PODAB 1945 - 2020

75 years of caring

 

Taking care of our customers and always doing a little extra is our guiding principle that we have stood by for 75 years. We believe that customer care and carefree laundry rooms belong together. We can deliver carefree laundry rooms because we are genuinely engaged and work purposefully to ensure that all our customers are satisfied. Come along and join us as we dive into PODABs history.

PODAB was founded

Pettersson, Olsson and Dahlin all worked with washing machine manufacturing at a company called Bohus. In 1945, they decided to start their own washing machine manufacturing company. PODAB was named after the three men’s initials together with AB. In the beginning of PODABs history, the focus was on innovation and developing solid products. It was not very common to have a washing machine in the 1940s, but PODABs founders understood what impact the modern laundry room would have in the future. At PODAB, there was full focus on making washing machines that were practical and user friendly. The positive “PODAB spirit/attitude” was present from the beginning. 

Göte Landhage, who was employed at the start, explains the mood at the new company: 

”We notice how carefully the new owners selected the best of their workmates from Bohus! Everyone contributed to the good atmosphere and seemed happy in their new workplace.” – Göte Landhage, employee at PODAB in the 40s and 50s. 

  • PODABs factory on Varholmsgatan 3 in Gothenburg
  • PODABs logo in the 40s
  • PODABs advertisement in Svenska Dagbladet 1948
  • PODABs advertisement in Svenska Dagbladet 1949

Focus on development and innovation

The 1950s had great significance on the history of the laundry room. The modern laundry room had become increasingly popular and the technological development of the machines had taken off. PODAB, based in Mölndal, was at the forefront of development and innovation with modern machines that were fully automatic, reversing, centrifuging and reliable. In the 1950s, PODAB grew so fast that the workers struggled to produce finished products. The company also started manufacturing herring filtration machines, which took a lot of time and resources from the primary operations.

  • PODABs advertisement in Svenska Dagbladet 1950
  • Page from PODABs catalogue in the 50s
  • PODABs catalogue cover from the 50s
  • PODABs price list from the 50s
  • PODABs advertisement in Svenska Dagbladet 1952
  • PODABs advertisement in Svenska Dagbladet 1952
  • PODABs advertisement in Svenska Dagbladet 1952
  • PODABs advertisement in Svenska Dagbladet 1954

The 1960s laid the foundation for today’s PODAB

Carl Johan Sellberg bought the business in 1963 and moved the company to Partille. He sold his machines under the name PODAB REVECENT. The Partille factory flourished during the 1960s and around 100 employees produced washing machines east of Gothenburg. Carl Johan came in with new ideas and started focusing solely on professional laundry equipment for the commercial market, which laid the foundation for today's PODAB. The company put more focus on customer care. Carl Johan was known for his great, personal commitment. He even sent handwritten letters to each customer and personally thanked them for their orders. 

  • Page from PODABs catalogue from the 60s
  • PODAB REVECENT_R36 minett
  • Page from PODABs catalogue from the 60s
  • Page from PODABs catalogue from the 60s
  • Page from PODABs catalogue from the 60s

Fighting through difficult times

Carl Johan wanted to take the next step in producing and developing washing machines. He therefore decided to build a large factory in Bollebygd where PODAB REVECENT could manufacture its own machines. However, times got harder as the market was hit with acquisitions. Competitors bought business partners and made business difficult to the extent that Carl Johan was forced to sell the factory and move the company to smaller premises in Högsbo. All in-house production disappeared and PODAB REVECENT became a retailer of laundry equipment.

  • PODABs factory in Bollebygd in the 70s
  • Wall instructions 70s
  • Page from PODABs catalogue from the 70s
  • Page from PODABs catalogue from the 70s
  • Product sheet from the 70s
  • Product sheet from the 70s

New partners and a new drive

During the first half of the 1980s, the market continued to be turbulent with even more acquisitions and closures of important partners' factories. But in 1985, the turnaround came. PODAB REVECENT started selling IPSO machines in Sweden and became an exclusive distributor for the Belgian machine manufacturer. This was the start of a new era and in 1988 Robert Sellberg, Carl Johan’s son, took over the company. Robert had worked alongside his father for several years to learn all about the company. He came in with a great commitment and entrepreneurial spirit that gave new power to the company. He took the opportunity to change the company name from PODAB REVECENT to AB PODAB. After a few years of hard work, PODAB was finally able to offer its customers a complete range of laundry equipment.

