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Episode 19: Get to know KTR Finland | KTR Systems


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Julia Ures: So, hello and welcome back to our podcast “In Sight KTR”! I hope you are ready for a little trip, because today we are going to visit KTR Finland and meet the KTR colleagues there.

As you know, we try to introduce as many of our subsidiaries to you as we can and today, I'm joined by two representatives from Finland.

The first one is Jari Kostekivi, Managing Director at KTR Finland. Welcome, Jari.

Jari Kostekivi: Thank you!

Julia Ures: And my second guest is Henri Heiskanen. Is it right?

Henri Heiskanen: Yeah, that's right.

Julia Ures: He's working in the Sales Department at KTR Finland and has been with the company for 13 years. Thank you for joining us as well today, Henri!

Henri Heiskanen: Thanks!

Julia Ures: Now we want to start with the questions. Jari, you are General Manager for KTR Finland and to start things off, I would like to get to know KTR Finland a little better. Can you tell us about the company, when was it set up, how many people work there and so on?

Jari Kostekivi: Yeah, okay. The company was founded, I think, in May 2000 and we are nowadays with six employees, including me. And four of us are doing Sales. One of the Sales guys is sitting something like 400 kilometres northeast from Espoo. So, he's basically an area Sales Manager. Then we have Tanja, our lady as a, let's say, Team Assistant, doing administrative stuff and delivery follow-ups and also a bit logistics and financing in SAP. And then we have also Tomi Sirviö, who is taking care of the warehouse, like incoming and outgoing goods. And that's basically the setup and we have a small stock here in here in Finland, too.

Julia Ures: Now onto you as a person, Jari. You joined KTR eleven years ago. How did you get there, what has attracted you to start working there as a General Manager?

Jari Kostekivi: Well, let's say so, that I wasn't like attracted to KTR, but I wasn't very happy in my previous job and during those days I was already a few times in contact with KTR and then, during one telephone call, I just asked one employee of KTR, if they would have a job for me.

Julia Ures: And he said yes!

Jari Kostekivi: And yes, so like a month later I was in interview with the former managing director and found out, that KTR was actually looking for a Managing Director. And after that first discussion I think it took something like one to two months and I found myself in job interview in Germany and here I am. But compared to Henri I'm the junior. I'm only eleven years at KTR. So, Henri is the senior.

Julia Ures: Yeah. Henri, you have been with KTR Finland even longer than Jari. Could you tell us a little more about your time at KTR, what is your job exactly?

Henri Heiskanen: Yeah, I started 2008 and first, when I came in, I started working in the warehouse and after a couple years I started moving to our Sales and nowadays I'm a Technical Salesman. So, we try to find best solution for the customer from technical side, from the pricing side as well and we have a large variety of different products, from couplings to coolers and breaks and stuff. So, it's a whole portfolio to cover.

Julia Ures: And what about KTR Finland’s development since 2008?

Henri Heiskanen: Yeah, of course we have been going forward. We have more employees than before and also the products have been developing. We have also new product lines, like I said, coolers and brakes, those weren't here when I came in.

Julia Ures: Since we cannot meet all the other colleagues as well, I have another question for you both. Please Jari, maybe you first. Could you two describe the Finnish KTR Team in three words? What would you have in mind?

Jari Kostekivi: What should I say? I would say, let's say, stable. With stable I mean that we have been with this group, well according to my opinion, quite a long time. There hasn't been that many changes in personal in certain way, I would say. And in my personal opinion, we are more customer-oriented probably nowadays. So customer-oriented like we were before. That's my personal opinion. And in certain way I would describe us as versatile, because well we have a different kind of knowledges. I mean about products, about, let's say, the system and about the, let's say, job. So, everyone has his own speciality or slot in the organization, I would say.

Julia Ures: And Henri the Finnish KTR team in three words, which are yours?

Henri Heiskanen: I think I would say loyal. We have long careers, like myself 13 years. Ari has been around for 20 years. So, I'd go also with customer orientation. That’s how we work. Third: fun. We had lots of fun during the years.

Julia Ures: That's important!

Henri Heiskanen: Yeah, really important.

