Success in store for Elfa
For around 60 years Elfa has been recognised as one of Scandinavia’s leading designers of flexible and durable storage solutions.
The company’s extensive experience, combined with its ‘sixth sense’ for orderliness and storage, allows it to create stable, durable and flexible storage and space saving solutions that can be easily customised to suit individual homes. The company specialises in customised designs, in which individual clients can build the ideal product using a number of components.
Elfa Group AB, was formed in 1947, creating wire storage solutions, and today consists of ten companies in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Poland and the US. Its products are exported globally through retailers in the furniture, DIY and timber sectors. The Elfa brand of customised storage solutions consists of a broad product portfolio, including made-tomeasure sliding doors, shelving systems and drawer units, which can be combined to make wardrobes, kitchens, garages, utility rooms and walk-in closets.
Christer Johnson, president of Elfa Group elaborates: “We are a leading manufacturer of storage systems for both consumer and professional use. Our products are distributed to 30 countries around the world, although our main markets are the Scandinavian countries and the US. Together with our established customers, we are also looking at emerging markets, including several Asian countries, Russia and the Baltic region.
“The key to our success is our concept of delivering customised storage solutions that can be easily adapted to meet individual needs, and the manner in which they are put together,” Christer continues. “This tailor-made approach is a unique concept in the industry, and it serves to make us very strong. Our products are a combination of standard components and bespoke designs, and all of the sliding doors that we manufacture are customised to the individual requirements of the customer. Most of the interior systems are classic solutions and standardised products, but the overall concept is created in a way the makes it easy for the client to adapt them to how they like them.”
The company is one of Scandinavia’s leading manufacturers of sliding doors, which are customised upon order. Elfa sliding doors are equipped with the latest ball-bearing wheels to enable a smooth, soundless rolling motion, and feature safety details such as protection film on the back of the glass and mirror doors and de-railing protection. Elfa is so confident in the high quality of its sliding doors that it offers a ten-year full guarantee on all products.
Together with the standard features of an Elfa sliding door, customers are given the option to choose the door model, the measurement of the storage space in general, the number of doors, colour of the frames and the interior options. The company’s sliding door portfolio includes the Continental, Prisma, Nordic, Elegant, Trend, Modern, Golden and Gustavian models. Elfa also has three local sliding brands in addition to the global Elfa brand: Noga in Norway, Lumi in Sweden, and Kirena in Finland, which were added on to Elfa’s profile through acquisitions.
Elfa’s Continental sliding doors feature a modern design with high levels of elegance and quality. The range offers customers a number of different fillings, including clear or bronze mirrors, and white or birch foil panels. Continental doors are individually made to measure, with the profiles, floor rails and top rails made of high quality aluminium. The Nordic range combines modern design with high quality woods and door surfaces in veneer or glass. Due to the nature of the wood, the veneer varies in colour and pattern naturally, meaning that each door is a unique piece of furniture.
To reinforce its position in the Scandinavian flexible, customised storage market, Elfa Group acquired Kirena Oy, Finland’s largest producer of sliding doors and wardrobe interiors in January 2007. Kirena is the Finnish market leader in the sliding door and wardrobe interior market sector. Based in Lahti in Finland, the company operates from a highly automated production facility manufacturing tailor-made products.
The acquisition will see Elfa take over all of Kirena’s operations and personnel, and will make the company the market leader in Finland. In addition, it will provide Elfa Group with an ideal opportunity to expand its product portfolio, and will provide significant opportunities to strengthen its position in Russia and the Baltic region.
“The acquisition has really strengthened our position in the market, making us the leading manufacturer of sliding doors in Finland,” says Christer. “We believe that the Eastern European markets will be increasingly important in the future, together with the Asian sector. Another reason for the acquisition is that a lot of our major customers, particularly the large retail chains, are expanding into new markets in Scandinavia, so we aim to be a strong partner to them by following their expansion.”
Elfa manufacturers a broad range of flexible storage solutions designed to make life easier in the modern home. The Elfa Classic range, comprising of numerous shelving and drawer solutions, covers all aspects of storage, and is an efficient catalogue of space-saving devices. Made from steel components that are both robust and durable, the Classic range can be used for storage purposes in bedrooms, living rooms, hallways and garages. Included in the range are shelving systems, wire drawers and accessories such as shoe racks, hooks, tie racks and book supports.
Designed to provide the beauty and warmth of natural wood, with modern, customised storage products, the Elfa Décor range comprises of exclusively designed products that successfully clear floor space, and maximise available storage options.
Christer explains that to maintain its leading position, Elfa places considerable emphasis on R&D: “It is one of the key success factors in the business, and it will certainly continue to be so in the future. In our R&D department we focus on technological and product development, and through this we hope to remain competitive in the future.”
Among the company’s latest product releases is the new Mesh Drawer storage solution for wardrobes, kitchens and offices. Manufactured from durable epoxy-coated tight mesh metal in platinum and white finishes, the product provides ventilated storage of fabrics and small items. As an exclusive component that complements the Classic drawer range, the Mesh Drawer is compatible with many other Elfa storage options, and can also be supplied in kit form, including one frame unit and four mesh drawers.
In addition to the Mesh Drawer, the company has recently introduced the Prisma, a new, innovative sliding door line. To complement the current high demand for variation in sliding doors in the market, Prisma can be supplied in a number of materials and colours. The made-to-measure sliding doors are available in a range of veneer finishes, including oak, birch and walnut stained birch, with fillings such as white-washed oak, dark oak, and black, crème, red, grey, white and frosted glass.
In January this year, the business demonstrated its latest range of creative storage at the IMM Fair in Cologne, Germany. The international furniture show provides an excellent opportunity for major companies to display their latest developments and concepts. On its 100 square metre stand Elfa displayed its latest interior shelving systems, sliding doors and other developments to key players in the international furniture market.
Throughout its product range Elfa uses the highest quality products, offering a broad choice of wood and metal finishes: “We source our products globally, although a significant amount of it is from local suppliers,” Christer explains. “The raw material market, particularly for steel, is centred in Europe at the moment. However, it is becoming more global so we have to look further afield for high quality raw materials, particularly in Asia, Russia and the Baltics.”
Reflecting on the current market conditions, Christer is confident Elfa can remain successful: “Last year we grew by around 15 per cent, and we plan to continue this expansion rate into the future. The market is very interesting at the moment, with a great deal of potential growth predicted. The key challenge will be to ensure that we continue to have a profitable growth rate, as it is easy to expand a business, but difficult to do it in the optimum way.
“The society that we live in today means that people are living in increasingly dense areas, and buying more consumer products, and this generates a need for more effective, efficient methods of storage. We have a strong focus in the markets that we see as being important, and we believe that we are very well positioned to continue to be successful amongst our international competition,” Christer concludes.
Products: Innovative, customised storage solutions