The Finnish bodywork and trailer manufacturer Ekeri banks on traditional values and its own special niche. Their customers appreciate it.
Rubrik Issue One 2010 29 After the interview, Mikael Eklund invites us to have coffee with him. We need to drive a few metres, the 48 year old en- trepreneur explains to his visitors. Indeed, it is just a few hundred metres from the company to a modest bungalow with a pleasantly furnished living-room. It is a family get-together, looking out of the window, the house of Eklund’s brother can be seen; around the corner is the old joiner‘s workshop “where everything started.” Mikael Eklund can not deny his roots. The development of his com- pany is, in principle, carried out on just a tiny spot of Finland in the west of the country, where a respectable minority exists, which speaks Swedish and carries Swedish names. A relic of history: for centuries Finland belonged to the Kingdom of Sweden. A similar bond with one’s roots is found in many medium-sized companies and, presumably, is for the most of them an important part of their success story. In Eklund‘s case this rags-to-riches story is, in short, as follows: his grandfather ran a small joiner‘s workshop in the post-war years and, at some point, began to build caravans for his increasingly travel-happy countrymen. The village joiners expanded their product range, and the business gradually changed to become that of a vehicle manufacturer; one that was specialised in a very clever niche-product. Admittedly, it had the reputation of not being very cheap but, also of being indestructible. ThenameEkeristandsforbody- work and trailers for temperature-controlled transport, with lateral doors that allow a high degree of flexibility when loading or unloading. Overcoming the crisis thanks to flexibility The example of Finnish manufacturer Ekeri with its excellent bodywork can be used to study the advan- tages of “the old economy”. Advantages that are highly appreciated by the company’s customers. Entrepreneur with a strong home bond: Mikael Eklund. Folding doors: an idea by Ekeri Photo:Kienberger