Clas Ohlson offers smart, simple, practical and affordable solutions focused on the home. Our offering is intended to simplify everyday life and provide inspiration. The product range should be attractive as well as distinctive and competitive in all of the markets we serve.
Product purchasing begins with an idea of what our customers are going to want. That idea might come from our customers, a technological change in the market, major market trends or the continued development of an existing product in our range. Our purchasing organisation has its ear to the ground, enabling it to react quickly to identify future customer demand.
This approach means that we can continuously develop our offering of smart solutions – be it a product or a service. We can buy in finished products that complement our offering, or we can help to develop products. We can also design products ourselves.
Our broad range and millions of customer interactions mean we have both a responsibility and an opportunity to contribute to the sustainable development of society. Actively offering more products that encourage a more sustainable lifestyle is therefore a priority in our work to develop the product range.
Strict requirements and continuous evaluation
For a product to be included in our product range, we test to see if they meet our strict requirements on proper function, price, quality, safety and chemical content. Of course, they must be produced under appropriate working conditions. Products that we already sell are routinely evaluated on the basis of demand, customer satisfaction and profitability.
We also work to minimise the use of hazardous chemicals in the company’s product range, and we have imposed stricter requirements than those set by legislation for products used by children and products that come into contact with skin or food. Testing is carried out in our own workshops and laboratories, and we also cooperate with several independent test institutions such as Intertek, Semko and SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden.
We don’t own any factories. Products that carry our own brand names and generic products are purchased direct from factories or through agents in Europe and Asia. Our customers and we have rigorous demands when it comes to function, quality, price and respect for people and the environment in the supply chain.
Clas Ohlson sources products from 650 suppliers in Europe and 600 manufacturers in Asia. 71 per cent of all our products are manufactured in Asia, predominantly in China, which is our largest purchasing market, where we also have our own buyers.
Close cooperation with suppliers
An efficient purchasing organisation with its own offices in China, a close relationship with our suppliers, and large volumes mean that we can offer an affordable range.
We invest in close and long-term relationships with our suppliers and over the years, we have built up a strong supply network. This enables us to reduce our buying costs and gives us greater influence over product design, quality and price. It also secures more reliable and rapid deliveries. All our suppliers have to comply with our Code of Conduct.
Before entering into any partnership, we visit the factory to carry out an assessment of the supplier’s ability to deliver in accordance with our requirements. We make a return visit before each delivery to carry out quality checks, for which there is an established procedure.
Packaging is an important factor in our products; not only does it have to provide protection during transport, both to the store and then to the customer’s home, but it also has to show the product to the best advantage and be easy to work with in the store. Recycling is also important, and we are always looking for new ways to reduce our packaging waste. Our packaging must be as sustainable as possible and easy to recycle.
Today when we identify and launch a new product, we also analyse and optimise its packaging. We look at everything from choice of material and design to, in some cases, whether we can get rid of the packaging altogether.
We set packaging requirements for our suppliers too because we want to avoid unnecessary packaging, particularly for products that are sold in large volumes.
Logistics and supply chain
Our range includes almost 15,000 items. All products pass through our large distribution centre in Insjön, where the goods are repacked and sent out, either to our stores or direct to the customer. The distribution centre in Insjön is the Group’s logistics hub.
Logistics is a key component in Clas Ohlson’s business, and so an efficient flow of goods with low CO2 emissions is vital for success.
Virtually all goods from Asia arrive in Gothenburg by sea and are then transported by rail up to Insjön. Sea and rail transport both have a good CO2 profile. The majority of goods from Europe are consolidated to form larger deliveries and transported by rail from Helsingborg to Insjön.
We are working hard to identify more environmentally acceptable transport solutions that can further reduce our CO2 emissions.
Sales and servicing
Clas Ohlson’s sales are conducted through easily accessible sales channels that offer good customer service.
We have a variety of store formats and continuously develop our concepts and channels to ensure that they reflect customers’ needs.
We offer a unique servicing option through our own workshops in Insjön, which aims to extend the service life of the products we sell.
Product use and recycling
Our products must be easy to reuse and recycle. Materials, chemicals and packaging are all things we need to consider. A long life is essential to reducing a product’s impact on the environment and our climate.
Spare parts are a good way to extend the service life of products. Our cost-conscious and environmentally aware customers appreciate the fact that we stock over 10,000 spare parts.