“We always view challenges as new opportunities,” said General Manager of Ensto Ensek Kaarel Suuk, describing the company’s business philosophy. A great example of applying this successfully is getting through the COVID-19 crisis and the deficit of components that followed. “Last spring, during the most intense period of the crisis, we were able to achieve an 18% growth in turnover, which was similar to our first quarter,” Suuk said. “We had a steady supply and we found solutions to obtain components.”
Additionally, Ensto Ensek was able to contribute to alleviating the labour shortage which was increasing exponentially in Estonia. “During COVID-19, when many sectors were shut down, we were able to introduce industrial sector work to, for example, service sector employees,” Suuk noted. “The volumes of our orders were so large that we offered temporary work to 90 people on top of our full-time employees.”
Even today, when there is a deficit of components in the world, Ensto Ensek is able to set an example for their competitors in the field. “We have developed transparency of the supply chain, where various parties from the clients to the suppliers can predict 15 months ahead,” Suuk described Ensto Ensek’s formula for success. “We also put a lot of emphasis on developing relationships with our suppliers and partners, which is very valuable.”
Millions of euros of foreign capital create new jobs
Suuk considers winning the trust of the Finnish owners his biggest accomplishments. “As a result of this, investments to Estonia to increase the productive capacity are the largest in the entire Ensto Group.”
Suuk manages the company here in Estonia while Ensto Estonia’s parent company Ensto Group is vigorously investing – they have acquired two electrical energy distribution system companies in Ireland and Austria. Last year, Ensto Group divided its business to Ensto DSO and Ensto Building Systems in order to sharpen the focus and set ground for further growth. For Estonian companies it means additional volumes and needs to extend its production facilities. “The investment is large from the get-go, almost 3 million euros,” said Anneli Hansen, Director of Regional Business Development in North Estonia at Invest Estonia.
Suuk says that trust has developed over the 30 operating years. Ensto Ensek’s aim is to ensure the smooth everyday functioning connected to electricity. Ensto Ensek offers solutions that ensure electricity supply to hospitals, schools as well as every person’s home or workplace. All of this is provided as sustainably and effectively managed as possible. “We produce innovative and reliable products with a low lifecycle cost and solutions for overhead line equipment, underground cables and ensuring the quality of electrical energy,” he said. “We also offer high-quality products and solutions for buildings and industries. Our contribution to sustainable transport is manufacturing electric car charging points.”
In supporting this mission, their parent company Ensto Group invests over two million euros in silicone production at Keila’s factory in order to grow production capacity, creating new opportunities for expansion and growing the competencies of the employees. “New investments will enable us to significantly develop cold shrink terminations technology, contribute to the training of employees and create jobs with higher qualifications,” Suuk said. “The production capacity of the company is growing exponentially. We will also establish a testing laboratory at Keila’s factory which will add efficiency and flexibility to assess improvement processes and implement new products.”
Support from the Estonian government
As a part of the key to success, Suuk cites responsible and forward-looking entrepreneurship. “Our direction is towards automation and digitalisation,” he noted. Thus, a digital audit has been conducted in cooperation with Invest Estonia and taking into consideration the needs of the company an industrial robot Mir1000 has been created. “Its core task is the transport of internal components, intermediate goods and final products,” Suuk shared his achievements in cooperation with Invest Estonia.
Within the framework of the robot project, its autonomous navigation has been developed and implemented, and the charging points have been improved. “We will continue with the robot project in cooperation with Invest Estonia within the framework of the digital support,” Suuk said.
As part of the development of new effective and environmentally friendly digital processes, Ensto Ensek cooperated with the paperless initiative with an aim to entirely eschew paper in assembling and manufacturing products. “We won the Environmental Award for Business 2019 for having an environmentally friendly manufacturing process,” Suuk said.
More broadly, Suuk is crediting the success of Ensto Ensek to the Estonian work culture. “The high quality of the workforce and their ambition to grow has continuously increased the value of the Estonian units and brought in one of the largest investments,” he said. “Estonia is reasonably well known in the technology field and our business and work culture is highly valued because we are flexible, adapt easily and want to solve problems; we want to experiment instead of finding stability and we look for new and increasingly effective solutions.”
Invest Estonia: the arrival of foreign investments is only the beginning
Invest Estonia, which cooperates with Ensto Ensek as well as other companies that bring foreign investments to Estonia, emphasises the importance of making sure that the investor is looked after also following the investment. To accomplish this, new foreign investors are provided with a local contact point in the form of a consultant. These regional consultants operate in Harjumaa and Raplamaa as well as in Southern, Eastern and Western Estonia. Their work begins when the foreign representatives and headquarters’ consultants have managed to attract the foreign investors to Estonia.
“The core task of our regional consultants is the aftercare of the foreign investors who are already in Estonia,” Hansen explained. “We meet with foreign investors in our region, listen to their concerns and joys as well as their development plans and determine how we can help. We do everything from overviewing support measures and accumulating proposals for the government in regard to improving the business environment and support measures to communicating with local city district governments or helping specialists cross the border with COVID-19 restrictions in place.”
Additionally, Invest Estonia assists the new foreign investors in finding a location and introduces them to the region. “Hence, we at Invest Estonia do not stop working when we land a foreign investor. Our aim is to keep the investors in Estonia and help them maintain regional life and create new jobs,” Hansen noted.
Invest Estonia’s Director of Business Development in Finland Pilvi Hämäläinen said that Ensto Estonia is a good example of the importance of the described aftercare service. “It is very important that we are connected to the companies working in the region. Ensto is a family company whose Chairman of the Board Marjo Miettinen serves as the Chairman of the Board at the Technology Industries of Finland and is a long-term friend of Estonia. Manufacturing industries and foreign investors who have operated for a long time contribute significantly to Estonia’s economy; it is vital that we also value their contribution.”
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