After one year in the role, Nord-Lock Group’s new CEO, Fredrik Meuller, is highly enthusiastic and optimistic about the growth path the company is on. Here he focuses on how he is positioning the Group to provide even more customers with world-leading secure bolting solutions.
Now 48 years old, Fredrik Mueller joined Nord-Lock with a solid track record at several world-leading companies, including J.P. Morgan in finance, McKinsey in management consulting and Trelleborg in engineered polymer solutions. His combined technical and business experience puts him in a great position to catalyse even faster growth at Nord-Lock, building on the strong foundations the group already has.
“I’m very happy to say that the company was doing extremely well already before my arrival,” says Fredrik. “But, at the same time, I see that we’ve really only scratched the surface of what we can potentially do. By building upon our unmatched strengths in customer focus, innovation, and quality, we can offer the bolting market so much more. This means exciting opportunities to serve more customers and more markets with bolting innovations. To achieve this, we’ve been selectively scaling up our organisation and increasing market penetration over the past year.”
Flexing muscles to support customers and innovation
Nord-Lock Group is today the world leader in secure bolting solutions with customers such as Siemens, Deutsche Bahn, Alstom, Sandvik, etc. The company has a global footprint and local presence based on 600 employees and four technology brands: Nord-Lock®, SuperboltTM, BoltightTM, and Expander®. Nord-Lock wedge-locking washers were the first innovation and the foundation of the Group, and the Superbolt, Boltight and Expander technologies were acquired individually over the years (2011 – 2016) and very successfully integrated to form what has become Nord-Lock Group.
Now the group is clearly flexing its muscles, essentially growing and expanding in all areas, as it moves to get closer to more customers –by opening new offices in numerous strategic locations. It’s also hiring new talent and personnel, both to support customers and to continue to innovate in what can sometimes be a rather conservative industry. And, of course, its delivery excellence is further improving as new plants are being built to meet increasing global demand for its products.
Saving lives is an incredible achievement
Those unique products help secure bolted joints and other applications where failure is clearly not an option. “At the end of the day,” observes Fredrik, “the solutions we sell increase safety and save lives. It’s very hard to put a price tag on that. Every employee, starting with the skilled professionals on the factory floor, and through the entire staff and management organisation, is aware and proud of the fact that we help protect lives and valuable investments.”
Lack of awareness is the competitor
When asked who his biggest competitor is, Fredrik doesn’t hesitate for a second. “Ignorance. And I mean this in a positive way,” he explains. “Many people simply aren’t aware of the very broad range of problem solving solutions we can deliver to secure and protect equipment, investments and people. They may be using adhesives or double nuts to secure their bolted joints but our seemingly simple wedge-locking washer can do it better, while saving big money in the long run. The same positive scenario applies for the other product lines and innovative technologies we have developed – but awareness is the issue. While many companies already recognise us as a global partner, whose expertise and competence is the key to helping them with their challenges, others have yet to realise this. As we build more awareness about our expertise with more people, the sales will naturally follow.”
To be the leader in secure bolting, says Fredrik, you must be good in maybe 10 different criteria in areas like regular testing, quality inspections, certificates of conformity, as well as technical expertise, industry knowledge, global reach and local presence. “We meet, and exceed, all of these criteria, which guarantee we deliver premium quality and service. That knowledge helps both our customers and ourselves to sleep well.”
Value based on avoiding breakdowns
Nord-Lock Group is moving forward every day to improve its offering even further, fully intending to remain the worldwide market leader, based on products that deliver superior overall value to any customer who is wise enough to do a quick total-cost-of-ownership calculation.
“The bottom line is simple: We deliver superb value. When we show customers that we can solve their problems, make operations safer, and also increase efficiency to reduce downtime and operating costs, they see it’s worth a lot of money. That’s why the company is growing so rapidly; when customers calculate the long-term financial benefits, they realise they’re getting great value.”
Make no mistake about it: The company’s products are all premium grade solutions to tough bolting and engineering challenges. However, that doesn’t mean that every assignment is a high profile reference project such as the Shinkansen bullet train in Japan, the ITER nuclear fusion project in France, or the Øresund Bridge tunnel between Denmark and Sweden. Nord-Lock Group has thousands of customers covering an extremely broad spectrum of industries and sectors, spanning from the biggest nuclear projects to small electrical appliances in the home.
Both the high profile references and the extremely broad spread of applications are illustrations of the enviable market position Nord-Lock Group has built. “The wide product range of leading bolting technologies is a great asset for us,” reiterates Fredrik, “and we are constantly innovating to meet future customer needs. Innovation is our foundation and a natural part of our DNA. Our challenge, however, is to make more people more aware of our solutions.”
“This is a very privileged situation, allowing us to fairly easily commercialise and globalise our products for further growth. Of course, we are improving them, such as with newly developed digital tools and Apps, but a key priority is building more awareness in all markets about the clear cut value these products deliver. This value comprises safety, security, uptime, and maintenance aspects, which give direct beneficial impact on both costs and profits. To be able to positively influence all these factors with a relatively inexpensive bolting solution adds up to a great value proposition.”
New tools based on digital advances
As examples of some new developments, Fredrik cites the recently launched Superbolt tool and the Expander Toolbox, as well as other new products about to be introduced. The Superbolt tool provides a fast and accurate method of applying torque to multiple jackbolts at the same time, giving benefits in total efficiency due to faster tightening and untightening, and improved maintenance planning and scheduling.
The Expander Toolbox App allows users to access a database of 60,000 datapoints related to pivot pins – covering all possible machines and applications. So the user simply enters the make, model and position on the machine they are using, and the correct pivot pin is identified and can be delivered within 24 – 48 hours.
The bottom line is that Nord-Lock Group is in a unique position to leverage its strengths of quality, innovation, and customer focus, to support anyone facing a bolting challenge. And it is totally willing to do so. “We have a wealth of knowledge and competence in dealing with challenging bolted joint applications, and we are happy to share it,” concludes Fredrik.
“If something is important and valuable to you, we can help secure the joints holding it together. To explore this, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.”
Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 10 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.
Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.