A message from our CEO, Anders Wilhjelm

What a year it's been. In 2020, we experienced the most dramatic crisis in a generation. The scale of the uncertainty we all had to deal with last year, the abrupt pauses to business, industry, logistics, to our all our lives, was completely unprecedented. It's still incredible to me, how we managed to keep going in the face of such challenges.

In the year since, we have gone from famine to feast. In many industries, at Norican and in our customers' sectors, the recovery was faster than expected, creating all new challenges.

Suddenly, demand went through the roof, but supply chains buckled. Production was ramped up around the world, but "things" were missing. Chips, parts, materials. Most of you will have been affected by this in one way or another. We certainly have.

But while it's frustrating to not be able to keep up with demand, it's so much more preferable to there suddenly being no demand at all. And we are coming out of it all profoundly changed and well positioned for the future.


Amazing adaptability

It’s human nature to resist change, but for me the pandemic years have shown our incredible ability to adapt.

Many of our engrained ways of working were disrupted. We’ve found new ways and, in most cases, won’t go back to how things were before.

And that’s a good thing. Both for the planet and for our professional lives.

Before the pandemic, no engineering company would have said you could start up a new plant remotely. Now we know we can. Because we did.

We can and will travel less. And that’s a good thing too. Engineers shouldn’t be spending most of their time travelling. They should be spending it solving problems.

And solve problems they did.

The challenges of the last year called for innovative thinking.

And there’s nothing more innovative than an engineer faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge.

Forced to find alternative ways, they often found better ways too.



Opening up to Digital

The pandemic has nudged many of us to use digital tools we were previously reluctant to use (from video calls instead of meetings to shopping for groceries online). Both in our professional and personal lives, we’ve all learned a lot about Digital and, across the board, the understanding of data and digital technology has matured. 

When talking to you about our own digital solutions, the team have noticed a greater openness to using advanced tools like AI and to sharing data to get help quickly. Embracing digital has positioned many of you well for the future. 

By creating cleaner, safer, more desirable working environments to pre-empt labour shortages. And by enabling you to continuously improve operations, reduce scrap, enhance quality and improve traceability.

That said, not everybody has been able to benefit from Digital just yet. Which is why we are committed to helping all our customers improve from where they are. By making better, more efficient technology accessible and by offering digital tools for every part of your journey.


The big green shift

In 2021, the climate crisis has been front and centre. That means many of the products we’re all making are changing dramatically (most notably with the global shift to e-mobility and new energy), whole industries are pivoting.

All this, together with the supply chain crisis, has sharpened our senses for how we use resources, how far materials, people and products travel, the carbon footprint they produce, and the amount and type of energy we use. 

This is healthy thinking that will not just make us all more sustainable in our production and operations, but that will have a positive impact on our bottom lines.

As you may have seen, Norican has just committed to Science Based Targets. This means we as a company have committed to continuously reduce green-house gas emissions in line with the most aggressive UN goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, joining the UNFCCC ‘Race to Zero’. 

Plans are already under development on how we can achieve this. The plans will include how we can change, how we can make our suppliers change, and how we can help our customers change. This will be challenging, but it needs to be done.

In 2020/21, we have learnt to turn challenges into opportunities faster. We enter 2022 stronger and more confident of how much we can achieve.

Let’s make the most of it.

Anders Wilhjelm, CEO of Norican Group