The customer in focus: New business areas reflect a new strategy for Primo

A new organisation, new international sales teams, and a new way of thinking about the development of profiles - what is actually going on at Primo? CEO Claus Tønnesen ex-plains how a shift in focus is a way of preparing Primo for the exciting future of plastic ex-trusion.

A new organisation, new international sales teams, and a new way of thinking about the development of profiles – what is actually going on at Primo? CEO Claus Tønnesen explains how a shift in focus is a way of preparing Primo for the exciting future of plastic extrusion.

In the past two years, much about Primo has changed. A new organisational structure has been set up, and new business area directors have been appointed to lead international teams – even the visual appearance of Primo on the Internet has changed radically. All this is the result of a process of internal change in Primo, driven by the need for making the company stronger and much more oriented towards the needs of its customers. 

Claus Tønnesen, CEO of Inter Primo, explains: “Historically, there has always been a strong entrepreneurial spirit at Primo, and we have always had a strong desire to be the best at plastic profile extrusion. So naturally, in the early days, technology was the core of Primo: Having the right skills, the people, the machines, the best extrusion expertise around. We have all that – now it’s time to look at the value we can add to our customers’ businesses.”

Nine business areas across borders

The most tangible consequence of the shift towards a stronger customer focus is the formation of new business areas. Now, all sales teams are organized in nine business areas:

  • BtC - Strips and Mouldings
  • Building
  • Energy, Power & Lighting
  • Medico
  • Offshore
  • Transport & Traffic
  • White Goods & Ventilation
  • Windows & Doors
  • Other Industries

The ninth business area covers all the products and projects that do not necessarily fit in the other business areas; large and small projects for farming and fishery, packaging, furniture and many others. 

To lead these new, cross-border business areas, Primo has appointed Business Area Directors with the responsibility of driving the business area forward and of making sure that the teams are close to their customers, so that they can continually develop new ideas and discover market opportunities. 

“We need to maintain a focus on technology, of course. We are extrusion specialists, and the whole organisation is driven by a passion for extrusion – it’s just a fantastic technology with countless possibilities, no doubt about that. But we can only grow our business if we understand our customers’ needs extremely well. Only then will we be able create extra value for them – and that’s our real business,” says Claus Tønnesen.

Follow the customer

An intensified customer focus also means having to adapt more quickly to changes in the market. In many cases, Primo has had to make changes in the production setup in order to live up to the customers' needs. Krzysztof Debski, managing director of Primo Poland, says:

“Our international and global customers have production facilities all over the world, and with the expansion and diversification of the companies’ production on an international scale, we have decided to follow them and establish regional production facilities in Ger-many, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Poland and Russia. We now also have a production joint venture in China as well. This means better logistics and added security in supply. Our customers work in a highly changeable market, and in order for us to satisfy their demands, we have to be as flexible as they are.”

Right now, Primo is undergoing a process of change. Most of the changes are already in place, internal cost levels are under control, and the organization is in place. Individual Primo companies are becoming stronger in driving the sales process themselves.

“The key word for the future of Primo is growth. We are on the right track, we are doing all the right things – developing innovative solutions with our customers, setting up a far more focused organization,” says Claus Tønnesen.

Technological substitution is the future

One of the main drivers for the future will be the substitution of wellknown technologies and materials with extruded plastic profiles. And the possibilities are, quite literally, endless. 

Primo has the size and the resources to actively enter into the development of new solutions along with its customers, and extruded plastic profiles have a huge potential in replacing older materials, making products that are lighter, stronger, more environmentally friendly and also faster and cheaper to work with. Plastic profiles are already replacing traditional materials in many business areas, and many more are to come. 

Prototyping in a matter of hours

But new development always requires prototypes, and in the plastic business, prototyping is often costly and takes a huge amount of time – until now, that is. 

When Primo develops new profiles, customers do not come to us with a final sketch of what they want. Nowadays, it’s an ongoing development process, and specifications and needs will undergo changes along the way to the final product. 

“Fortunately, we have the skill and the resources to get a prototype made within a couple of hours, eg. by using 3D printing technology,” says Claus Tønnesen. “After that, we can make prototype tools to make the profile from the actual material needed, and that is something we can do within a matter of days. In the old days, we were looking at weeks, maybe months, to produce a prototype. Not any longer. Faster, more flexible development, and proximity to our customers – that’s the key.”

Moving it forward

Primo’s knowhow and technology makes a world of difference for truck and trailer producers. The new Primo door sealing concept makes it possible for producers to react more quickly when a customer requires a special box size.

By making and fitting door seals themselves, they can make considerable cost savings on assembly and shorten leadtimes.

About Primo 

Headquartered in Copenhagen, the Danish group has sales and production activities at 11 locations in Europe and China. The group currently has 980 employees and a turnover of 205 million EUR (per 31.12.2022). The company was founded and owned by the Grunnet family and, since its beginning in 1959, has specialised in designing and producing customer-specific profile solutions in plastic.