Cluj-Napoca, the unofficial capital of the region of Transylvania is an important Romanian economic centre. With well known brands at a national and international level the city is on its very way to become the country‘s technopolis. The Manufacturing Journal has the opportunity to present one of the successful enterprises in Cluj, provider and exporter of furniture to different destinations not only in Europe – the Ecolor Furniture Factory.
Origins, strategic potential and plans for the future
The mother company of Ecolor Furniture Factory is the Gyllensvaans Möbler, a Swedish family business existing on the market already since 1946. The private owned plant of Ecolor was established in its today‘s location in Cluj back in the year 2005. One year later the first deliveries to the IKEA shops took place. Today Ecolor has a surface area of over 57,000 m2, produces foiled furniture made mainly from particle board and MDF and provides quality pieces to the big warehouses and furniture houses all around Europe.
At first, the furniture was produced using the painting technology. In 2010 there came the first shift - the technology changed: the painted melamine PB covered with lacquer was from then on changed to wrapped profiles covered with paper foil. Two years later, in 2012, the first products found their way to the markets.
Nowadays, Ecolor buys the raw boards, splits them in long strips and applies paper foil on the surface and on the long edges. Then the product is being crosscut to the wished length. Depending on the need, the pieces are then drilled or the edge band is applied.
Innovations & Development
The company is continuously investing in development: some of the technological innovations introduced in the last period by its Research & Development department include the special bed boxes production line with integrated assembly of wheels. Since 2012, Ecolor is also part of the 4.0 Industry trend and invests in the robotics and automation processes and technology. Today the company owns around twenty robots that are used mainly in the production processes. Moreover, in July this year the company is planning on launching some new products and services. It would also wish to double its turnover by 2024, which was approximately 63m EUR in the year 2020.
Ecolor and everything it is proud of - quality, sustainability and certifications
The main values of Ecolor are respect, credibility, trust of its clients and of course the quality of its products and services. The quality has always been on the top of the company’s priorities: every single shipment of the main raw material (the already mentioned particle board) comes exclusively from suppliers that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC® C106970), a non - profit organization dedicated to the responsible forest management. These certifications are however not easy to get, being granted only to those who stay in full compliance with local laws and regulations, and proven by an independent, international company with access to all internal documents.
Sustainability is another core value and at the heart of the company‘s business: it is at the same time the very value that is expected from the suppliers. The environmental issue has always been one of the important causes of the company: from its beginnings Ecolor has been setting a good example and investing in the recycling practices, developing eco friendly solutions, even before it became mandatory.
In the last years Ecolor invested important sums of over 400 000 EUR in systems that cut on the consumption of resources to the absolute minimum and tried to boost the recycling of the materials applied in the production process. The company recycles water, wood, paper, metal and plastic. As an example we can name the usage of the rainwater that falls on the factory‘s roof- it is collected, filtered and then reused in sanitary installations.
In the company’s quality control system, the most important are manual inspection, product audits and finished goods check. Lately, the vision system in drilling machines has also been installed and partial installation of the vision system for surface inspection is also planned in the months to come.
Another important issue the company always tries to take care of is the one of its employees. It is mainly thanks to them that Ecolor can reach the next level and realize its vision, which is to “be the best manufacturing partner in the furniture world”.
Among the certifications that make the name of Ecolor, one should mention the FCS certificate, the company has also the AEOS, similar with ISO28000 and its own certification, similar with ISO9000, ISO14000.
Engagement in social projects
One of the most important topics of the company has always been the social solidarity and engagement in various charity projects that promote social and economic development.
Ecolor supports numerous local initiatives that contribute to the mitigation of exclusion of the elderly and disadvantaged, especially in the regions of its activity. The idea is to return and give back to the local community some of this, what it helped to create. In this sense, the company partnered for example with the non profit Prima Data Acasa by building new homes for low-income families. In some of these projects Ecolor employees worked as volunteers during special Build Days, working together with the beneficiaries.
Ecolor has also been a strong supporter of some non-profit organisations in Cluj that work with children in need - one of its oldest partners here is the Blythswood Foundation- organisation that provides educational and social care services for children from the underprivileged backgrounds. The company also supports local schools, covering educational expenses and financing renovation works. Being a good neighbour means also providing care for the elderly, ill and lonely ones in the Cluj Country, delivering food and sponsoring the furnishing of the residential foster care centre in Floresti.
The company also provides continuous support to some local churches and elder homes.
Among many other solidarity actions of Ecolor we can also name the cooperation with the Herald Foundation, organising of various donations from Sweden to Romania, such as hospital beds and clothes, supporting of the yearly ShoeBox campaign, offering useful gifts to people in need as well as providing furniture for treatment houses for disabled children in Bucharest.
The company invests also in the education of the future leaders, being partners to various educational institutions and carrying an open-door policy, organising internships for those who wish to gain some experience and sponsoring gifted students and their experiences at foreign universities.