. We never stop learning and listening.”

Proud of being a “turn-key solution” for its customer base, EMVE can handle bigger projects, buy machines from other suppliers, and add them into their own line of machines. This one-stop shop approach is a key strength and results in efficient solutions for clients.

Naturally, a strong supplier network forms part of this picture.

“Our longest-standing machine supplier relationship has lasted for more than 40 years. Like any long-term relationship, it’s built on trust. We always say we are more like a family,” says Caroline. Strategic supplier relationships are a foundation on which many successful companies are built, and EMVE is no exception.

“The benefits of positive and healthy supplier relationships are second to none,” EMVE’s CEO says. “We chat to people from all over the world, building trust and positivity as we go. This is how we have been able to sell machines to countries including Canada, India, and South Africa – we work as a team all over the world and support each other out more than we compete.”

In the age of COVID-19, a united global outlook is more important than ever before. While EMVE is positioned in the relatively safe food sector and Sweden has escaped the most draconian of lockdowns, Caroline recognises that there are still virus-centric challenges to face: “The world needs businesses to start up and get moving again and we need our customers to be willing to invest in their facilities and machines. The food sector is an interesting case: we have not been too affected because people will always need to eat at home. Our customers who work with restaurants or schools, for example, have seen a big drop in turnover. Conversely, customers in the veg packaging industry are having a bumper year.”

Looking to the future – one in which virus is but a memory – Caroline has big plans for the company. ​My goal is to increase turnover, mostly with the same body of staff. I want to help grow the organisation to be the leanest and most efficient it can be,” she asserts.

In the longer-term, there’s another ambition at EMVE, one that is particularly close to Caroline’s heart.

“EMVE is focused on sustainability,” she says. “And while there’s plenty to improve, we are already making progress. We use sustainable energy harnessed through solar panels on our roof, and next up could be making the switch to electric hybrid vehicles. Improving digitalisation is also key, as is pushing this down through the food chain.”

Testament to its sustainability goals, EMVE is now cooperating with The Nature & Environmental Book – a teaching component in environmental knowledge ​that provides emerging generations with nature and environmental knowledge, creating conditions for a better environment in the future.

“All our machines need to become more sustainable, too,” Caroline continues. “Imagine the power and energy used by processing plants…we are thinking about how to design machines that only run when in use – that kind of thing. Will it cost more? Yes, a little, but this seems a small price to pay when you are helping to save the world. I want every company in the world to work with sustainable values and to take care of our earth. Life is not just about making money; one has to be responsible and one has to do it properly.”

Read the full article here.

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