Créme de la crème on Oslo Fjord

Just over a year ago,TINE BA moved its head office to Oslo Atrium, an imposing office complex of 30,000 m2 over nine floors gracing Christian Fredrik Square. Its closest neighbours are the “crème de la crème” of the city's downtown developments, such as the Radisson SAS Plaza Hotel, the still unfinished new opera house and not least Bjørkvika, probably Oslo's most exclusive residential district, currently under construction.

“The decision to opt for Oslo Atrium was taken in November 2003 and we moved in on schedule in June 2004”, says Brit Graesholt, section head of TINE BA's marketing department. “Our objective was to create an efficient and flexible head office. Oslo Atrium suited us perfectly. Among other things, it allowed us to concentrate all our interlinked operations in one place. All the main office functions such as corporate management, administration, purchasing, marketing, sales and a ”consumer centre” are now accommodated on the same floor.The sole exception is our IT and communications department, located on the floor below.”

TINE BA is one of Norway's largest food companies with over 5,500 employees and annual turnover of NKr 14.1 billion. Owned by Norway's dairy farmers, TINE is one of the country's best-known and reputable brands.With international products such as Jarlsberg cheese, the most widely imported cheese in its class by the USA, TINE runs an extensive export business. The group also has manufacturing facilities in the USA and UK, and will shortly have one in Ireland.

“Our core business is milk and dairy products”, says Brit,“but we also have significant operations in other food sectors such as fruit juices. We regard product development and an imaginative approach as important parts of our future strategy and are proud both of our diversity and our strong brand. You can see how this pride is expressed in our new premises, not least from the colour schemes in our conference rooms, characterized by the colours and names of our best-known brands.

We put out a tender for the new office furniture and were obviously looking for a supplier who could provide the best overall solution.Key parameters were price and function, but also the supplier's environmental policy and how well they could satisfy our design requirements in terms of material and colours.An obvious requirement was that the furniture should represent a Nordic image.”

In weighing up these factors as well as assessing the supplier's capacity and experience in handling large projects, the choice fell on Kinnarps.

“We were naturally very pleased about the customer's confidence in us”, says Tone Rekdal, the project manager responsible for Kinnarps' key projects in Norway. “We have been present in Norway for many years and have expanded strongly in recent years.The order from TINE represents another valuable confirmation of our position, and not least a very good reference.The fact that the order was also a big one that included several meeting rooms, break-out ares, cloakrooms and not least 250 complete workstations was in no way a disadvantage”, says Tone with a smile.

“Actually 253 items”, corrects Brit,“three of which had to be designed as individual offices for the top management.All the other 250 workstations were to be completely open.This led to a certain scepticism among some of our employees who were used to having their own offices. But with the help of people like Tom Iverson, a sales representative from our Norwegian head office, we solved the problem by running twelve workshops in one week.All employees, including our CEO and representatives from the architects, took part and had the same say in the dialogue on the design of the workstations and the location of the various units.

This process led to a solution where everyone participated and was ultimately satisfied. For example, an agreement was reached in good democratic spirit that two meters of shelf storage space would suffice in each personal cabinet. A high-priority question was seating comfort, which is why we chose Kinnarps Plus 8 for all the office chairs. The final result was a highly flexible furniture landscape with cabinets that could be placed both to the right and left of the desks and could be combined as desired from single occupancy to groups of up to five workplaces.”

“To conclude”, says Brit,“we are very happy with Kinnarps' efforts. It was actually only when we had signed the framework agreement that the process leading to the ultimate solution really took off, with Kinnarps' participation.A big difference was that we were able to avoid a whole lot of specially designed solutions and instead use both less expensive and simpler standard models. So we could use standard frames for the desks and only had to customize the desktops.The work cabinets were also modified, but the extra cost was negligible thanks to the large volumes involved. In addition”, concludes Brit, “Kinnarps has kept its word. Not least in terms of the timetable. Our brief was to have all workstations ready by June 21, 2004. Everyone could move in exactly according to plan, at 9 o'clock in the morning, into light and open workstations that we had all been involved in designing.