Wednesday, 03 December 2008 08:28Noratel Sp. z o. o.
PRESIDENT: Mariusz Kacprowski
OPERATIONS: electrical engineering
REVENUE: about 13 mln EUR
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For more than eighty years Noratel has been producing transformers in one form or another. What started out as a local manufacturer of radios and loudspeaker systems, today is an international group comprising sixteen companies in twelve countries with almost three thousand employees altogether. The Noratel Group is proud to present one of Europe’s most comprehensive standard range on dry-insulated transformers and power-supplies. The wide product-range includes everything from small wound reactors to large three-phase power transformers.
Written by: Marcin Zimny
Zoom in on Poland
Located on the outskirts of Szczecin, the Polish subsidiary of Noratel is a leading manufacturer of low voltage transformers. Although it was formed in 1993 under the name of Dansel Transformator Sp. z o.o., since 1999 the official business name has been Noratel Sp. z o.o. (limited liability company). In the early days the company produced transformers using documentation provided by customers, but it was not long before it spread its wings, starting independent production and sales both in Poland and abroad. Along with the whole Noratel Group, the Polish branch managed to increase production rates. Raised productivity entailed organizational changes. The company needed, first and foremost, more space to grow. At the beginning the enterprise had only one shop floor, whereas now it has three, which amount to a total of seven thousand square meters in surface area. Noratel also saw a shift in demand for certain products. The production of toroidal transformers and EI transformers would take the lead. Now it is three-phase transformers and reactors that enjoy the greatest popularity. Noratel provides many unique solutions geared towards customer needs. Popularization of products is a collective responsibility of entire Noratel Group. Not only in Europe has Noratel a well-established position, but it is also recognized in Asia, America and Africa. The breakthrough came when Toroid International merged with Noratel Group in 2005, causing Noratel Sp. z o.o. to become part of the world’s biggest company in this line of business. As a result, the Polish enterprise achieved greater bargaining power in the eyes of suppliers. Since terms and conditions with suppliers are negotiated for all outlets worldwide on equal basis, the Polish subsidiary does not have to look for alternative suppliers. This makes it possible to ensure high quality of Noratel products each and every time. As a company’s representative says, Noratel is primarily attentive to providing high quality, but the quality is here taken to mean not only the quality of a product, but a number of factors which contribute to customer satisfaction. Prompt deliveries, reliable customer service or 100 percent product tests found themselves among such factors in the first place. Those and many other qualities are perceived by customers as confidence-building, therefore the Polish establishment wants to keep the reliability intact and make further improvements so that products would always meet the customers’ requirements. In other words, a general policy of Noratel Sp. z o.o. is driven by performance-oriented actions.
Get to know them from the inside
First of all, Noratel can boast a wide array of so-called standard products. The offer of the Polish branch includes 280 types of transformers and many others available from stock or with short production and delivery time. It seems to be a very competitive policy, as the continuous availability of products sounds like a value added to high quality. But this is only 30 percent of the whole output. The most important is co-operation with the world’s biggest companies such as Siemens, ABB, Rolls Royce, Nibe or Rockwell Automation for whom Noratel provides sophisticated constructions which require an immense amount of knowledge and experience as well as attention to details. And though the economic crisis hindered sales at the turn of the year, the company, cautiously optimistic about the future, is planning to continue winning streak in its expansion to new markets. High quality at an affordable price, professional service, flexibility, experience, customer-orientedness – these are more prominent values which should attract customers to Noratel, the company’s representative told Manufacturing Journal. More than 100 winding machines, computer-controlled devices and lots of other equipment would be next to useless if it had not been for people working with Noratel. Employees, most of whom are employed from establishment of the Polish subsidiary, are considered to be a core of the company. Trained and experienced staff members form a close-knit community in which difficult situations trigger a collective response. A team of 250 people, including 215 blue-collar and 35 white-collar workers, builds up a professional environment of Noratel Poland. Moreover, the enterprise favours the idea of working flexible hours, an incentive for those willing to combine work with academic development. On the other hand, thanks to numerous in-house training programmes, the company propagates lean management and green issues. For example, the company’s environmental policy is already deeply ingrained in every employee of Noratel. The result is self-explanatory: following a period of long preparation and implementation of environmental rules and principles, the Polish branch received ISO 14001 certification. According to the company, it was successful in its efforts at obtaining ISO certificate owing to joint efforts of the whole team The firm implemented waste segregation practices and adopted a “do-it-well-for-the-first-time” approach. Besides, Noratel saves power by using solar energy and reduces the consumption of paper by propagating electronic data storage, and printing only documents that have to be stored in paper format for legal purposes. What’s more, sales department employees take part in various training courses which are aimed to adjust sales and negotiation methods to economic circumstances, whereas business administration workers show a lot of independence in their day-to-day work. The firm places emphasis on developing individual problem-solving skills and a sense of membership. In general, Noratel is a considerate employer whose efforts are appreciated by workers. And low personnel fluctuation is the best evidence for these claims. Although Noratel Poland can speak of a success in electrical industry, the company’s ambitions revolve around the widespread recognition in Poland and in neighbouring countries. As the firm’s representative reveals, participation in both domestic and foreign trade fairs and shows will pave the way for international popularity of the brand, so present business activities are also dominated by promotional campaigns. As for global success, the Polish subsidiary wants mainly to maintain high service standards. When doing business with different companies from different industries, Noratel has to be appealing in many ways, so ISO 14001 is an important certification attesting to compliance with international environmental standards.
To begin with, a history lesson may come in handy. The Scandinavian origins of the company entail good traditions and business standards. It means that Noratel draws upon experiences of top market players. Then comes hard work and effort of the people involved in creating the image of Noratel during all years. In the past couple of years the company increased its production capacity by 300 percent, built two manufacturing plants, employed new people, modernized machines and purchased state-of-the-art test equipment. The period of investment is not finished yet. On the contrary, the enterprise is undergoing a rapid development. This year Noratel was audited for compliance with environmental management system ISO 14001: 2004 and quality management system ISO 9001: 2008 (ISO 9001:2000 received in 2003). Most products received also national safety certificates such as B, UL, Nemko, Fimko, Semko, Demko, VDE. All products classified as standard have the CE marking and trade authorization. Noratel is highly appreciated by key customers who regularly award it with titles like “Supplier of the Year” or similar competence awards. When it comes to the production, Noratel openly admits that a range of products available on the manufacturer’s official website (www.noratel.pl) is merely a demonstration of production capabilities; as the company puts it, they can manufacture virtually everything for the low voltage sector. All in all, clear goals and a clear-cut policy to achieve them makes Noratel not only an ambitious producer, but also a reliable partner in business that combines high quality and professionalism with customer-orientedness. Noratel Sp. z o.o. wants to thank all customers and partners for co-operation and trust in the Noratel brand. We hope you found reading this article informative and interesting. Anyone interested in the purchase of transformers and reactors is encouraged to contact Noratel Sp. z o.o. for more information.