If you think about the evolution of cleaning appliances for home and business, it makes sense that one firm might evolve from making parts to making full machines. This is especially true if that firm was functioning at the very beginning of the "electronic age". This is precisely the story behind the Nilfisk brand, which began in Denmark in 1906 and shifted from an electrical motor production firm to a maker of professional cleaning equipment for consumer and commercial/industrial markets.
The company has undergone many changes over time and began when two businessmen came together to provide the burgeoning appliance industry with the small electrical engines needed. The firm also supplied motors for motorcycles and drilling machines, as well as coffee grinders, but it was when it patented an early vacuum cleaner in 1910 that everything changed.
It was lightweight (17 pounds) and took one person to operate. At the time, it was common for four people to be put to work when operating a vacuum! This cleaning machine did so well, and sold so much better than any other product the company was making, that by the 1950s, it was the only product being produced.
Amazingly enough, the firm remained focused on vacuums for the next three decades and things did not change at all until the company was purchased by NKT Holding. After that, there were several other mergers and eventually Nilfisk became Nilfisk-Advance, offering a large array of the top cleaning machines on the market.
Nilfisk-Advance, though still based in Denmark, has a presence in 45 countries, and distribution to more than 70. It has factories and facilities in the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, China, Hungary, Italy, Germany, and its home country of Denmark. Currently there are more than five thousand employees.
Their product groups consist of vacuum cleaners and floor cleaning and maintenance equipment. Their full range includes:
* Commercial vacuums - dry vacs, upright vacs, wet/dry vacs, and riders
* Industrial vacuums - single phase dry vacs, single phase explosion vacs, and industrial health and safety vacs
* Floor cleaning and maintenance - this is a massive group of products that includes scrubbers and dryers, sweepers, combination machines, single dics, burnishers, carpet extractors, and steam cleaners
This represents the core of the company's products, and can be further divided into dozens of different models. An interesting point about all of them is that they are designed with the company's "Green Meets Clean" initiative in mind.
The company's vision is to create sustainable cleaning for all, and to do so they have established their Green Meets Clean guidelines. Admitting that their machines "naturally consume energy, water, and in certain product areas, detergents" (Nilfisk-advance.com, 2014), Nilfisk has committed to designing with optimal efficiency in mind.
Admitting that this may force them to alter the way they conduct business, they have also dedicated themselves to doing this in order to take their business in a positive direction. Acknowledging that clean and green is what consumers want and need, and that it is also a sound method of modern business, it is a sign that innovations are on the forefront of the company's future product design.
Of course, future steps toward sustainability are not the only ones that Nilfisk will take. The company already has a materials management program in place that ensures optimal management of waste from factories. Plastics are reused and remolded, steel is cut optimally and recycled, traditional recycling is done on paper and plastics, pallets are recycled, and all used batteries/oil/tires/bulbs/and other difficult materials are also recycled properly.
The firm's 2013 sustainability report finely details their Code of Ethics and their other "green" policies that guarantee a remarkable business model is already at work and in place for the future. Though Nilfisk started out as a progressive company in the cleaning industry, it has shown itself to be progressive about cleaning up big business, too. As a firm dedicated to making top of the line cleaning machines with some of the best performance and endurance in the industry, it also shows itself to be a global company with a conscience.
This puts it in a unique position as a high performance firm that considers the future in terms of business growth as well as corporate responsibility.
Nilfisk-advance.com Green Meets Clean. Nilfisk-advance.com. 2014. https://www.nilfisk-advance.com/en/Green%20meets%20clean/Pages/green%20meets%20clean%20default.aspx