The business sector providing automated technologies for physical library materials continues to consolidate. Lyngsoe Systems, one of the major players in this space has acquired P.V. Supa, one of its competitors. P.V. Supa had acquired 2CQR in 2017. Even as it expands, Lyngsoe Systems remains smaller than bibliotheca, the largest global business in this sector.
The acquisition of P.V. Supa expands the geographic reach of Lyngsoe Systems, brings a substantial set of new customers, and adds new products to its portfolio. Lyngsoe Systems has acquired the entire P.V. Supa Group, including its operating companies in Finland (P.V. Supa Oy), the United States (P.V. Supa, Inc.), and the United Kingdom (2CQR). Lyngsoe Systems was especially known for its large-scale sorting systems. It now gains a variety of mid-range and smaller sorting products, as well as self-service and related products to fill out its portfolio to meet the full spectrum of library requirements. PV Supa's manufacturing facility in Finland will extend and complement the facility that Lyngsoe Systems operates in Denmark.
Cory McCoy, President of Lyngsoe Systems library business in the United States, stated, “The acquisition brings together two complementary companies. Each has distinctive product offerings with little overlap in distributor networks. As the two organizations begin to integrate, the key focus will be on strengthening communication and service for customers involved.” (telephone interview, Jan 13, 2021).
Denmark-based Lyngsoe Systems offers logistics, RFID, inventory management, and other related products and services spanning many business sectors. The company reports that its products are used in 3,700 locations in 60 countries. In addition to its library products, Lyngsoe Systems provides logistics solutions for airlines and airports, postal services, healthcare, manufacturing, and customs. The company was originally founded in 1952 and has continually expanded to provide products for additional areas of automation and logistics. Library products represent about 50 percent of the revenue for Lyngsoe Systems and is its largest business division.
According to its 2019 financial report, Lyngsoe Systems has a workforce of 135 FTE employees and annual revenue of 230,000,000 DKK (about US$38 million). These figures represent its Scandinavian operations. Globally, Lyngsoe currently employs 163, which does not include the 47 employed by P.V. Supa at the time of the acquisition.
Lyngsoe Systems entered the library market in August 2009 through the acquisition of Library Solutions business of FKI Logistex. This business was previously part of Crisplant A/S and Intelligrated, Inc. FKI Logistics developed, manufactured, and marketed a variety of RFID and automated material handling products, which were sold in Scandinavia and the United States. Crisplant and Intelligrated acquired FKI Logistics in 2009, subsequently selling the library solutions business to Lyngsoe Systems, while retaining its other products. Crisplant A/S was acquired by Beumer Group in 2009, and the combined company became Beumer Group A/S in 2016.
In November 2009 Lyngsoe Systems made a follow-on acquisition in the library RFID and AMH sector through the purchase of the assets of Codeco, a company based in Denmark that developed self-service equipment and related products for libraries. Founded in 1987 to develop products for industrial automation, Codeco shifted its exclusive focus to library products in 1989. Its library products were primarily sold in Denmark, though it had a presence in Sweden, the United States, and some European countries. Codeco closed its operating company in Sweden in 2007.
Investment by CataCap
In March of 2014, private equity firm CataCap acquired a 76 percent ownership stake in Lyngsoe Systems through a major investment. CataCap is based in Denmark and has an overall investment capacity of over 7 billion DKK. The terms of the investment in Lyngsoe Systems were not publicly disclosed.
The leadership of Lyngsoe Systems follows the usual structure for large, consolidated businesses, including a board of directors representing the interests of its owners and investors, global executives responsible for the overall business strategies, and division level managers that guide activities within each major business unit. CataCap's majority ownership in Lyngsoe Systems brought changes in executive leadership. Villads Thomsen has served as the company's chief executive officer since December 2014. Joergen Bardenfleth is the chairman of the board of directors, with Rasmus Lokvig, representing CataCap, as the deputy chairman. Henrik Kjeldgaard serves as the library systems business unit director. Cory McCoy serves as the president of Lyngsoe Systems US operations. McCoy was previously a general manager for FKI Logistex and joined Lyngsoe Systems when that company was acquired by Lyngsoe Systems in September 2009.
