We caught up with Goran Wadsten after his recent trip to SnackEx in Berlin, where the company exhibited, networked and met potential customers. Wadsten believes trade fairs are worth attending.
"The quality of attendees was good despite a lower quantity," he said. Rosenqvists was founded (initially as a blacksmith) over 110 years ago in 1898. For the last 35-40 years, Rosenqvists has concentrated on two major areas of operation, being advanced irrigation systems for crops including potatoes and, acting as a sub supplier of food machinery for a variety of clients, manufacturing equipment related to fryers, blanchers, dryers and freezers.
The company, due to its long-term experience in manufacturing equipment indirectly for the food industry and for "a variety of reasons" said Wadsten, last month re-branded under the new name Rosenqvists Food Technologies; a private equity firm with a new team and fresh approach.
"We're now taking our production within food processing technologies one step further with a team of experts - all with profound experience from process and manufacturing business," Wadsten explained.
"This is a really exciting time for us. We offer clients complete and customised solutions from process design to manufacturing and installation.
"As a team, our goal is to create complete, value-added solutions for the food industry, with focus on process lines for chips, snacks and French fries."
"We can now develop our own range of equipment while at the same time take on the responsibility and control of designing and developing customised machines under our own brand - and as individuals with a variety of backgrounds and our own workshops, we feel this was a reason to develop our own brand," Wadsten reasoned.
With each team member contributing experience from a different area of the food industry such as freezing or processing, the new company says it can supply complete potato and food-oriented processing lines to the food industry clients "based on our design, being built at our own factory," said Wadsten, who has worked for several major companies in various fields. The sales manager who is an engineer by trade said being a sub-supplier means you become dependent on others and global sources can become threats.
"We supply everything locally," Wadsten said.
"Our processing side will be fairly focused on potatoes as well as other root vegetables. With an export rate of about 95 per cent, our main markets will be in Europe, Scandinavia and the Middle East."
The company has identified three types of customers: two types of potato processors and the snack food industry. On the processing side, Rosenqvists are component suppliers to well-established global processing giants like McCain, Farm Frites or Simplot who need only a section of an entire processing line installed, such as a new frying system. Secondly said Wadsten, they are single source suppliers to smaller countries like Kazakhstan or Ukraine who need a new and complete French fry line that comes from a single source. The global snack food industry is the company's third customer base.
The company was launched officially on 1st June and on the food technology side, has a team of 16 in the design, sales and service departments.
Rosenqvists has created a focused product line and clear target markets, focusing (for now) on Europe, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. In terms of processing Rosenqvists will manufacture up to 80 per cent of complete lines excluding cutting equipment and steam peelers; predominantly for potato processing and snack food clients. French fry lines include those for coated -and special potato products. Chip lines include those for low-fat and batch-style chips.
"Our main target customers are in the range of spud processing, fries, snack food. For example, if a multinational sets up a new plant, we are interested in supplying some of the main components," Wadsten said. He said the company covers all bases, manufacturing potato chip lines from 500kg/hr up to a three tonnes/hr crisp lines and French fry lines up to a capacity of 25/30tonnes/hr of finished products.
Their competitive advantage said Wadsten, is experience and variety.
"In our team, the person with the least industry experience has 10 yrs up his sleeve. Our range of experience covers 35 years, much of which is related to the processing side. We believe we have the knowledge and the know-how.
"We have observed that companies are looking for more from the manufacturing side of equipment - and we also look more closely at the final consumer product. For example, fryers need to have very low oil in the system otherwise the product just isn't fresh ... we do coated fries and wedges which need less pick up," he reasons.
A comprehensive website is vital in today's environment, said Wadsten, who adds he is enthusiastic about joining a small team after years of working for a multinational. Rosenqvists' website is maintained in-house.
"E-marketing is vital. For example, a processor in Nigeria may want to build a potato crisp line and needs information, there and then. The first thing one would do is access information on the web."
Rosenqvists strengths will also lie in its efficient supply chain management, which Wadsten said will be more controlled, streamlined and cost-effective.
"We will be much more flexible, also with our research and development departments."
As for future challenges, Wadsten said competition is strong and running a tight ship is important.
"You can sometimes try to do everything and then dilute yourself. It's important to stay focused. We will focus on Europe. It's a competitive industry. With all our knowledge, software included, adding to the manufacturing under our own roof will help our lead/delivery times more flexible."