Describe GARO’s business!
“We develop and produce solutions for electrical installations.”
“Yes, the actual product is just one part. Equally important are the services in and around the actual product.
We are increasingly focusing on overall solutions; solutions which in many cases are aimed directly at end customers.”
Can you give a few examples?
“A good example is how our distribution boards have changed. Previously electricians built the distribution boards on site with loose components. Now the most turnkey version is supplied for direct installation. At the same time, the distribution boards receive even more service content, for example, media solutions. This is a growing trend, we will see even more solutions in future. Controlling, measuring, telephony and also alarms. Both safety alarm and burglar alarms.
The end customers want complete solutions, without trouble.”
Where does GARO operate?
“We operate in five countries; Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland and Ireland.
Sweden is our home market, this is also where our head office is located in Gnosjö…
The fact is that although the rules are similar, there are a lot of differences between the countries. This relates quite simply to internal patterns, ‘what we have always done’.”
You have been around since 1946. Is there a value in having a long history, or is it the case that you actually find it more difficult to innovate because of the long history behind you?
“I am certain that it has a major value, our age means that we have long and extensive experience, which gives our customers peace of mind.
But it is not quite as beneficial if you don’t look ahead. This applies in terms of keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive.
The innovation and curiosity must never vanish.”
Give more examples of “innovation”!
“I mentioned some parts before in terms of the development of our distribution boards. Another area where have been leading the pack for a long time is engine pre-heaters...this also applies to camping and marine. Here we have really focused on solutions from a customer perspective.
You use the expression a force for new ideas.
How do you act to get people to think in terms of new ideas?
“The first thing is having the right team, people who are creative. And the team we have managed to put together throughout the years, the latter said with great humbleness. Then you must have a good breeding ground in the form of clear values. Values that clearly say that it is OK to make mistakes sometimes. Without this you limit the possibility of being creative.
There must also be a great amount of entrepreneurial spirit, a willingness to continue.
Sometimes we have too many balls in the air at the same time but it is better to have to sift through ideas...”
You come from another industry. Please tell us about it!
“Yes, I come from the aluminium profile industry. We worked with tailoring solutions and system ideas there as well.
I was actually able to bring a lot of ideas with me to GARO.”
Are there any obvious differences?
“That industry was more process oriented, here it is more about what you physically have in your hands.”
If you think ahead, what is the most important challenge for GARO?
“To retain our ability to innovate despite the fact that we are growing.
Finding the right people I spoke about earlier.
Standardising more, while also having a wider product portfolio. Working with a smaller number of platforms with more solutions on every platform. Exactly what the engineering industry already does today.”
Finally, GARO’s head office has always been located in Gnosjö.
Is the “Gnosjö spirit” real or is it just a myth?
“It is definitely real but very difficult to explain in words. I have lived here for sixteen years so I will soon be regarded as an inhabitant of Gnosjö. I would describe it like this – being aware of the resources and possibilities that there are in the area, ‘who can do what’. Taking the resources and putting these together in an intelligent manner... that is my impression of the Gnosjö spirit.
There’s quite a lot of GARO in that...” concludes Stefan with a smile.