From trends to value chains
Over the past decades, businesses have focused on various themes when seeking differentiation and an improved competitive position. The 1960s were the golden age of marketing, while manufacturing was emphasized in the 70s and quality in the 80s. Customer service was the focus area in the 90s and supply chain management since the beginning of the 2000s. Now companies swear by digitalization and the Internet of Things (IoT). Trends come and go and all of the above-mentioned aspects are still important. In practice, most of them are also obvious requirements in today’s business world, but they don’t really help companies to differentiate themselves from others in global competition. Where could one find the philosopher’s stone? How can one compete successfully in the future and what is the role of all of us in this situation? Perhaps it would be better to focus on the customer’s processes and real needs.
Normet has increasingly strived to become part of the customer’s value chain. The understanding of the end customer’s real needs and the ability to meet the customer’s needs, which may even be subconscious, is where it all begins. How can we help the customer improve their own work processes and increase their efficiency, safety and value added and how can we develop our own product and service selection to better support the customers’ real needs? First you have to recognize your own ambition and clarify the related strategy. You have to be able to analyse critically what is essential and also be able to let go of certain things. You have to make a strong effort to move forward in the value chain to get closer to the customer and develop your own activities correspondingly and ensure that competent local resources are in place to support the planned approach. You need ambitious and tough goals to build enthusiasm and substance to the task at hand and to create a positive atmosphere of development. You have to focus on what produces the most added value and services in particular with the aim of making your operations a critical part of the customer’s process. The best way to achieve this is to link the entire network to the development to speed up the process and to introduce new elements.
Normet’s own comprehensive solution package, which includes the equipment, the necessary chemicals, expertise in the customer processes as well as maintenance and spare parts services, can be added to, if necessary, with the products of the partners complementing the process. For Normet this has meant linking the products of a few Finnish companies to the overall solution it offers in situations where they have genuinely promoted the development of the customer’s processes. Collective product and service development where each part of the network brings along their own core competence is worth striving for!
The subcontracting network has played a key role in Normet’s change and rapid growth over the years. Normet has had very long and still ongoing cooperation relationships with certain suppliers, starting from the 1960s. The strength of Finnish subcontracting companies, in comparison to low cost level operators, is their flexibility in different changing situations and some of Normet’s suppliers have done an excellent job in maximizing their flexibility. Perhaps we are not yet able to or don’t have the courage to take advantage of all the opportunities presented by the change. The current seemingly safe operating environment has its challenges though. Are we clinging too much to the thought that the things that we have always been doing will also be enough in the future? Adaptation has been necessary in lower cost level countries and it has become a competition factor. We in countries with higher costs should also be able to adapt to the new elements brought along by competition and Finland of all countries should have what it takes: knowledge, skills, familiar processes, cooperation and a common language!
We at Normet have a constant desire and need to improve the efficiency and speed of our supply chain to offer our customers a more competitive solution. The ability to constantly reinvent oneself is also on Normet’s list of requirements for its suppliers.
In recent years Normet has quickly developed from a traditional equipment manufacturer to a provider of comprehensive solutions in underground mining and tunnel construction. New business areas have been built alongside the equipment business and they all support each other. We also believe in the growth of the equipment business during the coming years. Approximately 80% of Normet’s purchases as part of its equipment and spare parts business come from Finland and thus the performance of the Finnish supplier network is vital to us. Normet is a global growth company that also offers its partners an opportunity for development, growth and internationalization – now and in the future.
Timo Rask is the Managing Director of Normet Oy. Subcontracting 2015 partner company Normet Oy offers solutions to demanding customer processes in underground mining and tunnelling. The company’s head office is located in Iisalmi, Finland, and equipment manufacturing takes place in Iisalmi as well as Santiago, Chile, and Ludvika, Sweden. In addition, Normet manufactures construction chemicals in several countries. The global distribution and service network consists of 43 sales and support locations in 27 countries and is coordinated from Switzerland through Normet International Ltd.
Further information: www.normet.com.