Erikkila celebrates 100 years in style
Erikkila Oy celebrated its 100th anniversary earlier this month (June, 2012) in Masala, Finland. Around 240 guests represented more than 10 countries, including Russia, Finland, Italy, Germany and Estonia.
The family business Erikkila Nostotekniikkaa Oy—Erikkila Oy, since 2010—has its roots in Vyborg. In 1912, Toivo Erikkilä, grandfather of today’s chairman of the board, Juha Erikkilä, founded a firm called Toivo Erikkilä in the town, now in Russia, near the Finnish border.
Erikkila Oy has grown into a global manufacturer of ergonomic light crane systems, bridge cranes and robotic cranes. The company also imports other lifting equipment to support its own manufacturing, such as vacuum lifters, lifting tables and chain hoists.
The firm now employs more than 60 people, with production and sales operations all around the Baltic region. Over 70 percent of its products are exported. The Spartan product family, released in 2010, and the new production facilities built for it, reflect the company’s ability to adapt to the changing market.
Mikko Erikkilä, managing director, Erikkila, spoke to guests about the change of generations and the meaning of long-term commitment in family companies. One of the values of family companies, he said, is the ability to take into consideration future generations when making decisions in the present.
“The future of the next 100 years is possible only if we now act as our predecessors had with long-term activity and with thought,” he said. “The future plans of the company not only lie inside the area of Europe.”
As Juha Erikkilä, chairman of the board, said recently, “Industry is moving east. The BRICs [Brazil, Russia, India and China] will continue to import technology and manufacture locally. This is where the growth lies. We cannot count on innovation being an exclusive domain of western manufacturers. We shall all learn from the BRICs, and we must do this by establishing our own presence in these markets.”
“The success of Erikkila today tells us a lot about Finnish society,” said Matti Vanhanen, managing director, Finnish Family Firms Association, in his keynote speech. “In the division of labour small countries, their companies must find their own place, focus on a very small sector of knowhow and strive to be on top,” he added. “This is only possible with long-term cooperation of family company owners, employees and business partners.”
Celebrations were linked to the opening of the factory’s latest extension, which will be used for the new Spartan family of products. This year will also see the publication of a company history written by Anu Erikkilä. The owners of the company joined Matti Vanhanen to inaugurate the factory, while Pastor Tapani Selin and Father Kalevi Kasala did the blessing.