Manufacturing the future in Europe

December 30, 2020 //By Nick Flaherty
Manufacturing the future in Europe
Per Holmberg, CEO of Swedish industrial computer maker JLT Mobile talks to Nick Flaherty about manufacturing in Europe during the Covid-19 pandemic and the importance for new business models

JLT Mobile is Sweden’s largest PC manufacturing company, with over 100,000 computers shipped worldwide. It partners with a local supplier for its boards, building systems at its plant an hour from the capital Stockholm, which turned out to be a key advantage during the pandemic. But it is also looking to use its expertise in hardware to expand its data analysis services.

“This spring when we went into the pandemic one of the aspects we were looking at was our ability to fulfil customer orders as there were indications of longer lead times on items such as batteries,” said Per Holmberg, CEO of JLT (above right, at the headquarters in Ronneby). “So we decided to build up inventory here in Sweden on both components and finished products.”

“We worked closely with our manufacturing partner to make sure we had back up resources in case employees were sick or in quarantine but we have been able to keep the production cell running – its not that crowded but there is manual labour on testing, but we have been able to do that with multiple shifts so we had different teams coming in at different times.”

The company was started in 1994 in the early days of the Internet and GSM, pioneering the rugged computing market with its own engineering and manufacturing facilities in Sweden, enabling it to control every aspect of production with high precision.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, it has launched its first Android-based rugged computer system and is looking at using its hardware expertise to expand its services business into data analysis services.

“Currently we have all the manufacturing, both PCB design and manufacture as well as box build in Sweden about an hour from the headquarters. We manufacture the boards, assemble the systems, with burn in test and distribution,” said Holmberg.

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