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Interview with Heikki Kyöstilä & Gerald Dorn – Planmeca

Interview with Heikki Kyöstilä, Founder and President of Planmeca Group, and Gerald Dorn, CEO of Plandent Austria

FINNCHAM :Heikki Kyöstilä, you have managed to grow a successful global business from scratch in 50 years, inspiring entrepreneurs all around the world. Could you please elaborate how it all started?

Heikki Kyöstilä: I began my career as a sales representative for a Finnish dental supply company in 1965 and became familiar with dental clinics and their equipment early on. I noticed that especially the patient chairs could easily be improved. At the time, almost all dental products sold in Finland were imported from Germany, so I thought why not do something about it and start making products of our own. That is how I decided to set up my own business.

The beginning was modest. Dental stools and instrument cabinets were manufactured in a garage in eastern Helsinki with an initial capital I earned by selling my sailing boat. However, I understood right away that the Finnish dental market simply wasn’t big enough to build upon, so I immediately headed for the international market. I got the opportunity to exhibit Planmeca’s first ergonomic dental stool and an instrument cabinet at the IDS dental trade fair in Munich, Germany. The demand was immediate, and orders came in from around the world.

Finland was quite unknown globally, and many customers had no idea where we were located. It took some time for us to establish ourselves on the market. We had to work really hard to put Finland on the map. I often say that the beginning was like skydiving without a parachute, but the jump really paid off.

FINNCHAM :What has been key to Planmeca’s success?

Heikki Kyöstilä: Valuing the expertise of the staff and hiring the best specialists in each field is the secret to building a successful company. Today, Planmeca has over 2900 employees, some of them having worked for the company for over 20 or even 30 years. Hiring the right people has been key, and so has allowing them to work beyond their job descriptions. I have always believed in Finnish knowhow and education.

We’ve had a global approach from day one. Planmeca has never believed in geographical limits − we have been ready to travel anywhere in the world where there are potential customers. Building an active sales network, founding local companies to support the sales staff and staying close to our customers have been crucial elements of our success. I have always loved meeting our customers in person and hearing their feedback − it has really been the spice of my working career.

Of course, not every day has been smooth sailing. In times of recession and in otherwise difficult times, we have worked harder than ever, trying to sell our solutions to customers in every corner of the world – and continuing to bring the latest technology into our products.

There are no shortcuts to success. Quality is everything, and one should never head to the market with an unfinished product. One successful product has often help come up with new ones.

FINNCHAM :Today, Planmeca Group is an industry leader consisting of several successful healthcare technology brands. The Group’s products and solutions are being distributed in over 120 countries worldwide, including Austria. How is the group positioned in the Austrian market?

Heikki Kyöstilä : Austria has a well-developed healthcare sector, and Austrian healthcare professionals are eager to utilise the latest technology innovations. I am happy that many of the local leading healthcare professionals have chosen Planmeca Group’s digital solutions – both Planmeca’s digital dental solutions and Planmed’s digital mammography and orthopaedic CBCT devices.

For example, the University Dental Clinic in Vienna and the Danube Private University in Krems have chosen our digital teaching concept as part of their dental education environment. In the veterinary field, the Clinic for Small Animals Surgery at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna is equipped with our high-resolution Planmed Verity ® VET CBCT scanner for veterinary 3D imaging.

FINNCHAM : In almost 15 European countries, Planmeca’s dental products are distributed by Plandent, Planmeca Group’s division of one-stop dental supply companies. Gerald Dorn, CEO of Plandent Austria, you have a long experience of working in the Austrian health care market. How does Plandent distinguish itself from other dental suppliers in Austria?

Gerald Dorn : I would like to emphasise the benefits of our strong parent company, Planmeca. With the production taking place in house, we can provide our customers with high-quality products and comprehensive service. Unlike us, the most Austrian suppliers in comparable fields offer congruent products by the same manufacturers. However, especially with regards to support, it is an advantage when you have a direct connection to the manufacturer, whose production takes place in Europe. When we need a Planmeca spare part that is not kept in stock, for example for a customer’s X-ray device, it is delivered overnight from Finland. Try doing that with a product manufactured in Asia.

When a distributor represents a variety of brands, it is difficult to provide consistent and competent support and service for all product models. Therefore, we only represent the most popular brands offering great service, with a focus on Planmeca. Our customers also appreciate this approach, which was also one of the reasons the University Dental Clinic in Vienna chose 80 Planmeca chairs as their dental units.

FINNCHAM : Did the Covid-19 pandemic affect the daily operations of the company?

Gerald Dorn: The past year was truly challenging for all of us. However, we were able to adjust to the new digital ways of working quickly by using all possible digital solutions and put the health and safety of our employees and customers first.

It has been encouraging to see that dentists have taken the pandemic as an opportunity to invest in new technologies and modernise their clinics. For our Plandent business, the past year was therefore challenging but also successful. The investment subsidy granted by the Austrian administration was warmly welcomed by our customers and contributed to our success. Generally, the subsidy helped to accelerate the economic growth in Austria during these difficult times as well.

