IKEA imposes strict environmental standards on its hauliers, but transport company Kaj Inrikes easily meets these requirements. The company was one of the first in Sweden to purchase new Euro 6 trucks from Scania.
Lars Rosén, CEO of Kaj Inrikes AB in Älmhult, Sweden, has just invested in 28 years of environmental technology: outside his office are four new Scania R 480 Euro 6 trucks; each truck will be operated by the haulier for seven years. The alternative would have been to purchase Euro 5 trucks ― which are allowed under government regulations ― but Kaj Inrikes chose the highest level of technology in order to remain at the cutting edge of long-term environmental thinking.
Kaj Inrikes has transported goods for furniture giant IKEA for the past 45 years. Back then, the company was called Arne Johansson Åkeri, and for many years transported goods internationally for Swedish transport company ASG. A new phase began in 1965 when IKEA opened its flagship store in Kungens Kurva (its first store outside the one in Älmhult, which opened in 1958), 20 kilometres south of Stockholm. A third store opened south of Gothenburg soon after. Since then, the haulier has grown together with IKEA.
Meeting IKEA’s environmental standards
IKEA’s environmental policies apply to its hauliers. Among other things, no trucks may be older than ten years.
“IKEA is one of the world’s largest private transport service buyers,” explains Kaj Inrikes Vehicles Manager Kaj Johansson, gesturing towards all the warehouse terminals behind the haulage company’s yard in Älmhult.
Johansson is the son of company founder Arne Johansson and is also the person for whom the company was named.
250 departures every week
Nowadays Kaj Inrikes handles most of IKEA’s distribution to its Swedish stores. In volume terms, it means that around one and a quarter million cubic metres of goods per year are transported from its warehouses in Älmhult and Torsvik south of Jönköping, equalling about 250 departures per week. The haulier’s trucks collect almost as much goods from various suppliers on their way back to Älmhult.
“All orders must be unloaded between five and ten o’clock in the morning,” says Rosén. “When the stores open, no trucks may be present in the area. The just-in-time delivery standard is 95 percent and we achieve 98 percent.”
The company has 25 trucks that cover the entire country except northern Norrland, and the cities of Stockholm and Kalmar. The company’s partner in southern Sweden, Alwex in Växjö, transports some of this volume.
Helping out the railway
Rail transport services are well-developed in Sweden and IKEA is an important railway customer, but the train isn’t always available. When it’s not Kaj Inrikes is ready to take up the slack.
“The railway doesn’t run every day of the week but we do,” says Johansson. “Our trucks are on the road 359 days a year and we are happy to help out the railway when their services are not running or have problems.”
Investing in Euro 6
Due to his age, Arne Johansson is not formally involved in the company’s operations, but that does not prevent him from still following the business on almost a daily basis. For example, during the delivery of the four new Scania R 480 trucks with Euro 6 engines from Atteviks Lastvagnar, a Scania dealership in Ljungby, Johansson the older paid very close attention to what was going on.
“I drove a Scania as early as the 1940s, and the first truck I owned was a Scania-Vabis L75, which I drove all over Europe,” he says, also praising the technology in modern trucks and their environmental technology in particular.
In those days, communication was limited to one telephone call home to the haulier per week at best. It often took time to get access to a phone, if one could be found at all.
The new trucks are equipped with an on-board Scania Communicator, whose computer automatically collects information both in real time and for archiving. The system will now be gradually introduced into the haulier’s already very accurate vehicle monitoring.
“Scania Communicator is standard in our trucks and can be programmed to handle much more than reporting fuel consumption and trip data,” explains Tomas Johansson, Scania salesman at Atteviks, as he hands over the keys to the haulier in Älmhult. “It is a system that links the vehicle with capabilities such as monitoring and positioning.”