We have merged our sales units covering Scandinavia, Finland and the Baltics to create a new unit serving customers in our home market of the Nordic and Baltic countries. The new team includes around 15 people in direct sales, as well as a further 40 at Ovako Metals in Tampere, Finland, which provides stock services for our own steel products, as well as stainless steel, copper and brass.
“We want to continue to serve the customers in our home markets in the most efficient way,” explains Jukka Kivelö, leader of the sales unit. “Our goal is to provide a consistently high level of service, high quality products and access to technical experts to help our customers develop their future products. We have a very skilled and motivated sales team who have in-depth knowledge of the market and the customers.” Avoiding duplication of effort will free us up to focus on R&D and sustainability. In turn, we will continue to help our customers maintain their technology leadership and drive down their carbon footprint.”
Relationships that deliver value
We have a lot in common with customers in the region, starting with a similar culture and languages. Like our mills, they too are often located in small remote communities, making them important local employers.
In addition, they are often world leaders in their field and demand the best quality materials in the right quantities and timescales. They also need access to technical specialists and researchers to support their long-term product development.
One area where we are currently providing customers with a unique selling point via our environmental footprint.
It is an approach that extends far beyond business as Jukka has built relationships with many customers and their families on a personal basis.
“Having foreseen today’s demand for products that prioritize environmental sustainability, we achieved carbon neutral production in 2022 and this is unique to the market,” Jukka continues.
“As a metallurgist, I know that customers need to prioritize their applications and production but relationships are also important. When I studied marketing in the 1990s, we used Philip Kotlers’ Principles of Marketing as the ‘bible’. His philosophy was about creating customer value and I’ve always used it as my guide in sales career.”
“In my spare time, I exercise a lot and my interest in sports has led to common activities with customers, including the Vasaloppet 90 km ski race with a handful of customers some twenty years ago.
“I was a decent cross-country skier as a teenager but didn’t really touch my skis for many years but that Vasa lopp race rekindled my enthusiasm for the sport and I’ve now mastered the new technique of ‘double poling’ that professional athletes have introduced in recent years and it really gave me a new kick for cross-country skiing.”
He also leads the team’s annual participation of the Vasa cross-county ski Stafetten (or Vasa Relay) with the team achieving its best competition time in 2022.
Jukka concludes: “In team building, it’s vital that we don’t just talk about the daily issues and challenges but also have fun – and this type of event makes the difference. We start our planning six months before the race and although not everyone takes part, every member of the team has an important role, whether they’re a racer, coach, driver or supporter.”