FSP’S CEO PENTTI VIRTANEN: CONTINUOUS DEVELOPMENT IS THE KEY
In the Faces of FSP article series we meet the people working at FSP. They talk about things that are relevant to their job, the entire company and the industry. Our first interviewee is FSP’s CEO, Pentti Virtanen: The company and industry are doing better than in many years, but we must not become complacent. The continuous development of our products, services and personnel is a requirement – and a privilege.
– Thank you, I am doing well, Pentti Virtanen says, smiling. – After a long while, things are quite busy now. An economic boom began last year, and the forecasts predict growth for this year, too.
QUALITY AGAINST BULK
Ten years ago, the trend in various industries was to move jobs and production into China and India. Now the flow has turned back towards Europe – to Poland and Estonia in addition to Finland.
– Costs have increased in Asia, Pentti Virtanen notes. – In addition, shorter distances mean faster response times. Time is money, as well.
In Poland, FSP has six painting lines in two locations. For a little less than ten years, there has been strong growth in Poland.
– From our customers, there has been a demand for capacity, and thus for investments.
In Finland, there are no particular investment pressures at the moment. Other methods are needed to secure growth and a good market position.
– Our new sales and growth are driven by the competitive advantages that Finland offers, such as short response times. We can offer flexible services from the initial order to a quick delivery.
Quality is also a major factor in both production and other operations.
– When everything from costs to the functioning of our processes and partnership, not to mention the final product, is measured and assessed, there are a lot of factors that influence overall success.
AIMING FOR HIGH-END
When talking about technological developments, Pentti Virtanen mentions everything from automatic documentation to robotics and nanoparticle applications and the possibility of removing wind turbine noise using a surface treatment.
It’s not surprising that product and process development plays a major role in FSP’s business.
– Our goal is to stand out as a high-end business partner, Virtanen envisions. – It is not only interesting, but necessary. As the industry changes, we cannot get stuck on only the most basic services.
The customers have an important role in developing the products and the company. Today, big customers demand a lot – but they also have a lot to offer. Co-operation and openness make it easier to find the optimal solutions.
– The new trend is that customers expect us to analyse the customer relationship. We must constantly look for factors that influence e.g. costs. What is a plus, what is a risk?
The importance of partnerships is also increasing.
– Our development manager Juli-Ann Rikkonen is currently working on creating an international network. We already have specialized partners for e.g. extra thin and nanoparticle surface treatments. – We don’t need to be able to do everything ourselves, but we need to find out who to contact when we need something.
– Continuous development is the key.
“I AM PROUD OF OUR PERSONNEL”
The industry and the world are changing, and it affects all of FSP.
– I am proud of our personnel. Our active and professional employees make me happy. They are the cornerstone of our competitiveness, the CEO praises.
Recently, FSP has increased the flexibility of its organisation. Responsibilities and decision-making have been brought closer to the local level through seven regional business units.
– The changes have been discussed thoroughly with all of our personnel: what does this mean for each person? We also have ongoing training programmes.
He says that leadership culture has changed a lot during his career. FSP’s current leadership model requires trust from the management and openness from the employees.
– Leadership is comprehensive. Everything we do is a form of leadership, and management skills and maturity are required on several levels of the organisation.
FSP’s personnel are a versatile group, as they should be.
– I don’t want us to be a homogenous group. When there are different types of people, there are more discussions about what we are doing and why. Sometimes the discussions can get intense, but it’s important to step out of the comfort zone every now and then. After all, we are all striving fro the common good.
The CEO trusts that his subordinates will stand up to future challenges.
– Our strategy is to behave in a way that is “smart, as agreed and service-minded”. According to surveys, up to 96 % of our personnel are aware of this. I couldn’t ask for much more.
Curiosity is the motivation
- FSP’s CEO since 2001
- 54 years old, mechanical engineer
- Lives in Espoo
- Has a wife and an adult son
- Hobbies: travelling, exercise, cycling and running. Has competed in enduro at the Finnish Championship level and been a motocross manager. A big sports fan, especially motor sports.
My background is in the workshop and metal industry. My understanding of the customer’s point of view was one of the reasons I was hired by FSP. I like working with customers and am genuinely interested in them and what they do. My leadership style is open and I am interested in hearing what the customers need.