Issue Nov/Dec 06
Progressive progress from APV
APV is a world leader in process and automation technologies for the dairy, food, beverage, brewing, personal healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, as well as selected industrial sectors.
As a subsidiary of Invensys plc, APV has access to some of the latest and most innovative control systems.
“APV is a world leader in process and automation technologies for various industries,” explains Rafael Patxot, managing director of APV Silkeborg. “We have two main factories in Denmark: Silkeborg and Kolding. The Silkeborg site that I represent is the global engineering centre for APV.”
He adds: “In Silkeborg, we are committed to quality. Employing approximately 400 people, we are APV’s global engineering centre and have a strong engineering capability focused especially on unit and process-application technology. As well as concentration of engineering expertise, we perform onsite assembly and, in conjunction with APV Kolding, manage the Nordic region’s aftersales market.”
Bent Leon Nielsen, managing director of the Kolding plant, was happy to talk to Manufacturing Today Europe more specifically. “The Kolding site is characterised by the fact that we have a complete set-up in terms of pump and heat exchanger technologies. This means we sell, handle orders, manufacture, offer quotations, dispatch and also have full R&D capability.”
Bent continues: “What makes APV unique is that we have never stopped inventing new products or improving processes. Over the years, there has been a constant focus on minimising cost. That means we have developed products to help minimise cost and make processes more efficient. We have also helped to introduce lean production, adopting all the necessary tools and techniques to make manufacturing more efficient, faster and cheaper.”
In what is an increasingly competitive world, responding to and meeting customer demands is no longer enough, particularly when you are a company like APV. APV wanted to demonstrate to its customers how it could provide value to their business in other ways. To understand how it could do this, APV asked its customers and employees what was important to them and what they believed APV brought to their business. The feedback gained was invaluable; it told them that its people and the relationships they developed were the company’s key strengths.
As a result, APV re-launched its identity with a proud new slogan: ‘the people behind your performance’. As part of the global relaunch campaign, this slogan is present on all external APV communications.
“APV’s fundamental belief is that everything goes through our employees,” explains Bent. “Our people and the strong relationships they develop with customers are our major strength. This is why we have been re-branding over the last two months. We want to illustrate to customers that just meeting their demands is not enough; we want to exceed expectation and are effectively telling the customer that wherever they are or whatever they need, the employees of APV are behind them.”
He continues: “Our employees are central to the success we have had over the years, so we strive to maintain, as well as improve this by training, developing and nurturing our staff. Every month when I do my monthly review, I must report the number of hours we spend on training to my superiors – this emphasises the focus the group places on personnel and that training is a priority for APV.”
APV’s new slogan highlights what it does best – it listens, designs, engineers and delivers. Rafael says: “APV has spent the last century engineering innovations to meet our customers requirements. By listening to our customers and by having the necessary flexibility, we still deliver the highest standards.”
APV is able to achieve such success, on a global scale, for one reason – its worldwide team of experts. Throughout the history of the company, APV’s workforce has been committed to serving all customers with the same quality standards on every project. The company uses the slogan ‘the people behind your performance’ because it believes this reflects the heart of APV.
APV has recently been investing in LeanCreme, a new technology process to turn whey protein into a fat substitute, which both Rafael and Bent describe as a ‘major’ development. Bent comments: “When used in cheese production, it tastes and feels like high-fat content, but is actually reduced fat, which means you can have a nice soft, healthy cheese that will taste good.”
APV is currently applying this technology on a case-by-case basis, looking at a wider range of applications for this fat substitute. The company is patenting the technology at this time, and all those involved hope LeanCreme will have a massive impact on the industry. Bent adds: “There is a huge market for LeanCreme and we are very excited about it.”
In another big launch, APV has brought to market the new APV Sirius – a high capacity heat exchanger designed specifically for large-scale power plants, oil and gas processing facilities and petrochemical process plants. With the largest heat transfer area per plate ever seen, APV Sirius has the power to do the work of several heat exchangers operating in parallel, reducing capital investment, installation and maintenance costs.
Over the last few years, APV has improved dramatically as a business. An integral part of continuing this transformation is the rebranding Rafael and Bent outlined. In the future, the company has a number of interesting strategies, goals and objectives, which it hopes to achieve. In the mean time, Rafael was happy to tell us more about some of the more significant alterations the company has made: “I have been at APV for just two years, but the company has changed considerably in that time. The most important change I have noticed is that APV has created a united company mentality. This mentality has spread across all top management within the company. Our staff now thinks of APV as a single, integrated entity, working to a united agenda. That is perhaps the biggest improvement we have made in our time here.”
Continuing Bent adds: “We have turned the company around and we think it is the right time to re-brand Invensys APV and say here we are; we are present in the market; we are supporting you, the customer; and we are proud to tell customers we are behind them, 100 per cent. We are proud of our company and even more proud of the people that make us what we are.”
Rafael concludes: “If I was to summarise APV, I would say we stay true to our word and are committed to helping our customers. We have a company culture that is geared around driving our behaviour towards making sure we deliver on our promises. By delivering what you promise, you gain confidence and from there you can grow the company.”
Products: Components, process and automation technologies
Sites: Silkborg and Kolding, Denmark