Julia Ures: Thank you very much! We got another question for both of you. What is a project that you remember that was really remarkable to you, maybe because it was such a huge product or because the application was special. Is there any story like that you would like to share, Jari?

Jari Kostekivi: I could actually mention a couple of things, but I think the big POLY-NORM® M size couplings are the one that probably Germany knows best also about Finland because I would think that without us there wouldn't be that kind of a product in our product portfolio at the moment. And we started with the products in Finland at first and as far as I know we have been selling also already in China a couple of nice projects and also some smaller things in the USA.

Julia Ures: And Henri, a project that you especially have in mind when you…

Henri Heiskanen: Maybe not any products, but maybe SAP would be a big change for us. We integrated to SAP two years ago, I guess. So, it was a big step for us forward. Of course, we were a bit scared in first place because it has quite a reputation and some of the customers also felt sorry for us to step in the world of SAP. But actually it turned out to be probably the best thing to happen and it has made our lives really, really much easier than it was before.

Julia Ures: Yeah, I can imagine. Jari, Finland is a rather small country and KTR already has quite some other subsidiaries in Scandinavia. Why does KTR even need a Finnish subsidiary?

Jari Kostekivi: Probably the Germans would be the best ones to answer that question I would say. I think one issue, that comes to my mind, is the language, probably some kind of a language barrier. Okay, quite a few Finnish people can talk English nowadays quite good, but still the customers prefer to have their own, let's say, native language, when they get some kind of a service and I would say that without us the, let's say, business wouldn't be that good here in Finland for KTR, if that would be a direct business from Germany.

Julia Ures:  As you know we try to answer as many questions as possible in up to 20 minutes and I would like to thank you for all your exciting questions that you have sent us via email to Please continue to do so and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram so you don't miss out on the news on our Podcast and the next question we received is for you, Henri. Thinking about the future what are trends or developments you see for the Finnish society or for KTR Finland that are going to come up in the next years?

Henri Heiskanen: At least in the application wise we are going to towards some more electrical drives and hybrid drives and stuff like that, so I think we need to be prepared on that. Also, I think sustainability is a big, big thing towards and in the future. It's now already, but it's more and more in the future. So, we need to be thinking about that as well.

Julia Ures: Jari, would you like to add something to that, anything?

Jari Kostekivi: Actually, no. I think that what we see as a certain trend here in Finland at the moment - so I cannot say anything to that - because we also have quite a few companies that are very strong in mining business. But, well, mining is mining basically and that's it. So, I think the electrification is the one that's going to be a future thing.

Julia Ures: And the last question for today already is something rather less serious. So, Finnish is a very special language, Jari you told us, and I don't think that so many people outside of your country really use it a lot. What would be a Finnish word you think everyone should know and why, Jari.

Jari Kostekivi: I don't know, if there is any certain, let's say, word that everyone should know and of course there are, let's say, like “Thank you” in Finnish and so on, but of course there is a lot of this. We have a certain type of special words, which are very hard to pronounce for the foreigners.

Julia Ures: Do you have an example?

Jari Kostekivi: I would say “yö-ötökkä”.

Julia Ures: “Yö-ötökkä, what does it mean?

Jari Kostekivi: Yes, that's like a dialect word for a bug that lives in the night, let's say, like in the forest or so.

Julia Ures: Ah, okay.

Jari Kostekivi: Yes!

Julia Ures: Okay. And Henri, do you have a word for us? A Finnish word that we or everyone should know.

Henri Heiskanen: I don't know everyone should know this, but maybe “Älämölö”.

Julia Ures: “Älämölö.” What does that mean?

Henri Heiskanen: It means like some kind of a noise, nonsense noise or whatever, so something like that.

Julia Ures: „Älämölö.“

Henri Heiskanen: Yeah!

Julia Ures: It was fun many thanks to you Jari and Henri for joining me today and introducing the Finnish KTR team. And of course many thanks to you out there for watching and listening to In sight KTR. Hope to see you next time and all the best. Take care and bye! Bye to Finland!

Jari Kostekivi & Henri Heiskanen: Bye!

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