2MB metal tube industry 2.0 article IKEAS metal tube manufacturers are suffering from a loss of innovation, the metal industry’s chief executive said on Thursday, blaming a lack on the company’s “lack of leadership”.
“The metal tube industrial sector in Europe is losing innovation because of the lack of leadership, a lack in innovation, and the lack in the amount of innovation we can bring to the table,” said IKEa’s chief operating officer, Ralf Schuster.IKEA is the biggest producer of metal tubes in Europe, and Schuster said the company had been unable to increase its sales by more than 10 percent in the last five years due to the economic crisis.
“We have been in this business for 20 years, and we are in the business for 15 years,” Schuster told reporters.
“And we need to improve the performance, we need more innovation.”
Metal tube production has grown by more that 30 percent in Europe in the past decade.
IKEas share of the industry is about 10 percent, up from 7 percent in 2005, and it is one of the largest manufacturers in Europe.
But Schuster also noted that IKEAs success in the metal tube business is also down to the company “lacking an understanding of how to be a metal tube manufacturer”.
“It is a very complex industry and it has to be organised and managed,” he said.
“There are many elements that go into it and this is something that we are trying to improve on and create a system that will allow for that.”
Metal tubes are used to make metal objects, from jewelry to metal parts.
They are also used in some high-end items, such as computer monitors, but their main use is in making foodstuffs.
The IKEATECs head of research, Jens Hoeven, said in a recent interview that there was “nothing wrong with” the metal tubes market in Europe as long as the metal manufacturing process was done “with the utmost care”.
“We should be able to provide the best possible product and the best quality,” Hoeving said.
Ikea’s Schuster, who also serves as vice president of IKEAF , said the metal factory industry needed “a fundamental change in the way that we manufacture metal products”.
“Metal tubes have a very long history, and that’s why the industry needs a fundamental change,” he added.
“This is a long time coming and we need a paradigm shift.”IKEa said in March it would invest an additional 3.3 billion euros ($3.7 billion) to modernise its metal manufacturing.