Rooted in Varkaus, Elcoline Group is an industrial installation and maintenance company serving mainly international industrial customers. The company has succeeded in creating fluent processes for both outsourcing and business acquisitions, achieving growth through them regardless of its challenges along the way.
Elcoline Group was born when Jere Räisänen and Jouko Juvonen from Varkaus wanted to start reforming the industrial maintenance and installation business in the early 2000s. The company first focused on the planning and installation of electrical and automation services, but has since expanded its operations to become a full-service maintenance and installation partner that now employs a staff of 500.
“We are a strategic partner to our customers. Industry operators used to buy services from several different companies, but the recent trend is to have one strategic partner who is in charge of the desired broader packages”, says Räisänen who is also the Chair of Elcoline’s Board of Directors.
For the last five years, Elcoline has been active in the field of business acquisitions, pursuing growth. Several negotiations concerning acquisitions and outsourcing services are in progress.
“We have improved significantly in how we deal with business acquisitions and have set up good processes for carrying out outsourcing and acquisitions”, says Räisänen.
The company has been showered with awards and recognition, and the owners have attended the President’s Independence Day Reception as representatives of the company, entrepreneurs and their home district. Despite all this, Räisänen believes that one of Elcoline’s greatest achievements is the capacity to provide jobs for so many people. The company paid more than 15 million euros in salaries last year. Elcoline works hard to be the number one employer and partner to its customers in the industry.
Räisänen says that the journey of the company has not been smooth sailing all the way, but there have been bumps along the way.
“There have been times in these past twenty years when we’ve been sitting at a table, trying to negotiate our way out of a tight spot. One negative experience was having a key person leave and take one of our main customers with them. The experience taught us a lot about organizational management and employee commitment.”
Another lesson was learned when Elcoline joined a project “wearing their engineer’s hats” and it turned out it did not have enough know-how about legal aspects of contractual management. Since then, the people running the company have had a lower threshold for asking for help.
“The setbacks have felt extremely painful at the time, but in retrospect they may have been the best thing that’s happened to the company. Although they came at a cost, we learned from our mistakes and moved on”, says Räisänen.
In Räisänen’s experience, during its first ten years the company was unable to grasp the big picture and systematically pursue a goal, but this time was spent learning about the business environment of the industry.
“I think this changed when my co-partner and I took part in the 2012 Golden Gavia competition in Kuopio, which we won. That was the first time we talked about our business to outsiders who had more experience than we did. They gave us advice and we were also joined by our first member of the board and investor, Jari Osmala.”
In Räisänen’s opinion, if you want to achieve something big, you need to have the courage to express your vision of what you want to do and surround yourself with people who share the same ambition. You need to have the courage to ask for help. Such a small change in the way of thinking has made the pieces click together and a lot has happened in the last ten years.
Text: Minna Akiola
Photos: Jukka Peltonen / Elcoline
Elcoline works in extensive cooperation with the local industry in North Savo. Chair of the Board of Directors Jere Räisänen feels that the business cluster of, for instance, Varkaus, the registered office of the company, has exceptional expertise on a global scale for the needs of industry – for example in the field of energy industry.
“World-class industry know-how – and lots of it – can also be found elsewhere in North Savo”, adds Räisänen.