Acquisitions will remain an important part of NCAB’s growth, and we therefore asked a few different people at the company for their views on our acquisition activities. The following offers a snapshot of our acquisition activities – ranging from the process, our way of integrating operations and, not least, the perspective from employees at acquired companies.
What are your general thoughts on acquisitions?
“Acquisitions are, and will continue to be, an important part of NCAB’s growth. Acquisitions offer us quick access to an expanded customer base and more talented employees. Factories in Asia are expanding rapidly and if we are to retain our strong purchasing power we must continue to grow. Acquisitions are also a good way to establish NCAB in a new market. Even if NCAB is the largest player, the market is highly fragmented and substantial consolidation opportunities remain.”
What are the practical challenges when another company is to be integrated into NCAB?
“Our main focus is always customers and employees. We are acquiring talented employees with strong customer relationships, so first and foremost we must focus on “selling” NCAB to the new customers and employees. Then we consider how we can optimise purchasing by using NCAB’s Factory Management team only in Asia. The goal is also to integrate our IT systems, which is often the greatest challenge. Our goal is that the acquired companies can become one NCAB office with a similar working approach and the same values. In this way, we believe we create the highest value for customers and other stakeholders. We often identify synergies in purchasing, with better prices and terms and conditions. With NCAB’s Factory Management team in Asia, we can improve monitoring and quality when deliveries are under the control of NCAB.”
What have you learnt from the different acquisitions?
“We have naturally learnt plenty and found new ways to optimise operations. We have also learnt a lot from IT applications in acquired companies.”
What has worked well or less well?
“I think the integration of employees and new customers has been highly successful and we have increased our sales to new customers thanks to NCAB’s wider range of qualified suppliers. It has been more difficult to manage the many new suppliers that were included in the acquisitions, which has created extra work for our Factory Management team in Asia. We are endeavouring to find solutions to phase out the factories that only supply small volumes.”
How do things look moving forward?
“There are many small trading companies in both Europe and the USA. Often, these have started when a factory is closed and the sales department with many customer relationships has continued as a trading company. These have reached a certain size, but have found it more difficult to grow further in recent years. By working within NCAB, we can together offer their customers better factories and more service. So, this type of company is interesting to us and we are actively looking to build a pipeline of potential acquisitions. However, as these are often small, family-owned companies it can sometimes take a long time between the first meeting until a finalised deal.”
What are the greatest challenges you see with the integration of employees from a completely new company into NCAB’s organisation?
“Since we acquire companies that are similar to NCAB, the employees may have previously viewed us as their main competitor that they are now to become part of, which can be a great challenge. It is therefore important that we are part of the process at an early stage. NCAB announced five corporate acquisitions in 2021. Acquisitions will remain an important part of NCAB’s growth, and we therefore asked a few different people at the company for their views on our acquisition activities. The following offers a snapshot of our acquisition activities – ranging from the process, our way of integrating operations and, not least, the perspective from employees at acquired companies.
To meet the new employees and show them that they are important to NCAB and that their expertise is needed. We need to answer their questions and understand their needs, while remaining open and transparent about who we are. It is also important to be patient as integration may take time.”
How did it feel to be acquired by another company and then be integrated into the company?
“When we heard about the acquisition we felt proud that Prevent had been chosen. It was exciting to become part of an international group. There were naturally many questions and reflections and it has been a long journey for all employees. We came from another corporate culture and have worked hard to make the integration process as seamless as possible.
One year on, and our expectations have been exceeded and
we have learnt plenty about NCAB’s structure and work approach. Being part of NCAB is a tremendous opportunity for our customers and employees.”
What is important for employees to consider when they are integrated into another company? Do you have any tips?
“Initially, our employees were concerned and worried as everything was new, but thanks to NCAB’s onboarding process things gradually became clearer. Based on our own experiences, we believe as a general rule that it is important to conduct a detailed analysis of the acquired company to understand how the organisation works. At first glance, the organisations may seem similar, but there are probably differences in terms of processes, customer management and suppliers. It is very important to learn about the acquired company’s values, organisation – and particularly to get to know new colleagues.”
Being part of NCAB – is it what you had expected?
“Yes, it is. We will definitely have much greater opportunities to develop and grow – both as a company and employee. We are constantly learning new things about NCAB and are delighted to be part of the company and to contribute to its continued development.”