It’s always an asset to have a passionate leader wearing the conductor’s hat at your business, and Railcare Group CEO Daniel Öholm is a perfect example of this. “I love to talk about my company. I love this company because we work with railways, with our people and with innovations. There is a good spirit in this company,” Railcare Group CEO Daniel Öholm says enthusiastically.
Mr. Öholm has been serving as Railcare Group’s CEO since 2014 and focuses on pushing the company towards new, innovative projects. He first gained leadership with the company in 2010, when he worked as vice president for all of the company’s subsidiaries.
The time spent in his earlier years at Railcare Group has allowed him to experience the company from every angle. “By the time I became CEO, I knew all aspects of the group,” Mr. Öholm recounts.
Mr. Öholm’s diverse knowledge of the company and appreciation of the business from all perspectives has facilitated the introduction of new methods and technologies. “Our company is special because we work with innovations all the time and handle problems in a new way. We love to solve problems and do what no one else does,” Mr. Öholm states.
Thanks to such open-mindedness, the company has achieved many milestones in a relatively short period of time. Founded in 1992, Railcare Group began with one machine and two employees. Since then, the company has seen a tremendous increase in profits, especially after it was listed on the Swedish stock exchange in 2007. “I like to say we developed from one machine to a group,” Mr. Öholm recalls.
In an industry where precision and efficiency are of equal value, one innovation the company is particularly proud of is its Railvac. “We use vacuum excavation technology to clean up areas in between train tracks. This is our Railvac concept, and we are the only ones who do that. There are other methods that are performed by other companies, but our method has the advantage, because we only need limited stretches of time to do our job. We don’t delay trains,” Mr. Öholm explains.
The Railvac is used in conjunction with another Railcare Group creation, the ballast feeder, which removes old ballast (railway track foundation typically made of gravel) and replaces it with new ballast. Such technological advances are a key contributor to the success of Railcare Group.
“R&D has always been important from the start. Recently, we set up a good, controlled system for it in order to develop new machines,” notes Mr. Öholm. The company also established its Railcare Academy, which enables operators to gain knowledge about the machines and customers, troubleshoot, and exchange ideas.
This mix of information exchange has contributed to Railcare Group’s significant turnover, which reached approximately 32 million EUR in 2015. Mr. Öholm proudly highlights, “We’ve had 21 quarters of black figures in a row.”
Railcare Group has fostered relationships with a range of clients to help secure a profitable future. Projects include work with public and private railway companies and local authorities, as well as major infrastructure projects, in which the company operates as a subcontractor. Railcare Group is also making efforts to expand its export business.
Currently, 60% of Railcare Group’s business is in Sweden, but the organization has its eye on boosting its international business. “In Europe, we rent machines with our own operators. If someone in, for example, the Ukraine or North America, wants a machine, we sell them. We have sold about 40 machines up to now, primarily to Russia and North America,” points out Mr. Öholm.
In addition to closely monitoring its existing partnerships, Railcare Group is always finding ways to create new business relationships. The company is active in international trade fairs, such as the IAF (International Exhibition on Track Technology) in Münster, Germany.
Personal client contact is also important to Mr. Öholm, who offers demonstrations of the company’s machines to customers. Moreover, Railcare Group maintains an online presence through its website, as well as the release of its annual Railcare News publication.
Mr. Öholm is looking forward to tackling new challenges in the future. “We are ready to reach new levels. We want to increase our orders and find long-term projects,” he says. Mr. Öholm also knows that the foundation of any good company is its employees and adds, “While growing, it is important for us to maintain our company culture. Regarding our values, our personnel is the most important thing for the company.”