Viatech Ltd is currently a family-owned company established in 2011. The company’s founders have extensive engineering experience in various tasks at different levels of the business. In 2009, managing director Esa Takkinen was plant manager of a system supplier’s business unit serving machine and equipment manufacturers.
That business unit was sold as the company focused to one area of business. Ari Mäkiharju and I worked for the same company where Ari was the power unit production manager.
We were in a situation where we wanted to make use of our know-how and experience. We held negotiations covering different business arrangements with our co-operation partner at the time. These negotiations however, did not lead to a favorable result and thus we decided to start our own company. In 2010 we attended a business entrepreneur course in Tampere where we were the only ones there planning to start a limited company.
After the course we established Viatech Oy at the beginning of 2011. Deciding on the name of the company was fun. There were lots of choices but it was Viatech that described our co-operation the best. Via comes from the cooperation in our network, while Tech describes the work involving high technology machines and equipment.
Viatech Oy’s office was established in the town of Ylöjärvi, some 14 km west of Tampere. The business idea was to be a supplier of industrial machinery and equipment on an engineering company basis. The strategy was to start production operations within a few years. In the end it only took about three weeks to accomplish!
We made the rounds to familiar customers to present our new company’s activities and modes of cooperation. One Wednesday in the beginning of 2011 we went to eat at the local shopping mall where a chance meeting with a business associate resulted in a meeting at their premises on the next day. On Friday, after the presentation, we had the opportunity to make a machine assembly proposal. However, the tender period only had an hour left! The situation was quite difficult, but we got extra time until Monday morning at six with the justification that they did not need the proposal for the weekend! With permission granted, our weekend turned to work.
Our proposal left on Sunday night. Competing bids included a number of major engineering workshops in Pirkanmaa but our offer felt good to the customer. Viatech was, however, a brand new company, so the risks were high in the early stages of the operation. We made a big pile of different documents on our business purpose and goals all the way down to the ownership of the company. The customer wanted to know about our business plans for a few years ahead.
In due course, we entered into a product manufacturing contract. Production was to begin in three weeks! The journey of course presented a few challenges; we had no personnel, no investment funding or facilities! A very cold start!
Fortunately we had done our homework well and had mapped out skilled production people in advance, just in case of such an opportunity. But the factory premises were lacking and finance was needed as soon as possible. We also tried in a variety of negotiations to work with other companies, but with no result.
One day after a meeting, we drove home from Pirkkala with Ari, at an intersection close to the airport he remembered a building with production space that was perhaps for rent. We turned the car and called the owner of the property to agree on a viewing time. The 1000 m2 space was ideal and we reserved it with the condition that we take the space for rent if funding is arranged.
The biggest challenge was to convince financial institutions as to the credibility and profitability of our business. Several banks turned their back, saying they did not believe in our business! We were not discouraged and continued the search. We then found a bank where the manager was familiar with engineering operations and then the doors opened for us. We got a company loan together with a guarantee from the Finnish State financing company Finnvera, and the journey continued.
The next challenge was to build the plant layout; although the state guarantee would take time. I immediately ordered design software from the USA, and over the weekend drew the production and administration layout. I handed the owner of the property the drawings on Monday and on Tuesday the office building already had the frame up! We then ordered the production equipment including cranes and hired the employees identified in advance for production.
Money from the bank was not immediately available and the initial investment and salaries came from my pocket. