We share ownership of successes as well as challenges
They spend the whole working day together, cover for each other and strive towards the same goal – but have different employers. Ludvig Karlsson from Coor and Eddie Wennerstrand from Ica talk about the success factors behind Coor’s delivery at Ica’s central warehouse in Västerås.
At Ica’s central warehouse in Västerås, large-scale logistical machinery operates around the clock. At the 104,000 square metre facility, some 1,500 people perform all the tasks involved in receiving, handling and distributing a constant stream of grocery deliveries to Ica stores in the region.
“A one-hour stoppage can cost millions. That’s why proactive collaboration is our number one focus area,” says Eddie Wennerstrand, Logistics Property Manager at Ica Fastigheter.
“We can’t shut down individual parts of the facility. It is therefore extremely important to ensure that everyone who works here can report errors and that they do so,” Coor’s Site Manager, Ludvig Karlsson, adds.
The discussion between Eddie and Ludvig is lively and marked by agreement. They have different employers, but here at the facility it is the needs of the business that matter.
“We have a 1,500-page contract that explains how we should collaborate, and there are some parts that we still need to discuss occasionally, but to put it simply our common goal is for this property to be in good shape,” says Eddie. He and Ludvig agree that transparency is the key success factor in their collaboration.
“Every problem that arises here becomes a problem for both of us, so there is nothing to gain from hiding things from each other,” says Ludvig.
The current contract between Ica and Coor started in 2019 and covers technical systems, reception services and cleaning as well as other services. Eddie participated in the start-up work, which gave him the opportunity to influence the composition of Coor’s team.
“I noticed quickly that Ludvig has good qualities. He is quick and wants to learn. We are similar in many ways,” says Eddie. He himself was keen to learn about all aspects of the delivery when the partnership with Coor began.
“I put on a pair of overalls and spent a day as a trainee with each technician. I learnt a lot, and I felt that this inspired trust in the employees, and pride in their work.”
We work so much on the same things that we can cover for each other where needed.
On a normal working day, Ludvig and Eddie spend almost the entire day together, either in meetings or dealing with operational issues.
“It often happens that people think I work for Coor or that Ludvig works for Ica. We work so much on the same things that we can cover for each other where needed. This flexibility would not have been possible without Ludvig,” says Eddie.
The fact that Ludvig and Eddie work for different employers is not noticeable on a day-to-day basis, but external factors and central requirements sometimes affect the two companies in different ways. When required by new circumstances, the two managers negotiate professionally and formally with each other.
“We both know that if one party changes something in the way they do things it will affect the other, so we are keen to make the most of the situation,” says Ludvig. Despite working far from the head office in Stockholm, he has a strong sense of belonging to Coor.
“Coor is good at ensuring that you remain involved, for example through meetings and conferences where you get to meet other site managers. I get the support I need and feel proud to belong to the company.”
“Yes, you seem to have a lot of fun together,” Eddie comments, “and your inclusive culture is also noticeable here when you arrange joint activities for the staff.”
If we are to continue to grow the business, the first priority is to maintain this strong spirit of collaboration.
Three years into the collaboration, the central warehouse is facing a pleasant growth challenge. In the next few years, the facility in south-west Västerås will be expanded to become the largest in the country, initially by the addition of 13,000 new square metres for garden products, and in the next stage with a new 23,000 square metre freezer facility.
“I realise as we speak that this collaboration sounds too good to be true, but it is for real. If we are to continue to grow the business, the first priority is to maintain this strong spirit of collaboration,” Ludvig concludes.