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The 1970s



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Reaching for New Markets

In the mid '70s, Nefab started to broaden the customer base in Sweden by reaching out to export companies in Sweden that needed qualified packaging solutions for long distance shipments of sensitive industrial products. Nefab also started to build up a network of agents and distributors in Europe, who would serve as channels for packaging products like the Vikex box. The innovative Vikex box increased the market potential significantly for Nefab, since it could be shipped internationally to resellers. In 1978 Ing-Marie Nordgren and Jochum Pihl start working in the company.

Shifting Focus

Preparing to Broaden the Customer Base

At the start of the 1970s, Nefab was still facing challenges presented by the new, big business from LM Ericsson. The magnitude of this new business had put Nefab to the test in many ways, including a doubling of the workforce in just a few short years. In the middle of the decade, LM Ericsson announced that their need for packaging was potentially going to decline, meaning that Nefab should not expect the same volumes going forward. LM Ericsson believed that their new and smaller transistors would mean less required demand for packaging. As a response to the announcement from LM Ericsson, Nefab decided to strengthen the focus of finding new customers among export companies in Sweden, thus making sure that any lost volumes from their major customer was balanced with new business.

At this time, Hans-Elov also initiated efforts to build up a network of agents and distributors in European markets, which would become new channels for Nefab’s packaging products. Some of the markets targeted via agents and distributors were Switzerland, England, Germany, France, Holland and Belgium.

Nefab's First Returnable Concept
Nefab's First Returnable Concept

Introducing the Returnable Pallet Collar

As Nefab’s know-how in packaging grew throughout the ‘70s, as new products were invented and brought to the market. In 1974, a new returnable plywood packaging solution was brought forth – the returnable plywood pallet collar. The product gained traction fast, and one of the first customer was Åhléns, a chain of Swedish department stores. This product was very flexible in terms of size (height) and was also lightweight, which made handling easy, which was a perfect fit for a department store like Åhléns!

Technology Improves Production
Technology Improves Production

Manufacturing Becomes Computerized

In the 1970s, a clever production engineer named Per Klockarns built the first computer for Nefab’s production. The computer was used to steer and control the steel profile mill, which produced the steel profiles for the lids and bottoms of the Vikex boxes. These steel profiles also gave the Vikex solutions their signature look! Many of the machines and tools used at that time were built by Per Klockarns and Hans-Elov Nordgren.

Passing the Torch
Passing the Torch

A New Generation Joins Nefab

In 1978, Hans-Elov Nordgren’s daughter, Ing-Marie, and her husband, Jochum Pihl, start working at Nefab. Jochum starts as a production manager, with the task to drive production efficiency improvements. Ing-Marie primarily works with export and marketing related activities.