Local focus fosters global reach

What do the city of Wuxi in China, Thomasville in Georgia, United States, and Kokkola in Finland have in common? They each are home to an Oilon factory. In each of these locations, Oilon products – industrial heat pumps and chillers, domestic heat pumps, burners and combustion systems – are made to the same unified standards, ensuring the high quality Oilon is known for.

Oilon is a family-owned global energy and environmental technology company renowned not only for advanced R&D but also high quality, which is something customers around the world can depend on. The Oilon group operates a total of six production plants around the globe, each managed centrally from the company headquarters in Lahti, Finland.

“While our factories in different parts of the world ensure that we can respond to local market needs, our strong group-level steering ensures uniform quality and uniform processes everywhere in the world,” says the group’s Production Director Sakari Kokkonen.

Additionally, group-level steering keeps the company’s organization efficient.

“As data moves more freely in globally unified systems, it is easier to handle day-to-day activities and manage the continuous development of our operations,” Kokkonen says.

While it is important to make sure that that Oilon’s core values are followed equally regardless of the market, it is important to understand that in some cases, achieving a true global reach requires local presence and awareness. One of the benefits of local presence is that it allows companies to respond to customer needs as effectively as possible.

“Having production capabilities around the world allows us to quickly respond to specific demand in each market. This keeps the quality, price, and availability of our products at a good level,” Kokkonen says.

Another factor that requires solid local awareness and presence is understanding the local regulatory landscape.

“Oilon is an international manufacturer with the necessary certificates for all major markets,” says the group’s Sales and Marketing Director Sami Pekkola.

Pekkola goes on to tell how many of the company’s competitors operate only in a single market, while Oilon deliberately responds to the requirements and challenges of the wider market.

“In the marine industry, for example, there are twenty or so different standards, and we have certification for most of them. In the US market, in turn, we need to be compliant with UL* requirements”, Pekkola says.

Meeting all of these standards has been a long journey. “When all the planning, engineering, testing, and the approval process itself is considered, it took us a couple of years to receive the UL approval,” Pekkola says.

Once the certificates were in place, Oilon still had to find customers for their products. Oilon has never been one to find the easiest way out.

“If our home country had a large internal market like the one enjoyed by our German competitors, we could naturally focus on that alone. As a Finnish company, we had to pretty much immediately head out into the world,” reminisces Pekkola, who has some personal experience in the matter. Even though Sami’s years in China are now behind him, his work still takes him around the world.

“Serving customers with a global scope is a big investment, but then again, it has also really boosted us and our products forwards. The local requirements in different markets have challenged us to constantly refine our products and make them more versatile. Now we can proudly say that we are one of the top players, for example, among industrial heat pump manufacturers,” Pekkola says, smiling.

And this is what Oilon is known as: a leader and a pioneer. The latest co-operative agreement for industrial heat pumps was concluded with one of the big names in the industry, Trane Technologies. Trane has agreed to expand their portfolio with an Oilon-developed family of industrial heat pumps. The units will be produced in Oilon’s new production plant in Kokkola, Finland, which has been in operation since November 2021. “Oilon has been an industry pioneer in developing environmentally friendly technologies. The new co-operative contract is a well-deserved price for our long-term efforts and for listening and responding to different market needs,” Pekkola says.

* The UL marking is a safety and quality label for products used in the NorthAmerican market. The marking is issued by Underwriters Laboratories Inc., a testing and certification body operating in North America.