Formed as a company in 1945, the business counted on its heritage and tradition to maintain the commitment it had taken on – to offer the market quality products and service nationally and internationally.
Since the early days Icel has invested in strategic and sustainable growth and in 1973 began exports to demanding markets like the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden and Denmark and nowadays is represented in 35 countries on several continents.
This success is due to important factors like the capacity of evaluating and responding efficiently to the different market requirements, thus developing a culture of innovation in the products and materials, great flexibility in production arising from the updated technology in modernizing the processes and a constant concern for qualifying everyone who is a part of the company.
Nowadays the company has a staff of 190, produces 3.2 million items intended for the household and professional sectors and the turnover is close to € 9,000,000 a year, with 70% of this amount being exports. It is a national leader in the domestic and professional cutlery sector.
Icel’s mission is customer satisfaction as a supplier of quality cutlery products intended for the domestic and international markets guaranteeing competitive prices and delivery times in accordance with their expectations.
Icel was born from a small family workshop created in the forties by three brothers in which steel was worked and from which agricultural and kitchen cutlery items were turned out.
This workshop was located in Ribafria, a small village near Benedita. In the beginning, the product range consisted of pen knives and a few totally hand made knives. The grade of steel was carbon steel that was forged and hardened with rudimental equipment, the energy used being produced from coal. The handles were made of animal bones and horns. As production rose, distribution was no longer local and became regional and the products were then available in shops and markets in different points of the country, mostly transported by rail.
By 1945 the small workshop had 25 employees and the decision was taken to establish a company called Indústria de Cutelarias da Estremadura, Lda. from which the first brand name Icel would be the outcome.
Icel’s Quality, Environment and Safety politics is oriented by four main axles, connected among themselves in order to enable an appropriate and systematic answer to the market.
Customers: Being proactive is a positioning strategy; quality, brand image and customer satisfaction is our goal. Continuous improvement, innovations of product and process, flexibilisation and optimisation of quality/price the way we found to assure, to conquer a strong presence in international markets and keep a solid position in the distribution channel.
Suppliers: Their correct evaluation and qualification is the method to assure the quality of the raw-material and products in order to guarantee the characteristics of the final product, reduce environment impact and eliminate the risks for health and safety of the employees.
Resources: Qualifying and Training; the efficient management and organization of the material and human means based on the flexibility and polyvalence; the development of new processes and products associated to solutions technologically more clean, economical and appropriate to the areas of Environment, Quality, Safety and Productivity; adoption of preventive measures/actions leading to reduction of pollution for health and safety in its origin are the base to guarantee the competitiveness in the cutlery business, the company growth, the health protection and safety of all employees; the environment pollution prevention and the continuous improvement.
Environment: Adaptation of a social active approach, responsible and transparent. Assuming the total comply with rules, legal requirements and other applicable as well as the commitment of a continuous improvement of the processes, products, environment performance and safety of people and goods in order to integrate itself in the surrounding community and assure, through a sustainable development, the satisfaction of the shareholders, employees, suppliers and customers.