Library Products and Services
In the library sector the company provides RFID-based automated material handling equipment, including high-performance centralized sorters used in some of the busiest public libraries. The central sorting facilities supporting the King County Library System and BookOps, which processes materials for the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library, are based on equipment and software from Lyngsoe Systems. (See Smart Libraries Newsletter December 2015, “Enhanced Self-service and Automated Materials Handling.”) The use of centralized sorting facilities has been a growing trend among large multibranch public library systems. Many of the recent implementations have been based on equipment from Lyngsoe Systems.
P.V. Supa brings a range of automated material handling equipment, as well as some specialized products, into the Lyngsoe Systems portfolio. The company is based in Finland. It was founded in 1996 and operates in 37 countries. At the time of acquisition, P.V. Supa employed 47 personnel. The company's product lines include:
- Anytime Library, a combination of components that enable a library to remain open without on-site staffing. In addition to standard self-service stations, Anytime Library includes access keypads, security cameras, controlled door locks, security alarms, and related software. This product was developed by 2CQR.
- Agilon, a distinctive product for automated materials management, especially for patron pick-up of library materials. This product combines robotics, automated material handling, inventory management tracking software, and other components to provide management of thousands of library items queued for pickup by library users.
- Smallest Branch can provide access to library materials at remote interior locations through a vending-machine style enclosure holding up to 175 items, coupled with selfcheck panel.
- Smartblock, portable, self-contained meeting spaces that can be equipped with screens and other equipment supporting collaborative work.
- Extensive line of Automated Materials Handling products and modular components
- Smart shelves for RFID return and pick-up
- RFID-based self-service kiosks
In January 2019, P.V. Supa entered a strategic partnership with Nedap Library Solutions, a division of a largescale technology based in The Netherlands and providing technology and automation products for many industries, including healthcare, retail, security management, identification systems, staffing, and light controls. Under this partnership, Nedap supplied hardware components for library products, with P.V. Suva executing integration and software development. The partnership is expected to continue as P.V. Supa becomes part of Lyngsoe Systems.
Prior to its acquisition by Lyngsoe Systems, PV Supa had expanded its position in the library RFID and automated material handling sector through the acquisition of 2CQR (usually pronounced “two secure”) in October 2017. Based in the United Kingdom, 2CQR offers a similar portfolio in the self-service and AMH but had also developed some new products such as the Anytime Library, Smallest Branch.
Chris Robb and Ram Patel founded 2CQR in May 2004. Phil Farrell was CEO of 2CQR Limited and currently serves as the managing director as it continued as an independent business unit under P.V. Supa and now within Lyngsoe Systems. Cofounder Chris Robb previously served as executive director and is now retired.
2CQR Ireland, (Spectrum Communication Ltd; previously known as Library Systems Ireland) is a separately owned Irish company and was not included in the acquisition. This company will continue to serve as a distributor as 2CQR and P.V. Supa become part of Lyngsoe Systems.
Colin Carter Leads IMMS initiative
Colin Carter, long-time exec with Innovative Interfaces, joined Lyngsoe Systems as the business director of its Intelligent Material Management System (IMMS) product within the library business unit. Carter advanced through multiple roles at Innovative Interfaces between 2005 and 2020. From 2014 he served as director for library engagement for the EMEA region. Prior to Innovative, he held sales positions for Talis and Ex Libris. Before moving to the vendor arena, Carter worked in public libraries in Edinburgh and Staffordshire. As described in the article, IMMS provides a layer of advanced material workflows for management of floating collections, storage, and other aspects of the management of a library's physical collection.
IMMS does not replace a library's integrated library system, but provides additional services, with connectors providing the interoperability needed for synchronization. IMMS was initially developed in partnership with the public library systems in Copenhagen and Aarhus, which use the Cicero library management system (Fælles Bibliotekssystem) as do all public and school libraries in Denmark. Although the product was designed to work with any integrated library system, many of the subsequent implementations have been in libraries using Innovative's Sierra. These include the Helsenki Public Libraries in Finland, the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, The Sacramento Public Library, and the public libraries in Malmö in Sweden.
Carter's background with the integrated library systems sector in general, and with Sierra in particular, provides a good foundation for leading Lyngsoe Systems' expansion of its IMMS product.
Work is currently underway by Lyngsoe Systems to extend IMMS to work with other ILS products beyond Sierra and Cicero.
Lyngsoe Systems' IMMS was featured in the September 2019 issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter.
- Lyngsoe Systems A/S. Annual Report 2019. https://catacap.dk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/lyngsoe-systems-annual-report-2019.pdf.