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Spirit of adventure

Spirit of adventure

02/01/2012 | Channel: Logistics / Packaging

Having spent the last four years making significant improvements to all of its operations, Lagena Distribution is now ideally poised to extend its footprint across the Nordic region

“It was 1995 when the company was established with a vision to make it a major logistics service provider within the wine and spirits industry in Sweden,” states Per Öhagen, chief executive officer of Lagena Distribution. “Since its first day in operation it has been growing, in the last several years quite substantially, taking on new business opportunities as well as many new customers.

“In its home market of Sweden, where it focuses all of its efforts on providing beverage service logistics to wine and spirits companies, Lagena Distribution holds a market share of some 30 per cent. All of its resources and competences are specially geared towards catering to the requirements of international producers and national importers, which have come to be the company’s core cliental. Outside of Sweden, Lagena Distribution is now working diligently to target new business within the Nordic monopoly markets, namely Norway and Finland. Customers in these countries include producers and importers selling their products to hotel chains, restaurants, catering companies and wholesales, but also duty free stores selling goods at airports and onboard ships.”

Naturally a business does not simply become a leader in its field of expertise without having qualities that others do not possess and, as Per goes on to explain, Lagena Distribution has many: “The company’s position in the market comes, first and foremost, as a result of its inherent strengths. Not only has it proven to be able to handle significant volumes of orders, but also that it is able to provide a quality, cost effective service.

“One of the messages the company tries to convey on a daily basis is that it is a total supply service provider. Over the last four years it has been growing and developing the way it works with its customers to fulfill all their supply chain needs. This means the company can now carry out all of the handling of the wine products from producers all over the world, from South Africa and Chile to Australia and Italy. Through its various processes and its strong international network of inbound logistics partners, Lagena Distribution is able to deliver its goods right through to the end user, controlling and co-ordinating everything from transportation to customs taxes and duties.”

The company’s modern warehouse facility also allows it to cater for its customers product in the right way as does its order fulfillment process and its quality distribution service: “The core distribution network that Lagena Distribution has built up enables it to consolidate its customers orders and deliver these at high service levels at a competitive rate in terms of pricing. This system is so well regarded that today it delivers regularly to almost 5000 end receivers,” Per enthuses.
Towards the end of 2010, Lagena Distribution was acquired by the JF Hillebrand group, a global logistics and transport provider also operating in the wine and spirits industry: “Under these new owners the company has really stepped up its plan to grow, not just across the Nordic region, but in its home market as well,” Per says. “In the last few months the company has signed three year contracts with both Arvid Nordquist and Vingruppen, the largest importer in Sweden. Attaining such major contracts is clearly something that the company is very proud of and the association with such entities will only have a positive influence in the coming years as it continues to expand.”

Current business conditions do contrast quite dramatically with the situation Per first found the company in when he joined Lagena Distribution four years ago: “At that time the business was not in a very healthy situation when it came to its customer portfolio or its financial performance. It has only really been over the last three years that the company has turned itself around and made itself more flexible by expanding its services into the supply chain area, in turn winning new contracts and placing itself in a much more profitable situation. The overwhelming consensus from its customers is that the company has evolved in a very positive way and is well and truly on the right track. Every year it conducts a comprehensive customer survey and that which was held in 2011 shows that overall assessment of its services, quality and corporation has improved from a mark of 3.9 to 4.2 on a five point scale since 2010.”

With the competitive landscape particularly intense in Sweden and its fellow Nordic countries, Lagena Distribution finds itself faced with the challenges that this situation presents: “An increasing number of new businesses are entering the industry and therefore it becomes even more important for an established figure like Lagena Distribution that it is able to easily meet the increasing service demands of its customers,” Per says. “This scenario means the company has to be forever on its toes, yet with the support of its owners, its strong existing knowledge and its built in degree of knowledge in the wine and spirits market, Lagena Distribution is convinced it has the qualities needed to take on many new clients and thus grow in size and scope.

“Growth is critical to the future of the business and as it continues to develop its services so to will it improve its profitability. Together with JF Hillebrand, Lagena Distribution is looking at how best to strengthen its joint business model through various synergies and by utilizing an established international network of customers and partners. In the years to come Lagena Distribution can easily become a major player in counties like Russia and other Nordic states and that is something all of its employees look forward to seeing happen in
due course.”

Lagena Distribution AB
Employees 200 approx
Services Logistics