We recently celebrated our fifteenth birthday by inviting our European colleagues to a jubilee in Gothenburg, Sweden. When reminiscing Greencarrier’s journey to what it is today, we took the opportunity to interview Stefan Björk and Björn Eklund, the two founders of the company. How did it all begin, where are we today and where are we going tomorrow?
Hello, Stefan and Björn! Stefan, would you like to tell us how this journey began?
The history of Greencarrier started when I got the opportunity to work with Evergreen, one of the world’s leading international shipping lines, in 1980. Soon we realised we needed a bigger team to manage the growing business. I met my business partner Björn Eklund in 1984, but it wasn’t until 1987 that we started working together, at Evergreen. Fifteen years ago we got the opportunity to make a management buyout, and that is the reason why we today celebrate fifteen successful years of building Greencarrier.
We were enthusiastic in the beginning, before we realised what we had done. We had one hundred percent of the business in Sweden, with a majority in Evergreen. If we had continued with that it would have been a good business, but we wanted more. Instead, we decided to create businesses in three different countries in Scandinavia; Sweden, Norway and Denmark, to build up a freight forwarding business. To combine the new freight forwarding business with Evergreen, we created Greencarrier. That decision is something we don’t regret today. Greencarrier now consists of 800 people, positioned in fourteen different countries.
Björn, how can you describe Stefan’s and your partnership through the years?
Stefan and I work as a team, with similar values but different roads to reach them. I am more detailed in processes and Stefan has more of an overall picture. This way we compliment each other. We can easily adjust our roles and management according to the development of certain questions and businesses. This means we both are where we need to be, doing what we do best. We both believe it is important to leave your comfort zone, and for that you need a partner you can trust. Two people can look at an idea with two different views. If one of us comes up with an idea, that person has to convince his partner it is a good one, before he can convince anyone else.
What does Greencarrier’s values mean to you and your customers?
The company values, Humour and Joy, Commitment and Involvement are important cornerstones for Greencarrier. It is about the people, their knowledge and motivation. For us, values are something that you have to live by, and not just something you say. We need to be involved, engaged and have some humour and fun to better serve our customers. Our values were formulated by our co-workers. We asked them to define the most important aspects of being a part of Greencarrier, aspects that they also wanted to permeate the whole company. If we were to define our values in ten or twenty years from now, they would probably remain the same.
Do you think it is important to be able to change as a company, in your industry?
The ability to change has become more important over the years. It is no longer about the big one eating up the small one, instead it is about the fast one eating up the slow one. The transport industry is not known for reacting fast to changes. Therefore, it is important for us to stay alert and have a close relationship with our customers to define their future needs. We want to continue to grow, expand and invest in the company, and change is a big part of that. The opposite is stagnation and if you stagnate, you will cease to exist. That is not an alternative for us, if you have started to grow and adapt to changes, you have to continue that way.
What should Greencarrier focus on in the future?
A constant strive for Greencarrier is to continue to grow, to become stronger and better. First and foremost we want to be even stronger in the nordic and the baltic region as well as China, since it is important for us to be close to our market. One of the many advantages with Greencarrier is that we work in a flexible way to advise our customers to make the best decisions, based on our customers’ needs. We want to be top of mind for reliable transport solutions. By being top of mind we mean creating good solutions and being available to our customers. It should be simple for both our existing and potential customers to always check with Greencarrier for a solution.
We are a well-established company with long experience and strong relationship to our customers. At the same time, we are the right size to quickly adjust and adapt to changes in the industry, to be able to grow. All 800 co-workers have to take part in pushing their own position and capability, for us to grow and be able to serve more customers in the best way possible. Our colleagues are everything, if it weren’t for them there would not be a Greencarrier.
How important is it for Greencarrier to go green?
The environment is the single most important question in our generation. Every business today needs to consider how they can contribute to a more sustainable future. Being a logistics and transport company is no exception. At Greencarrier we care about the environment and environmental protection is an important focus for our future. Our ambition is to be an environmentally friendly company that can provide environmentally friendly solutions. We advise, and work together with our customers to find better environmental solutions. We take environmental issues really seriously, we even acknowledge the question in our company’s name.
Stefan and Björn, thank you for sharing your thoughts and visions about Greencarrier and it’s future in the business of global transport solutions! Would you like to know more about Greencarrier? Please visit our Website. We also share our knowledge on our Blog.
/The Blogging Crew