A perspective with experience
“There are many ways in which you notice that the company cares about its employees. We work at a family company which, instead of taking out all the money, invests it and leaves money in the company.
Ola Davidsson was just a teenager when he started working at Gnosjö Automatsvarvning. Today he is production manager for NC and can testify to how the company has developed over the years.
“I started here right after ninth grade. Well actually, I started a little bit before then and worked a little and studied a little. But when I finished ninth grade, I started here full time. So it’s true, I’ve seen a lot over the years.
In the beginning I was allowed to do a little bit of everything. Operated machines, drove forklifts, involved in post-processing. But automatic curve machines became more and more common, i.e. an automatic curve lathe that makes simple pieces.
When they bought an NC lathe, I had to switch over to working with that. Then we could start making more advanced pieces. And that was really the start of a major change. If someone had come to me with what we manufacture today, and showed it to me 25–30 years ago, I would have stood there open-mouthed. So we increasingly switched from automatic curve machines to CNC and now we only have one automatic curve machine left.”
“Today I’m responsible for our CNC department and ensure that we get done what needs to get done. And all that it entails: planning, distribution and various decisions. And performing a bit of magic when needed. Above all else I’m responsible for staff as well.
The most important thing is being able to listen to our staff, I think. And that they know they can talk to me and that I’ll listen to their thoughts and wishes. It doesn’t even need to be work-related, just something that helps make them feel happy. If you can go to work and feel happy then you’ve probably doing a good job.”
Future and tall tales
“Looking to the future and thinking about new employees who will join us, I’d like to see curious young men and women with a good head on their shoulders and who have learned something at school.
You don’t need to know everything, just that there’s an interest in learning more. But if I had to wish for something, it would be that the schools and training courses gave students more knowledge about measurement and how to read drawings. Otherwise it’s a very steep learning curve when they start working. You can learn how to use the actual machines here, that’s no problem. I did so myself once upon a time. I was a teenager and most people who worked here were around 18 years old. Sometimes we had snowball fights in the factory, maybe it was obvious that we weren’t that old! A classic was also gluing together someone’s clogs. We didn’t have super glue so you had to make an effort and do it over the weekend so it really stuck.”
Environmental thinking inside and out
“One thing where Gnosjö Automatsvarvning has always been ahead of the crowd is how to think and work with the environment. For example, we have a system for all the oil so that we can reuse it for heating and we have solar panels and things like that.
But I’m thinking maybe even more about what we’ve done with the environment in here as well, the work environment. From heavy lifting and poor air full of smoking oil to all machines having their own exhaust and cranes for materials so that no one needs to strain their backs, etc. These things make a huge difference.”
Security and transparency
“Then there are many ways in which you notice that the company cares about its employees. We work at a family company which, instead of taking out all the money, invests it and leaves money in the company. It’s like a safeguard for those of us who work here. We cope with fluctuations in the market, we coped with the recession in 2009 with pretty much all the staff still here, and we have better conditions than many others in the current Corona situation.
Personally, it gives me a sense of security, and I think that the majority who work here feel the same. It’s also reinforced by the openness that exists in the company. We have monthly meetings with all employees so that everyone is aware of how things are going for us and what’s happening.
I don’t know what it’s like at other companies because I’ve never worked anywhere else but I can compare it to what I hear from people I speak to. At the most they’re told that “it’s going well” or possibly if they’ve beaten some production or sales record. While we get to know every month what the order backlog is, how it compares to the budget that’s been set, and what the different sections cost.
I think that transparency helps not just to make everyone feel more involved, but it also builds an enormous sense security in everyone who works here.”