  • PODAB washing machine 5070 and PODAB centrifuge 40
  • PODAB brochure from the 80s
  • PODAB brochure from the 80s
  • PODAB brochure from the 80s
  • Robert Sellberg
  • First catalogue for PODAB under Robert's control
  • Page from PODABs catalogue from the 80s
  • Robert Sellberg

PODAB delivers to all of Sweden  

1991, PODAB bought the property in Sisjön, where the head office still is today. In the early 1990s, several in-house developed products such as drying cabinets, mangles and centrifuges were produced in Bollebygd. Robert invested in new markets such as the cleaning industry and the rescue service. PODAB developed custom machines for mop washing and hotels/restaurants. In the late 1990s, the first custom built drying cabinet for protective garments was developed. Today our drying cabinets can be found at fire stations all around the world. Delivering quality products was the focus, but a large part of Robert Sellberg's success was his drive to hire people who cared for the customers. One of his talents was hiring good people who fit into his vision. Always being there for the customer became an important part of PODAB. At the end of the 1990s, PODAB covered all of Sweden with around a hundred distributors.

Patrik Wedberg, a PODAB employee who was hired in 1993 and still works at PODAB today, says:
”It has never been difficult to go to work during my 27 years. The company has an incredible unity and joy and all employees are dedicated and involved. PODAB is a fantastic company where everyone is seen and heard!” – Patrik Wedberg, Technical Specialist at PODAB. 

  • Invitation to product display 1992
  • Appendix to brochure in 1990
  • Wall instructions 1970s
  • PODAB Newsletter 1996
  • Brochure PODABs company presentation 1996
  • Brochure PODABs company presentation 1996
  • Brochure PODABs Company Presentation 1996
  • PODABs design proposal laundry room 90s

World-class colleagues and products

Robert's positive attitude spread across the entire organization. During his reign everyone worked together and became a tight crew who loved working for PODAB which was noticeable among the customers. The phrase was formed, “PODAB is always there! We help all our customers, regardless of size”. To give all customers the best option for every need, Robert decided it was time to further broaden the range. In 2003, PODAB began selling high-quality Swiss products from Schulthess. In 2006, production of drying cabinets and other products was moved to Agrippa (now Alumbra) in Småland and investments were made on product development. In the coming years, several new in-house designed models were launched in our popular drying cabinet series. The new partnerships increased the quality and PODAB was able offer its customers world-class products.

  • Group photo - PODAB staff 2007
  • Brochure 2007
  • Schulthess Maschinen AG - office Wolfhausen
  • Brochure StreamLine 2003
  • StreamLine- PODABs catalogue 2008
  • TS 62 - PODABs catalogue 2008

PODAB reaches new heights

After Robert had put together a wonderful crew that became the foundation of PODAB's thoughtful and competent way of delivering quality products, Jimmy Nilsson came into the picture. He became CEO in 2010 and turned out to meant for the job. Customer focus and value creation for customers became even more important. The company was reorganized and in 2010 it was decided that PODAB would only focus on professional laundry equipment within selected business areas. The focus shifted from doing everything for everyone to working with what we do best and giving our customers specialist expertise in every detail.

PODAB's new business concept and vision were implemented throughout the company and everyone was involved in the exciting journey. PODAB Professional Partner was established and we started working with partners across the country. They were specially trained and became PODAB's extended competence to the customer. A new supplier, Primus (Alliance Laundry Systems) gave PODAB new robust quality products that were launched with a Road Show and Sweden tour. Not to mention our in-house developed drying cabinets that exceeded all expectations. The specialists in professional laundry equipment could offer a product mix that fit perfectly into the Swedish laundry room. During the 2010s, we had all the tools in place to create carefree laundry rooms for all our customers. When PODAB turned 65, a competition was announced, and the winner got a new Dream Laundry Room. The head office was rebuilt and renovated which gave an extra push on the road to success.

  • PODABs vision and business plan
  • Ad ProLine HX 65 - 2012
  • Products in the ProLine-series
  • StreamLine-series
  • Roadshow car from HX launch 2012
  • The dream laundry room 2015
  • PODABs head office on Ekonomivägen 9 in Askim
  • Jimmy Nilsson
  • PODAB Professional Partner
  • BaseLine-series

PODAB turns 75 years and the future is bright

This year PODAB is turning 75 years. We continue to work tirelessly, are constantly evolving and refine the tools to achieve our vision "to create carefree laundry rooms". The foundation that has been laid, with competent and dedicated staff who work hard to get satisfied customers throughout our elongated country is stable. We have become ISO-certified and continuously measure our work in order to constantly stay ahead and develop for the better. The NKI surveys are a great way to see what our customers think of all parts of PODAB. The amazing results of the surveys prove that we do the right things, the right way. However, the most important thing about the surveys is the source of improvement potential in everything we do. We analyze every issue and develop ourselves and PODAB all the time. In 2020, PODAB will celebrate 75 years and we will continue to work for you to feel that the specialists in professional laundry equipment always do a little extra for you to be super satisfied!

  • The dream laundry room competition - 2020
  • Total customer satisfaction 2019 - NKI 4.40
  • PODABs staff - Stenungsbaden 2016
  • PODABs customer guarantee

 

 

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