Stephan Bengtsson, the CEO of Safeman since 10 years, can now also title himself owner of the company. Within the company there is also the daughter Frida, as well as other members of staff in Olofström, Trelleborg, and now also Rwanda.
– I see it as a fantastic opportunity to get to work with dad, says Frida. I work in marketing and sales, even though it doesn’t feel like a job today, but more of an education. It is a bit like having a mentor 24 hours a day.
It’s not entirely easy to understand what the company does. Stephan explains.
– Safeman is a unique company for the simple reason that where everyone else speak of core business, our core business is not having a core business. We have an extremely wide range, which may be perceived as sprawly. But that is what makes us unique. We work with developing technology, materials and also mankind.
Through Preference, one of Safeman’s niched brands, the company develops and sells equipment for light transport vehicles such as Volkswagen, Peugeot och Citroën. It could, for example, be cladding to increase comfort as well as make the cars quieter.
During our tour in the business area we arrive at a large robotised facility and Stephan explains that Safeman, in cooperation with a larger client, has developed a whole new production technique which when compared globally means that the production cost in the facility is by far the most cost-effective there is today.
The company is currently building a factory in Rwanda and Frida tells of how she has already been at location in the country eight times. Rwanda is a country that is experiencing strong economic growth and both Stephan and Frida testify to the high level of ambition they meet. The enterprise involves a mobilised water cleaning system driven by solar cells, completely free of chemicals. This is a cooperation with a company in Lund, Watersprint, which uses UV-LED lights to clean the water. A technique which builds on knowledge that was rewarded with the Nobel Prize in physics in 2014. The UV light neutralises bacteria and disinfect the water so that it is drinkable.
The aim with Safewater, as the system is called, is to increase the quality of life for the people on the African continent. Bad water brings diarrhea and diseases. Which of course has a negative impact on people’s lives. Health centres and schools show a great interest in the product, which has an opportunity to be a part of solving a world problem: the lack of clean water.
– It is a multi-faceted enterprise, says Stephan. I usually describe it in terms such as “we will not lose money” the first years. Profitability in the long term is necessary to be able to develop the business further. The company in Rwanda has 50% natives and 50% Swedes in the board of directors and employ a female CEO. We are keen to link Rwanda and Sweden and for that reason we will have the local population represented in both the board and executive management.
– Spontaneous collections have been set up by employees of Safeman so that we can bring clothes and toys for the children in Rwanda in our containers. Furthermore, our employees’ children have set up collections in their schools to the same purpose. It is something we hadn’t counted on, but which completely awes us, says Frida.
The will to develop and find complete solutions permeates the whole interview. The more Stephan speaks of his thoughts and ideas, the more you want to hear. He has an exciting new way of thinking concerning work formats and employment types.
– We listen to our employees and have confidence in them. We want the people working for us to see work as a stimulating part of life. But there should also be a respect for family and leisure time. We have developed a lot of technology within the industry. But not the human systems. I want to affect this. I want all our employees to feel that they are involved. In the entirety. That there is courage to test limitations. Not stopping. When the mood is that we are passionate and we want this, then the clients understand.
– Everything we do we can do a little better. It is a transfer from Ingvar Kamprad. Stephan mentions his life motto: Life is too short to be bored. A motto he has tried to live after since he was 20.
– If we get the question “What do you do at Safeman?” we reply “What do you need?”.