Tempcon’s subsidiary PL Fraktservice in Uddevalla is reorganizing and Peter Friberg, the company’s long-term operations manager, is stepping into the role of CEO after founder Peter Lengrell retires. However, Lengrell will continue his commitment to Tempcon as a member of the board. PL Fraktservice operates scheduled traffic between Uddevalla and Helsingborg and has a well-developed distribution network across Bohuslän, Dalsland, Värmland and parts of Västergötland. We have met Friberg for a chat about the future and driving forces for PL, Tempcon and the transport industry in general.
Friberg, even if you are not that old, you have many years in the industry and at PL Fraktservice, how did it start?
As a 13-year-old, I started working evenings and nights during school at what was then called Matsäljarna and eventually became part of today’s Martin & Servera. I worked there in the warehouse loading and unloading, picking orders and much more. A fantastically good education that I have benefited a lot from over the years and which became a natural step into the challenging world of logistics. One day Lengrell came into the terminal with a new, nice truck, and it was then and there that I decided that I was going to work there. After transport technical high school, I started directly at PL and I have now been here for over 24 years. A school that money can’t buy. I certainly ran a couple of my own businesses at the same time as I worked at PL for six, seven years, but large parts of the operations in those companies had various connections to PL’s operations.
What drives you?
There are mainly three things that drive me, staff, quality and education. Creating conditions for people to grow and see how they develop is very important to me. Look at the transport management that is sitting out here and that is also my management team. All are guys who practiced here that we saw potential in and who have stayed. First they worked as drivers and then developed in their new roles in the office. Traffic management, vehicles and HR. Contact with all staff is extremely important and there is a reason why the coffee machine is here in the office and not in some distant driver’s room. Here, of course, the education part also comes into play. It is important that we as employers create an environment where the employees feel safe and with a high satisfaction factor. Then the organization performs at its peak. At the same time, it is important that you have the right conditions and knowledge to perform your job. We have created what we call PL Education, where we tailor the training for our staff, regardless of whether it concerns YKB, food safety or the work environment. We will also continue to be a good partner for upper secondary and adult education, and there I will have a role as an expert in the municipality’s education council so that we can give students the right conditions already in upper secondary school.
Then we have the matter of quality. PL Fraktservice must always, and always has, deliver a little better than our competitors. We are not the cheapest on the market, but as a customer you should feel that you are getting the service you can expect from us. We don’t just want to deliver, we want to exceed the customer’s expectations. The fact that we work with the customer and not for the customer is the most important thing to me, and it is also the company’s value base that we always start from. Then we can more easily know what expectations the customer really has for our delivery. In this quality work, the staff is of course a very important part. There is a lot of talk about organizations today being independent of people, but people build relationships with heart and soul. Our customers must have a person with us whom they can always call and who personally takes care of that customer. Then of course we have to build an organization that can live without individuals, but the personal meeting is an important part of our quality work.
You have been part of Tempcon’s entire journey so far, how do you see the development that has been and how do you think the future of the group will be?
It is an exciting journey that we have been a part of and you have to remember that it is still a young Group. However, I think that the Group has matured a lot recently with a commitment from everyone involved that creates credibility for what we deliver. This also creates security in our operations, which allows us to focus on our core business in the right way. At the same time, we have continued to face some challenges as we have grown very quickly and have strong growth. We still need to get the right platforms at each company for continued positive development, but I think we are on the right track and look forward to the coming years, which I believe will be an exciting time.
What challenges do you see for the industry, the group and PL going forward?
Just like everyone else, we live in a time of great uncertainty that raises many questions but does not have many answers to give. The war in Ukraine and its effects with rising energy prices, problems with deliveries of vehicles and spare parts as a consequence of lack of logistics flows, rampant fuel prices and an approaching recession which means that our transport flows have large fluctuations over time. These are factors that we all have to deal with in everyday life in order to run a good business. Then we also have the great lack of good drivers. Here, we must work long-term with education and practice to ensure regrowth.
What will happen now with PL Fraktservice with Peter Friberg at the helm?
I don’t think the changes will be that big, as in my role as operations manager I have previously been involved in most things here at the company. We have to set up a new sales organization as it has been part of Lengrell’s duties, but otherwise the goal is to continue to grow organically with our customers and bring in new customers that complement our flows that we run today. We will use our certifications in this work and in the long term we will be the natural logistics partner for businesses that handle refrigerated, frozen and heated goods in the region. Then, of course, we will continue to take care of our staff. I am convinced that we would never have received the backing and support we received from the entire staff during the tough years of the pandemic if the employees had not enjoyed themselves here at PL Fraktservice.