Case-story: Akva

Interview with CEO Henrik Breiner Nielsen from Akva

Insourcing from China for growth

Akva A/S creates high-end waterbeds. 10 years ago they decided to insource and set up their own production in Denmark. This was to be the beginning of a longlasting cooperation between Akva and Carmo.

Akva makes a living producing high-end waterbeds for a world-wide audience
Akva A/S manufactures high-end waterbeds. For the last 10 years Carmo has been their supplier of connectors and corners in soft PVC. (photo © Akva A/S)

 

The Danish waterbed manufacturer Akva A/S has been in business for 16 years. At first they imported whole mattresses from U.S. for resale, but 10 years ago the company decided to insource their production and set up their own production in Denmark. This was to be the beginning of a long-lasting cooperation between Akva and Carmo.

“We had a research phase, where we identified companies capable of producing items in soft PVC, and we found Carmo”, says Henrik Breiner Nielsen from Akva.

“We researched for producers in soft PVC, and we found Carmo”

– Henrik Breiner Nielsen, Akva A/S

Carmos first task was to deliver a solution to a problem, that had haunted Akva for years.

“We started off purchasing a small connector, which we up until then had bought in U.S. It was a standard component, which many manufacturers of waterbeds used. We had a lot of problems with complaints about those connectors breaking, and we didn’t understand why. As a result we developed our own component in close cooperation with Carmo, and this solved the problem”, Henrik Breiner Nielsen says.

“This has given us a significant advantage compared to the thirty other manufactures, who is still using the component that breaks. It shows that it is imperative to get involved with the development of your own components. And this is much, much easier with a nearby partner”, he adds.

Akva's cooperation with Carmo alone has enabled them to insource the work of five fulltime employees
Akva’s cooperation with Carmo alone has enabled them to insource the work of five fulltime employees from China (photo © Akva A/S)

 

Since then Akva has insourced even more production from abroad, resulting in better quality and more efficient communication with their subcontractors.

“Now we get all our PVC foil and reinforced corners for the mattresses as well as connectors from domestic suppliers, and our cooperation with Carmo alone has enabled us to insource the work of five fulltime employees from China and U.S.”, says Henrik Breiner Nielsen.

“Our cooperation with Carmo alone has enabled us to insource the work of five fulltime employees from China”

– Henrik Breiner Nielsen, Akva A/S

Critical components require critical suppliers

 

The critical soft PVC coners are High frequency welded to the fabric of the bed
The critical soft PVC coners are high frequency welded to the fabric of the bed. Precision and quality is critical to the final product.
(photo © Akva A/S)

 

Carmo is now the main supplier of reinforced corners to Akva. The corners are high frequency welded onto the fabric of the mattress. The component is under a lot of strain, and a defect renders the whole product utterly useless for the end-user. Carmo delivers the high quality that is key for Akva to remain ahead of competition.

“We were the first in the business with welded-on corners. Being a first-mover always involves encountering inevitable starter-up problems, and therefore it’s important that the subcontractor can react swiftly and effectively on any issues that surface along the way”, says Henrik Breiner Nielsen.

“This is the case with Carmo, with whom we have an effective communication and exchange of experiences and know-how”, he adds.

“With Carmo we have an effective communication and exchange of experiences and know-how”

– Henrik Breiner Nielsen, Akva A/S

The close cooperation in development of components and swift corrections of the errors that goes along with being first movers, plays an important part of Akvas succes as an innovative manufacturer of high quality waterbeds.