Then and now: During the 1980s and 1990s sales to private individuals nearly stopped. Instead, the company decided to focus on developing even more complex flavours. Major breweries were especially attractive as potential customers, although the company remained eager to serve the existing customer base of smaller companies.
Einar Willumsen’s production facilities were rationalised and modernised, both in Denmark and in Sweden. Traditional ceramic storage jars for concentrates and flavourings were replaced by stainless steel tanks. Considerable investments in modern technology permitted even more precise distillation and extraction of natural flavours.
As for customers, two most crucial factors for them are fair pricing and fast and efficient service. A product launch is often a part of a marketing strategy and there is no time for delays. New ice cream cannot be launched a few months late and miss the summer months; a mulled wine mix must be ready for Christmas. There are rigorous demands that flavour manufacturers and their suppliers must fulfil. Among other requirements, they must ensure that spices, fruit juices, and other raw materials are available when required. Einar Willumsen has always spread the risk as evenly as possible, building up a network of reliable suppliers around the world. If a shortage happens in one area, it should always be possible to source the raw ingredients elsewhere.
Former foreman and factory chief in Malmö remembers the transition in the 1980s, when everyone worked hard to ramp up the business and make the company more competitive. “We produced huge amounts, so our volumes increased rapidly, which put enormous pressure on the production staff”.
It was a time when new ideas were introduced, more and more raw materials came in, and inventories expanded. It really was a revolutionary time. Einar Willumsen went from having a lot of smaller customers to dealing with ever bigger customers. But we were – and always are – careful never to abandon our old clients. This initiative required a great deal of travelling to find new customers and establish our name in the industry. The outside world had changed, and Einar Willumsen succeeded in keeping pace and really deliver.
Einar Willumsen started to sell to multinational companies, something that was previously unthinkable. Some customers also began to make other demands. Lifecycle of some products began to shorten as manufacturer experimented boldly. If an experiment proved to be successful, the volumes would increase rapidly; on the other hand, a product would be quickly discarded if it did not sell well.
Einar Willumsen’s flavours and concentrates were now in everything from cider to pickled herring. The company itself had transitioned into a modern, high-tech enterprise.