Ptec helps 3M Svenska with product exposure
When Désirée Forsblad-Stahl at 3M Svenska and Ptec collaborate, successful concepts for the Swedish and Nordic markets are created. Together, the team has designed a product catalogue, as well as a clever display that has become a favourite for Swedish and Australian distributors. To get to know more, we had a chat with Désirée.
How did your journey at 3M start and how has your career developed since then?
– Oh! I’ve worked at 3M Svenska AB for a long time. It’s an exciting company to work for and it offers so many opportunities through its different business sectors. I’ve worked at 3M for 38 years and my assignments have varied.
I’ve held positions such as marketing manager, product manager and personnel manager in the sector for industrial products, just to name a few. Right now, it says Senior Channel Marketer on my business card, which means that I work in close collaboration with distributors such as Ahlsell, Tools and Swedol, where 3M is a fully-fledged supplier of industrial products with strong brands such as PELTOR, E-A-R, Scoth-Brite, Speedglas and Scotch. In total, more than 8,000 products are marketed in Sweden (50,000 worldwide).
What’s the best thing about your job? What makes your heart beat that little bit faster?
“I get excited by running joint projects with the customers, together with Key Accounts. Nothing can beat teamwork and customer contact. Anyone who thinks that I must have lost my motivation and commitment after 38 years is completely wrong. I love building brands and I feel extra proud over the journey that the world-leading brand 3M PELTOR has made.
3M acquired the parent group Aearo Technologies, of which PELTOR was a part, in 2008. PELTOR was already a well-known brand back then, mainly for communications equipment and hearing defenders. Today, 3M’s Swedish firm accounts for the majority of sales of 3M PELTOR Bluetooth headsets worldwide, and it’s become a lifestyle choice to wear a 3M headset. Hearing defenders have gone from being a necessary pain to becoming a matter of course and an indicator that a company looks after its employees. With the headset, the user protects their hearing, communicates with their colleagues, listens to the radio and answers the telephone. You don’t want to be without your headset, so you now wear them around your neck when not using them. This gets my heart to beat that little bit faster.
What’s important for you when you choose a supplier?
“For me, service, flexibility and reliability are important. A supplier who is attentive to customers, nice and good-hearted is also set to have a successful collaboration. I’d say all of this together describes Ptec.”
As we’re now talking about Ptec, how did you come into contact with one another?
“It must have been around 12–15 years ago. I got a tip about Ptec when 3M colleagues in Gagnef (previously Hörnell) needed a display for Speedglas welding helmets that were to be launched in both Sweden and globally. They needed a display that could market Speedglas helmets in-store. The result was a great success and it is still a current item.
Ptec delivers, for example, Speedglas displays to distributors in Australia on a yearly basis. The fact that larger chain stores plagiarised hangers and holders for different types of protective items in the display also shows how successful the launch was.”
You mentioned the Speedglas project – is that how all your projects proceed? You have an idea and Ptec makes a proposal as to how the idea can be achieved?
“We often have an idea at 3M but we lack the expertise that Ptec has, and therefore they can help us to refine and improve our ideas. At 3M’s head office, we have a showroom with shop fittings where we can do hands-on-testing. A common procedure is that Peter Andersson at Ptec visits the exhibition room, often with a physical test product. Once we’ve agreed on the characteristics and we have a prototype that we all feel works, the next step is to test it in-store. After that, it goes into production.”
Ptec has a product catalogue on its website. A little bird told me that you have a finger in that pie?
“Yes. I was the initiator of the product catalogue as I felt that we needed to publish the entire range to make it easier for both 3M personnel and 3M customers. The product catalogue gives you a comprehensive overview of the display possibilities we offer through Ptec. The catalogue has become a valued sales tool as well as a reference work.
Have you got a favourite among the displays?
“I like the display we developed for the X series, 3M PELTOR X headset. It’s a passive pair of hearing defenders, so without the radio. The headsets are colour coded in five different colours, where the different colours indicate the attenuation of the headset, from low to high. We wanted to create a display that the distributors could make use of in the store. It had to occupy a small floor space but nevertheless show off the five different models, as well as offer a picking location for quick access to the product. We even managed to design the display in an X shape! The display is an example of how collaboration between those of us at 3M and Ptec works at its very best as the Åf stores are just as happy with the display as we are.”
Last but not least.
If you were to dare to do a little trendspotting; which of 3M’s products do you think we’re going to see more of in the future?
“Right now, people across the world are affected by the pandemic as never seen before. Covid-19 has forced us to rethink and find new paths. Many people around the world have spent each day with protection over their noses and mouths, and I think that different types of respiratory protection are going to continue to be in focus in the future too.
We’ve learned in recent decades that hearing needs to be protected. Now we’ve learned that the respiratory system also needs to be protected. Not just against the virus, but against other harmful particles such as solvents, asbestos, silica dust and diverse particles and gases.”