Samuel Holmström, Lundqvist Trävaru
Samuel Holmström, CEO of Lundqvist Trävaru. Photo: Lundqvist Trävaru View original picture , opens in new tab/window

"The university has been as an external development department"

Published: 13 May 2020

Lundqvist Trävaru has been named one of Sweden's smartest companies. Inspired by the computer games world, they have, in close collaboration with the university, digitized a successful company.
– Luleå University of Technology has been there for us as a kind of external development department during our business trip from 10 to 100 million in sales, says CEO Samuel Holmström.

NorrlandsNavet is a new knowledge center at Luleå University of Technology to strengthen and develop companies in northern Sweden. The center is funded byThe Kamprad Family Foundation for Entrepreneurship, Research & Charity, and a guiding principle in the work is that the road between companies and the university should be short and simple.

A company that has long experience of collaborating with Luleå University of Technology is Lundqvist Trävaru AB in Piteå. A family-owned furniture carpenter founded in 1936, which is today run by the third generation and which has undergone an impressive development - quite in step with the times. Today, the company manufactures building kits for, among other things, garages, holiday homes and stables. With the help of a 3D program, customers can easily draw up their building and get prices for materials and craft services directly in the browser.

Employed university students

Lundqvist Trävaru has frequently employed students from Luleå University of Technology for development work. The 3D program is developed together with system developers, graphic designers and game developers, and several former students are now employees of the company. Over the years, from linguists to students in industrial economics and technical design, have completed numerous student projects in the company; what language is appropriate in assembly instructions, what could an internationalization strategy look like and how can the company's logistics flow change to allow for a doubling of the production rate?

– These are just a few examples of all the projects carried out together with the university's researchers and students, says Samuel Holmström.

Lundqvist Trävaru has had an impressive sales increase over the past decade and inaugurated its new house factory in Piteå in 2019. The company has been named a gazelle company for five consecutive years by Dagens Industri, as a super company by Veckans Affären and has also won Kungl. The Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) award for Smart Industry.

– I believe that NorrlandsNavet has extremely good conditions to make a difference in our region by matching the companies' needs to the arsenal of values the academy can bring to business; research, education and contact with students. We get a natural meeting place between academia and business, especially if we succeed in collaboration with other business-promoting organizations, says Samuel Holmström.

Great opportunities for companies 

Vinit Parida is professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at Luleå University of Technology and NorrlandsNavet's scientific leader. He sees great opportunities for small and medium-sized companies in northern Sweden to develop their business thanks to NorrlandsNavet.

– Lundqvist Trävaru represent a unique case as they have been successful in using digitalization to revise their business models to make themselves more profitable and resilient. They have undertaken a radical transformation by working closely with the University, which has simulated new technological and business development ideas, access to talent, and new ecosystem collaboration with different stakeholders. Thus, Lundvist Trävaru represent a success story of how the University can be source of knowledge and capability for small firms in north of Sweden, says Vinit Parida.