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Supplier Global Resource Magazine May/June 2012 : Page 54

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT History in the Making Swedish supplier Sporrong has been in business for almost 350 years, and it’s witnessed, and made, a lot of history along the way. BY SARA LAvENdUSkI ou’ve heard of companies with a long history of suc-cessful business, but how about 346 years’ worth of entrepreneurship? Look no further than Sporrong, a supplier based in Solna, Sweden, just north of Stockholm, with Yngve Blomström (L) manufacturing plants in both Finland is Sporrong’s business and Estonia. development manager, Sporrong is one of the oldest com-and Michael Englund is VD/CEO. panies in Sweden. Originally established by girdle-maker Henry Grau in 1666, it was eventually taken over in 1842 by Carl Claes Sporrong. “We specialize in medals, insignia, emblematic jewelry and uniform accessories,” says Yngve Blom-ström, business development manager. “In the 19th century the majority of production was of uniform emblems, buttons and medals. Even today we produce uniform accessories for the mili-tary, police, airline companies and other types of uniform users. We sell many products as corporate gifts in premium recognition programs as well as awards and medals to sporting federations, clubs and events.” Although Sporrong has enjoyed centuries of success, it’s currently facing competition like so many other suppliers around the world. “It comes especially from products made in China,” says Blomström. “However, with environmental issues Y The Sporrong factory in Sweden as it appeared in 1890. and higher demand for quality, transparency and social compli-ance all in focus, we feel we stand on solid ground in meeting the competition with our quality (ISO 9001) and environment (ISO 14001) certifications. We also have a modern ERP sys-tem to ensure an efficient supply chain from order to shipping, integrated Web-shop solutions for customer orders, in-house designers and a high degree of craftsmanship in our manufac-turing plants in Finland and Estonia.” And of course, because of its long history, Sporrong has played a role in numerous noteworthy moments. On November 30, 1718, Sweden’s King Karl XII was shot and killed in Halden, Norway, during a Swedish siege of the Fredriksten fortress. Since then, mystery has plagued the king’s death: Was he killed by enemy or friendly fire? And was the deadly projectile a bullet, or a silver uni-form button as some suspected? At the time, Sporrong was the only manufacturer of uniform buttons in Sweden. Experts continue to 54 MAY/JUNE 2012 WWW.SUPPLIERGLOBALRESOURCE.COM

Company Spotlight: Sporrong

Sara Lavenduski

History in the Making<br /> <br /> Swedish supplier Sporrong has been in business for almost 350 years, and it’s witnessed, and made, a lot of history along the way.<br /> <br /> You’ve heard of companies with a long history of successful business, but how about 346 years’ worth of entrepreneurship? Look no further than Sporrong, a supplier based in Solna, Sweden, just north of Stockholm, with manufacturing plants in both Finland and Estonia.<br /> <br /> Sporrong is one of the oldest companies in Sweden. Originally established by girdle-maker Henry Grau in 1666, it was eventually taken over in 1842 by Carl Claes Sporrong. “We specialize in medals, insignia, emblematic jewelry and uniform accessories,” says Yngve Blomström, business development manager. “In the 19th century the majority of production was of uniform emblems, buttons and medals. Even today we produce uniform accessories for the military, police, airline companies and other types of uniform users.We sell many products as corporate gifts in premium recognition programs as well as awards and medals to sporting federations, clubs and events.” <br /> <br /> Although Sporrong has enjoyed centuries of success, it’s currently facing competition like so many other suppliers around the world. “It comes especially from products made in China,” says Blomström. “However, with environmental issues and higher demand for quality, transparency and social compliance all in focus, we feel we stand on solid ground in meeting the competition with our quality (ISO 9001) and environment (ISO 14001) certifications. We also have a modern ERP system to ensure an efficient supply chain from order to shipping, integrated Web-shop solutions for customer orders, in-house designers and a high degree of craftsmanship in our manufacturing plants in Finland and Estonia.” <br /> <br /> And of course, because of its long history, Sporrong has played a role in numerous noteworthy moments. On November 30, 1718, Sweden’s King Karl XII was shot and killed in Halden, Norway, during a Swedish siege of the Fredriksten fortress. Since then, mystery has plagued the king’s death: Was he killed by enemy or friendly fire? And was the deadly projectile a bullet, or a silver uniform button as some suspected? At the time, Sporrong was the only manufacturer of uniform buttons in Sweden. Experts continue to Look for answers, and the body has been exhumed four times since the initial entombment in a Stockholm church. The mystery continues, and might not ever be solved with absolute certainty.<br /> <br /> More recently, Sporrong was asked to produce medals commemorating the June 2010 wedding of Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. The couple welcomed a baby, Princess Estelle, on February 23 of this year.<br /> <br /> Sporrong was also recently asked to produce replicas of uniform buttons for an American museum after a Civil War uniform was found with buttons from the Swedish company. This year, the supplier will also be producing a medal to commemorate the 100th birthday, on August 4, of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish humanitarian who helped an estimated 100,000 Jews escape Nazi-occupied Hungary by issuing them protective passports to neutral Sweden during World War II. He was subsequently detained by Soviet authorities on suspicion of espionage and never seen again. The medal commemorating his birth will be given out to organizations around the world at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, an event organized by the Swedish embassy.<br /> <br /> But make no mistake: Sporrong’s products are ideal for all types of companies and organizations, not just the U.N. and royal families. “We believe our items would fit in programs with other prestige brands so as to create a unique customized product,” says Blomström. Now, the company is even moving into retail. “We have manufactured some really nice designs of cufflinks for the retail market together with two strong retail brands,” he says. “It’ll be interesting to see how the perception on the market is. Retail has not been our focus in the past, so this is a new business area for us.” It just goes to show that, no matter how well-established a company may be, new business ventures are always on the horizon.<br /> <br /> Sara Lavenduski is a member of ASI’s Editorial Department and a frequent contributor to Supplier Global Resource.

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