Long traditions in the export market – aluminium profiles from us to the world01/12/2022
The history of Mäkelä Alu stretches back 85 years. We have manufactured aluminium profiles for about 30 years, and we have equally long experience with the export trade.
When Mäkelä Alu launched its extrusion plant operations, the recession of the early 1990s had just hit the country. It was difficult to find business in Finland, so we had to invest in the export market.
“Our first extrusion line had just been completed when the recession began. We had to take our business to the world, and our first target country was Germany. Luckily, our sales representative found our first export customers in Germany. Today, exports account for 35 per cent of our total production,” says Mäkelä Alu’s Export Manager Janne Lager.
Gaining access to the export market was paramount at the time, and later the Finnish and Scandinavian markets also began to grow. Mäkelä Alu’s Swedish subsidiary Mäkelä Alu AB was founded in 2012 to better serve the Swedish market and customers.
Mäkelä Alu exports aluminium profiles to 12 countries, but the main market is the Baltic Sea region; specifically Germany, Denmark, and the Baltics.
Success in exporting speaks volumes
Competition on the export market is much tougher than on the domestic market. Success in exporting can thus be considered a significant measure of success.
“In addition to aluminium profile production, Mäkelä Alu stands out with its range of services, i.e. the AluServices concept, which allows us to offer added value to the customer. We are not the cheapest, and our method of operation stands out from other aluminium extrusion plants in Europe and perhaps the whole world,” says Janne Lager.
“Moving forward and continuous investment are prerequisites for success. When our aluminium extrusion plant started operations in the early 1990s, we only had one extrusion line and we only made aluminium profiles. Now we have three extrusion lines, as well as an anodizing plant, warehouses, and powder coating plants in Luoma-aho and Voikkaa. It has taken years of strategic development to get to this point,” says Janne Lager.
115 years of experience with exports
“Our strength in exports lies in our long-term customer relationships, some of which go all the way back to the 1990s. We are a trusted partner known for our reliability of delivery and continuous development. Since the 1990s, we have grown from a small company of 24 people to a large company employing almost 300 people. We have always maintained high service quality and flexibility,” says Leena Kalliokoski.
“Our customers appreciate our quick response times. We always do what we have promised,” continues Anne Hämeenniemi.
Mäkelä Alu’s export unit consists of export manager Janne Lager, export sales specialists Anne Hämeenniemi and Leena Kalliokoski, and sales coordinators Satu Lassila and Elina Luoma-aho. All of them have worked at Mäkelä for several years, Leena for more than 30 years. Area sales managers Anders Bengtsson and Kari Saarelainen are responsible for sales in the Swedish market. The entire export unit has 115 years of combined work experience.
“Mäkelä Alu is a good and reliable employer. The work is interesting and varied,” says Leena Kalliokoski.
The entire export unit is happy with the work team and their co-workers. Low employee turnover also benefits the customers.
“Customer relationships and contacts are managed successfully, and we know the customers and the market very well.”
A carbon-neutral partner for the future
Export is still used to accelerate growth, and future prospects are favourable, despite the uncertain global situation. In difficult times, it is important to have reliable partners.
“Here at Europe’s northernmost extrusion plant, we manufacture aluminium profiles in a customer-oriented and environmentally friendly manner. We have just launched a development project of more than 10 million euros towards carbon neutrality. This will be an increasingly important competitive advantage in the manufacture of various products on all markets,” says Janne Lager.
“We are a trustworthy operator, Finland has good security of supply, and that’s why we are a reliable partner to our customers. At Mäkelä Alu, raw material deliveries are based on long partnerships, and our delivery reliability is higher compared to many other European competitors,” says Leena Kalliokoski.
In the main photo of the article, Mäkelä Alu AB’s area sales managers Anders Bengtsson (on the left) and Kari Saarelainen. In the middle, Mäkelä Alu’s export sales specialist Anne Hämeenniemi and sales coordinator Satu Lassila.