SWEDEN: There is a strong partnership between Volvo’s financing arm and its leading equipment brands
by Nathalie Rothschild
Christer Ohlsson cuts a trim business figure in his brown leather shoes, slacks and navy jacket. A handkerchief is carefully tucked into his breast pocket. The machine entrepreneur, whose company covers transport, contracting and sanitation, employs 370 people across southern Sweden, making him a key employer in the region.
The sun shines brightly into the large windows of Ohlsson’s spacious top-floor office at his eponymous company headquarters in Landskrona, a late-medieval town with a population of roughly 33,000. Although Landskrona has just suffered days of relentless wind and sleet, the office windows are spotless, as are the rest of the sparkling premises.
“I grew up in this industry,” says Ohlsson, “and I’m privileged to be able to work with what I like the most. I’ve been part-owner of a haulage firm since the age of 22 and I started this company in 1998.”
Thirty of his company’s 50-strong construction machine fleet bear the Volvo brand, while on the trucks side the figure is 80 out of 240 vehicles. To date Volvo Financial Services Nordic has financed 45 of them.
The partnership between Ohlssons and VFS goes back a decade, and about a year ago, VFS began to finance Ohlssons’ construction equipment acquisitions in addition to trucks.
“The biggest advantage with Volvo machines is that they are secure and reliable,” says Ohlsson. “We seldom have unplanned interruptions in our work and that of course makes life easier for our machine operators, who also feel a sense of pride in working with modern equipment of a quality brand.”
That sense of pride is in evidence by employees posing for each other’s cameras next to three shiny new Volvo L70H wheel loaders that have just been delivered to the headquarters.
JUST THE BEST
One operator, Håkan Friman, has been with Ohlssons for more than a decade. Currently, he is working a site in Landskrona where 11,000 new homes are to be built. It is early stages yet and the land is still being excavated. Friman, 55, describes the Volvo EC220DL excavator he uses as a flexible, smooth and easily operated machine.
“It’s simply superior to all other excavators I’ve worked with,” says Friman who adds that he thinks the best aspects of his job are the “good people” and the company’s “excellent fleet of machines”.
Site manager Thomas Nilsson – who has been with the company since the start – says he has an excellent rapport with the workers and no day is the same in his job. As for the Volvo excavators, Nilsson believes the operators are so pleased with them partly because of the low noise level.
“They are quiet machines and that is significant. The construction workers like that and it seems they’re not alone,” says Nilsson. “The site where the new homes are being built is in a residential area and we’ve not had any complaints. It’s a good sign when nobody gets in touch!”
Ohlssons has purchased a large number of its Volvo fleet – both trucks and construction equipment – with support from VFS. The two first linked up in 2006 when VFS helped the company buy a number of Volvo trucks. In 2015, VFS stepped in again to help finance Volvo machines provided by dealership Swecon, a move which VFS Nordic sales manager Per-Olof Olsson describes as signifying a unique “synergy effect”.
“It goes to show that there is great potential for us to accommodate the purchase of both trucks and construction equipment by Volvo.”
Christer Ohlsson agrees: “By becoming a Volvo client we also got the opportunity to implement a broad deal with regards to buying and financing equipment using a quick and smooth process. As a buyer, it’s always a good thing to secure the financing through the manufacturer. It gives us a certain security. If something were to go wrong, then we have an additional lifeline, so to speak.”
VFS has helped his company grow by “offering good conditions at a reasonable price”, he says.
“The idea is that when Christer buys a Volvo product, we should be able to provide a financial solution that he feels satisfied with. It’s about offering to deliver the hardware and the financial services in a single package,” VFS’s Per-Olof Olsson explains.
Ohlssons is also in the fortunate position of receiving significant service from Swecon, which has between 10 and 15 service vehicles in circulation in southern Sweden. “This gives Ohlssons a sense of security,” says Swecon’s Thomas Svärd.
”We focus on proactive service with built-in surveillance systems in the machines. The operators will be aware of when the time for service is getting near. That way, site managers can call us up and make the appointment in good time and avoid having inactive vehicles,” Svärd explains.
He adds that Swecon has launched eco-drive courses for machine operators who are then awarded a certificate as proof they have undergone the training. That, says Swärd, boosts the status of the profession, and Ohlsson agrees, pointing out that as a company that works a lot in the environment sector it is important to be as green as possible.
“We recently purchased these three L70H wheel loaders with financial assistance from VFS and the low noise level is striking. Moreover, they are equipped with the most up-to-date technology, with emission control devices and AdBlue, which means that the CO2 emissions are virtually non-existent today.”
In terms of energy saving, Volvo is unbeatable, Ohlsson concludes: “I’ve been in this business my whole life and I can guarantee that when it comes to low hourly running costs, nothing beats Volvo wheel loaders.”