A short write up and some photos of our trip to Viborg back in February.
Winter had been a little mild this year in the UK. We had a sprinkling of snow but nothing to write home about. So what were a couple of cold loving Northerners to do?
Hop on a plane to Denmark for a few days, that's what!
We were invited to JP Group last year to have a look around the factory, warehouse and showrooms, but we were just too busy.
We made time earlier this year in our "quiet" month and booked some flights to Copenhagen.
Copenhagen was our first port of call as thats where the plane landed, we stayed overnight in a hotel and had a brief look around the city the next day. It's a great place and well worth a visit for a taster of Denmark. We'd recommend it if you fancy a weekend away or a base for more exploring in Denmark and Sweden.
We weren't here to sightsee though, so we picked up a hire car and drove the 320km to Viborg.
Viborg is a city in the centre of Jutland and the place where King Canute set off from to give the English a kicking back when we were much less sophisticated.
Thankfully things have changed and the Danish are much friendlier. In fact its one of the friendliest places we've been!
Hotel rooms with saunas, bars where the patrons insist you drink their rum, and give you free t-shirts, and some amazing restaurants. We like Viborg.
Right, thats the Brickwerks Rough Guide out of the way.
Go to Denmark. You'll love it!
Friday morning 10 am, we rocked up to JP Groups headquarters and factory location a few miles North of the city centre. We were met by Martin and given what we assume is the standard factory tour. Questions were answered like "Why do the boxes smell of Tobacco" - because JP, like us re-use a lot of packaging and some comes from a tobacco company. A good thing in our eyes.
If you've bought from Brickwerks you have very likely bought something from JP Group, they supply a lot of parts so they have this massive warehouse, with lots of parts... lots and lots of parts. Its a big place.
So, to help the staff get around when they're picking our stuff they have these bad boys:
A scooter that's also a picking trolley! Sadly we cant buy one, and it wouldn't fit down the aisles at Brickwerks anyway... but we'd find somewhere to play on it if we could!
We could show you pictures of shelves and boxes, but you can see that at Tesco, one cool bit though is the automated picking bays. Basically large moving shelves and a large robot that goes and fetches the complete shelves from high above your head so you can pick the order. It's a clever system. It's fast and something we can relate to at the moment... saves space.
We quite fancy one of these too!
Next to the large warehouse is the Quality Assurance dept. This is where new products are checked and any issues that are reported are investigated.
Now we don't get many returns if we're honest, but if there is a problem with a JP product that they need to look at, it goes here. The racks are full of test rigs and jigs and the benches are full of test equipment.
Many people have a cynical view of returns and think that when a part is returned to a supplier they'll just deny there is an issue and look for an excuse to blame anything but the part.
We're sure that does happen... Not here though!
One of the refreshing things about JP is that, like us, they're concerned with any quality issues and will look at complaints. If there is a problem, it's picked up and dealt with. It's in their interests because if there is a problem with a part people will buy elsewhere.
The people we met there also seem to know the vehicles they're dealing with and even Simon couldn't catch them out! Something else that's refreshing.
Other stuff goes on in other areas. A company with the contract to refurbish Danish train seats operates from one of the buildings. An impressive thing in the days of "chuck it away and buy new ones".
There is even a display cabinet for items found down the seats... if you've ever lost a toy car on a Danish train there is a good chance its in this cabinet.
If you've lost a dildo, its kept somewhere else away from prying eyes, apparently.
You can probably have it back if you ask...
JP source parts from all over world, they also make a lot of parts on site. They have a large manufacturing unit where Exhausts and body panels are made, among other things.
We spotted T3 Petrol and Diesel exhaust being made, front to rear coolant pipes, Front panels. All stuff we see every day but so much more interesting when you're seeing how its made.
And forget what you may have heard about the way this stuff is made. Theres is a lot of laser this, CNC that, and robotic others. There are also a lot of skilled workers there welding and fabricating. Some of the new lines of Porsche exhausts are beautiful!
From the manufacturing area, we moved onto the showroom.
This is the area where some of the JP Private Car collection is displayed, as well as samples of a lot of the parts they supply. We think there were maybe a few more of Stuttgarts finest crammed here than is usual, due to building work and the current expansion going on in other areas.
Obviously, we're Transporter guys, but that doesn't mean we can't ogle at some sleek curvy models from time to time!
Not just Porsche either. There is a Trekker, a few Beetles, a couple of Golfs including a Mk2 Cutaway that a VW dealer didn't have space for, a few Mercedes and and even the only existing prototype of the Logicar. Details of that HERE if you're into quirky cars. Its in German but Google will help you translate if you're not fluent. There is also some info on JP Groups facebook page HERE.
After we'd had our fill of exotica it was off to the Workshop.
This is an area where JP Group work on their own vehicles. As soon as we saw the 2 T3's parked outside we knew we were amongst friends here.
Inside on the ramp was a perfect Brown and Cream T3 undergoing assembly.
Again, seeing a T3 in pieces on a ramp is something we're not new to, but when you see it at the company who are supplying your parts it kind of makes you realise that this isn't just a company shifting boxes around, they have a definite interest in the stuff we drive, and also in keeping them on the road.
They're doing what many claim to do but few actually do... fitting the parts they sell themselves. We can relate to that.
After a mooch around the workshop, it was off to lunch and then the "work" bit of our trip... spreadsheets, powerpoint, pie charts and graphs. We won't bore you with the details of that bit.
Lastly an evening meal in a steakhouse in Viborg followed by an early night and a drive back to Copenhagen via Dollerup to check out some scenery before we hopped back on a plane.
All in all, a very interesting and rewarding few days.
Loads of photos below. You can click em to make em bigger and everything!