“Thanks to the electronics manufactured in the factory in Saaremaa – the biggest island in Estonia – we have the opportunity to turn Estonia into a space nation, as well as use the same kind of electronics to equip the first Estonian hybrid passenger ship connecting the island and the mainland,” Greg Grace, Head of Incap Electronics Estonia said about their achievements. “These are just some examples of projects that create added value to the international group. The electronics manufactured by Incap in Saaremaa is used to a great extent in Estonia and other nearby countries, in our everyday consumables as well as in crucially important industrial machinery.”
Another great example of this success is Incap Oyj under which the Saaremaa entity belongs and is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange. The share price of the international group has risen from 15 euros to 50 euros in just one year, meaning that investors’ assets have grown threefold.
Grace says that the group’s decentralised management structure helps the entity he manages to contribute. “The Estonian entity has a lot of discretion in regard to which projects to choose and what objectives to set,” he said. “This has permitted us to act rapidly and in a flexible manner and make brave contributions in places where we spot growth opportunities.” He added that the general upward trend in the electronics sector supports growth.
Success in the face of the pandemic
Grace is particularly satisfied with their growth during the pandemic. “Even though the new complicated situation brought our manufacturing a number of challenges, we managed to take part in several exciting projects and prove ourselves in long-term collaborations,” he noted. “My greatest achievement is certainly managing to keep the factory in Saaremaa on a steady course during an extremely difficult period; we managed to improve our results, motivate and develop our crew and invest in modern technology as well as the working environment.”
He added that the electronics industry has been one of the main beneficiaries of the COVID-19 crisis. “The COVID-19 pandemic has scaled up the changes that were already started to happen in the electronics manufacturing services industry – an increasing number of manufacturing has been brought back to Europe from China. Manufacturing speed, shorter supply chains and bringing manufacturing closer to product development and the end user are important for clients,” Grace said.
Furthermore, they have managed to handle the electronics component shortages that have occurred globally as a result of the pandemic. “We have had to extend certain project time schedules and change their strategies,” he noted. “However, we can say that this is sort of a positive problem for our sector, because it is quite evident that demand for electronics has greatly increased and will continue to grow in the future.”
A number of success stories
Today Incap Estonia has been nominated by Enterprise Estonia for the Entrepreneurship Award 2021 in the Foreign Investor category. Grace is not certain what brought about the nomination, but he highlights some noteworthy accomplishments.
For example, they took part in a joint venture that led to the creation of electronic equipment which was used for NASA’s lunar exploration cameras, and they have also contributed to electronics education across Estonia. “Our education campaign resulted in a record number of students who began their studies this autumn as well as the previous autumn,” he stated.
The Enterprise Estonia nomination is not the only recognition Incap Estonia has gained. Grace also lists the Silver Label received from the Responsible Business Forum Estonia as well as the Golden Label of Family-Friendly Company from the Ministry of Social Affairs as accomplishments. The Estonian Employers’ Confederation awarded Incap Estonia with the title of the Best Regional Internship Provider and the previous year Äripäev awarded them with the title of the Regional Company of the Year. Incap Estonia has also won the Company of the Year title at Saaremaa’s biggest business competition.
Incap Estonia’s own investments
Grace indicates that Incap Electronics Estonian entity has also invested independently of their parent company. “We are happy to start using our most recent investments very soon – a contemporary pasta printer, a wave soldering machine and a selective soldering machine. We bought them in order to respond to the growing needs of our clients and to increase our competitive advantages with the factory’s world-class equipment.” Grace brought out that in addition to equipment, a lot of investment is made into developing the crew and the working environment overall.
Additionally, the success of Incap’s Estonian entity is helped by being affiliated with a large international group. “Acquiring factories in Great Britain and Slovakia and incorporating them with Incap in the first months of 2020 showed that a larger team allows for more opportunities in synergy, learning better practices and providing even bigger opportunities for clients,” Grace said.
Supported by Invest Estonia
Additionally, Grace is thankful for the assistance of Enterprise Estonia and Invest Estonia. “Our endeavours have been supported in digitisation and automatisation and we have been enabled to participate in international trade fairs and with exporting our products and services,” Grace said.
Invest Estonia has also given Incap Estonia a network of contacts. “Most recently, we participated at sTARTUp Day. We have met wonderful startups there before, and some of those companies have later become our cooperative partners,” Grace noted. “Therefore, the endeavours of Invest Estonia have helped us meet many significant parties and aided us in finding a number of partners and clients who are ready to invest in top-quality Estonian made electronics products.”
Invest Estonia’s Director of Business Development in Finland Pilvi Hämäläinen is happy with the collaboration as well. “We support Incap via our network so that they can successfully operate in Estonia,” she said. “We have helped them with different matters regarding workforce and investments, and we have helped the Estonian electronics industry from a foreign investor standpoint, including bringing them face-to-face with important partners.” Invest Estonia also helps the Saaremaa entity of the Finnish group with finding local resources and cooperative partners.
Hämäläinen states that the collaboration is worthwhile, because Incap is one of the biggest employers in Saaremaa. “I am extremely happy to see a foreign investor in Saaremaa, it shows that international manufacturing is possible on the islands of Estonia as well, not just in Tallinn. I am hopeful that their success will encourage others to look beyond the capital city,” she concluded.
Facts about Incap Electronics:
- Electronic components and devices manufacturer
- 50 years of experience on the international stage
- Operations in Finland, Estonia, India, Great Britain, Slovakia and Hong-Kong
- Turnover reached 106.5 million euros last year
- Employs 2000 people
- Listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange since 1997
- CEO Otto Richard Pukk was born in Sweden and has some Estonian roots; he started his career at the company in the Saaremaa entity
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