FINNCHAM : This year, Planmeca is celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary. Has Plandent Austria some special activities planned for this occasion?

Gerald Dorn :We offer special “Planmeca 50 years” product packages for Austrian clinicians and invite all dental professionals to explore the latest digital dental solutions in our Plandent Showroom. We are also organising two Planmeca Digital Perfection Tours to the Planmeca headquarters in Helsinki in June and in September. We are inviting dentists and dental students to join us on these tours to get introduced to Planmeca’s unique digital workflow and deepen their knowledge of using Planmeca products. If the current coronavirus-related restrictions allow, we are also hoping to be able to throw a party to our customers in Vienna later this year to celebrate the anniversary.

FINNCHAM : What kind of new healthcare solutions can we expect to see next from Planmeca Group, Heikki Kyöstilä?

Heikkia Kyöstilä: Our primary goal is always to provide better care through innovation. We continue to deepen our knowledge, expertise and involvement in different specialty areas, such as orthodontics, medical imaging and new 3D applications. This will allow us to explore new technological possibilities and business opportunities. For example, a new full-body CBCT scanner and a ventilator are currently under development in our R&D department. Our future plans also include providing orthodontic treatment solutions through a new company called PlanSmile.

We continue working together with research institutions and universities to develop new solutions that help the daily work of healthcare professionals. Just to give you an example, we are currently working with Finnish health technology cluster CleverHealth Network in order to create tools for more accurate diagnosis of cerebral haemorrhage using our intelligent algorithms and AI.

I am extremely proud of our algorithm expertise. We have already managed to lower patient doses considerably and cancel the effects of patient movement. We continue to work tirelessly to keep introducing new innovative algorithms that will further improve image quality and help provide the best basis for diagnosis.

FINNCHAM : At the age of 75, you are still actively involved in the daily operations of Planmeca. Is retirement even an option for Heikki Kyöstilä?

Heikki Kyöstilä: For me, Planmeca is a way of life, and I certainly don’t see retirement as an option anytime soon. I want to continue to stay close to my customers and staff, and I want to be involved in everything going on in the company. Working together with healthcare professionals towards a mutual goal of better patient care is truly rewarding.

Planmeca Oy is a global leader in many fields of healthcare technology, with products distributed in over 120 countries worldwide. What started in 1971 as a small-scale dental stool and cabinetry producer, is now the largest private dental manufacturing company in the world and the parent company of Planmeca Group, consisting of several successful health technology divisions. This year, Planmeca is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

By |2021-06-01T10:16:32+00:0022.05.2021|0 Comments

Interview: Robert Kaup, CEO TietoEVRY

– The Corporation has recently changed its name to TietoEVRY. How did this come about? What will be different?

Tieto and EVRY are long-established digital services companies, both of which have their origins in the Nordic countries – Tieto in Finland, EVRY in Norway. Both companies share a similar corporate culture and values such as openness, diversity, sustainability and innovation. They also overlapped strongly in terms of content – but hardly in terms of regional presence, especially outside the Nordic countries. This is precisely where a great potential was identified, as customers now benefit both from bundled know-how, synergy effects and a larger number of experts, as well as from a geographically denser and more solid network of local presences. An example of this is the increased capacity provided by nearshore centres, which now enable our customers to realise even large and complex projects more economically and efficiently than before.  

– How important is the company in Austria? How is the customer segment divided up? Where is there future potential?

The Austrian branch has been making a solid, economic contribution to the overall performance of the corporation for 15 years, and the three Austrian locations in Vienna, Linz and Graz are attracting more and more employees – this year we will probably break the 200-person mark. In addition, we have top-class experts in the Austria team who are valued in the cross-border development of digitalization innovations. This gives us a high reputation within the Group. 

In Austria we serve a number of customer segments – in terms of industries, we provide digitalization expertise at the highest level, especially in the manufacturing and process industries, the public sector, the telecommunications and financial services sector and the energy industry. In these areas, we maintain long-term partnerships with renowned customers such as A1, ASFINAG, BAWAG P.S.K. and Mondi.

We recognize a number of potentials in the field of digitalization. This includes the outsourcing of application management, including trend movements such as DevOps and automation. Data management and transformation to cloud solutions is a massive topic that will leave practically no one untouched. Usability and successful customer experience also holds great potential for practically all players in the market – if only because of the constantly increasing demands of users and users, also in the B2B environment.

– What specific products and solutions does TietoEVRY offer? Special recent highlights? 

As a  SAP consulting company that adapts flexibly to individual customer needs and situations, we see the great need for professional support in this area for numerous companies; not least because of the next generation, SAP S/4HANA. Our Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches accompany companies on their way to the actual establishment of agile organizations. As an (integration) partner of major manufacturer brands, TietoEVRY makes the successful roll-out of solutions possible – I can mention Microsoft Azure as well as Office 365, Salesforce and major customer experience providers such as Genesys as examples. Last but not least, we supply dedicated solutions for industrial customers, sometimes in the IoT and mixed reality sectors.

