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issue: January 2003 APPLIANCE Magazine

People
Hans Bergkvist of ATTEXOR


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"Management by walking around was in fashion a few years ago," Hans Bergkvist says. It seems that some things don't go out of fashion. "I have found it to be very useful and still use it," he adds.



Hans Bergkvist

This practice has obviously served Mr. Bergkvist well throughout his career, rising from a staff scientist at Cerac S.A. (Lausanne, Switzerland) to president and CEO of his own international companies, ATTEXOR Tools S.A. (Ecublens, Switzerland) and ATTEXOR Inc. (Springfield, MA, U.S.). His companies produce and distribute world-wide power tools, light machinery, and equipment for SPOT CLINCH¨, a process designed to replace spot welding, screws, and rivets in the assembly of sheet material.

Mr. Bergkvist embarked on his 28-year career in the engineering and manufacturing industry in 1974 after receiving a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Lund Institute of Technology in Sweden. He had earned a bachelor's degree in engineering physics from Lund 9 years previously, and had spent the intervening years researching and teaching at the University, as well as serving as a radar technician in the Baltic Sea for the Swedish Marine forces for a year and a half.

After earning his Ph.D., Mr. Bergkvist began work as a senior staff scientist for Cerac S.A., which, at that time was the Corporate Research and Development subsidiary of the U.S. $4-billion Atlas Copco Group (Sweden). In 1979, he was promoted to department manager, and in the next 9 years, Mr. Bergkvist moved up through the ranks from deputy managing director to director of the Consulting Division at Cerac S.A.

Mr. Bergkvist received a chance to further apply his management ideas in 1988 when he was involved in a management buy-out after Atlas Copco Group reorganized and subsequently closed Cerac. From this deal, the ATTEXOR Group was created.

Now in control of his own companies, Mr. Bergkvist has a clear goal and a focused mission statement that is more than just an empty set of platitudes. He wants both ATTEXOR Inc. and ATTEXOR Tools to be fast-growing, profitable companies, providing products and services to meet the needs of industrial customers and other professionals in the area of mechanical assembly of sheet material and profiles without separate fasteners. "The mission statement is in fact the essence of our business idea," he says. "And it gives clear indications of what we can do, and what we should not do."

Although Mr. Bergkvist has done well running his own business, there are always unexpected obstacles. "What immediately comes to mind is the recent economic slump," he offers as an example. But challenges are only hurdles to be overcome, according to Mr. Bergkvist. "You cannot handle an economic slow-down by panic breaking and just shedding staff," he explains. Instead, Mr. Bergkvist took action along three vectors - products, markets, and people. He reevaluated the profitability of the different sectors and was able to increase both sales and profit in 2001 compared to 2000.

When he is not planning for the future of ATTEXOR, Mr. Bergkvist enjoys the culinary arts and likes trying out new recipes. Even more than the delights of cooking, Mr. Bergkvist prefers the company of his family. "I try to spend some time with the families of my children and their grandchildren; in fact, it is one of the most pleasant leisure activities you can imagine," he says.

 

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