by Liz White, editor
Norwegian slabstock machinery maker Laader Berg has a business approach that seems hard to beat: it invented the Maxfoam concept for making slabstock polyurethane foam and still focuses solely on developing the machines to their utmost potential, said Ragnar Kaland, the firm’s marketing director.
Over the years, the family-owned firm has resisted the temptation to diversify. It has simply focused on refining and developing the Maxfoam machinery — to give customers equipment which does just what it is supposed to do — supremely well, Kaland said, in a 22 Sept telephone interview.
Evidence that this is a successful approach lies in the company’s “very loyal customers all over the world,” indicated Kaland, pointing out that Laader Berg has “almost a 100 percent repurchase rate.” However, with its original patents now expired, competitive pressures are rising, particularly in Eastern Europe and, of course, Asia.
In a sense the company’s situation epitomises the issues faced by most western equipment makers. As manufacture of foam moves to lower cost regions, machinery makers increasingly find themselves competing with companies in those regions who copy equipment, and sell it at low prices.
Nevertheless, in the 50 years Laader Berg has been in business, it has sold close to 500 machines. “Some of these machines are more than 35 years old,” Kaland emphasised.
The long-lasting equipment is extremely reliable, needs…