– Keyword digital transformation: What trends and developments do you see in general? What are the short-term and medium-term corporate strategies? 

One particularly challenging development comes to mind spontaneously: the shortage of skilled IT personnel. It will continue to make it necessary for employers to go the extra mile and stand out from the crowd. This can be achieved by means of a modern, agile organizational form that is actually lived, such as the one we have at TietoEVRY. It implies autonomy, meaning and purpose in the daily activities of each member of the company and the creation of an environment that fosters personal growth. What are the companies’ strategies here? I think that many have already recognized the need to become better in this area. Sooner rather than later, time will tell who will win the race for the best professionals.

– You are often in Finland for professional reasons: What positive aspects do you see in the economic relations and cooperation opportunities with Austria? 

Especially regarding the Finnish mentality, I notice various similarities that make the cooperation very uncomplicated and efficient. Like most Austrians, the Finns are very friendly, but not inordinately cordial – authentic, which is something I appreciate very much as an Austrian. In a business sense, I experience the Finns as determined, result-oriented, quality-conscious and service-oriented and – not only for this reason – I enjoy working with them. TietoEVRY is proud of its Nordic roots, among other things because this has allowed us to anchor a natural understanding of innovation in our corporate DNA. Finland is often a pioneer and role model when it comes to technology and digitalization. In my eyes, this is more than just image. 

 About the company

TietoEVRY Austria

As the Austrian subsidiary of the largest Northern European IT service provider TietoEVRY, TietoEVRY Austria combines global resources – consisting of 24,000 employees worldwide – with a local presence through some 200 experts. In addition to its expertise in digitalization, TietoEVRY Austria, itself living an agile organization model, stands out from other IT service providers through its high level of expertise in consulting on organizational development in the course of digital transformation processes. The digitalization expert’s vision is a world in which organizations and their stakeholders make meaningful use of the benefits of digitalization. TietoEVRY’s customers are private and public sector organizations that provide valuable services to a wide range of businesses, consumers and citizens.

About us – Robert Kaup

Robert Kaup, born in Vienna, took over the management of TietoEVRY Austria in May 2019. The experienced digitalization professional has been working in international functions for the IT service provider for 14 years, until he took over the role of Managing Director of the Austria branch after the role of Head of SAP Enterprise Applications at TietoEVRY. He has over 20 years of leadership experience in the IT industry. 

By |2020-05-25T20:51:55+00:0025.05.2020|0 Comments

Networking Evening „Bestes Bier im Februar“

Our popular networking events aim to provide our members and guests a possibility to network and get to know interesting local and international companies.

The first networking event of the year 2020 was all about the Austrian art of brewing. This time, we had the opportunity to visit the brand new restaurant brewery Stöckl im Park, the sister location of the famous Viennese brewery Salmbräu. Our host was Anne Nikulainen Welledits, the Finnish authorized signatory of both locations.

The evening was opened by the speech of the Ambassador of Finland Pirkko Hämäläinen. Thereafter, the guests got to taste freshly poured beers accompanied by a selection of delicious starters, followed by an exclusive tour in the brewery’s facilities led personally by the CEO Albert Welledits. The brewing equipment is the most modern and ecological of its kind and really fascinating to look at. Mr. Welledits blew the guests away with his high level of expertise and conveyed his knowledge of modern beer production with wit and charm.

The evening was very successful, and around 35 guests participated in the event. The evening was rounded off with a few more Austrian beers: Märzen, Pils, Lager, Zwickl

By |2020-02-28T12:08:56+00:0028.02.2020|0 Comments

EcoTalk Roundtable Discussion 15. October 2019

5G, Digitalisation – the Global Networks

EcoTalk is a shared event format of the Embassy of Finland, FINNCHAM Austria and the Sylvi Kekkonen Foundation.

The evenings are a mixture of discussions over the newest economic trends, musical performances of young Finnish artists, and informal networking.

This time we focused on how 5G and digitalisation are transforming our economic and working environments. The event took place at the residence of the Embassy of Finland.

The evening was opened by the speech of the Ambassador of Finland, Pirkko Hämäläinen. Thereafter, there was a musical performance by the Sylvi Kekkonen foundation scholarship awardees pianist Johannes Piirto and violin player Juho Valtonen.

The panelists of the roundtable discussion were Peter Wukowits (CEO Nokia Österreich), Manfred Immitzer (CEO Porsche Informatik), and Martin Resel (Chief Customer Officer Enterprise, A1 Telekom Austria AG). All three companies have a leading position in the development and implementation of the 5G technology. The moderator was Honorary Consul Ferdinand Auersberg. The discussion was lively, and there was also numerous questions from the audience.

The second part of the musical performance was powerful, yet at the same time emotional.

The evening was rounded up with typical Finnish dishes and drinks, whereby the guests continued with further in-depth discussions.

By |2019-10-23T09:32:16+00:0022.10.2019|0 Comments
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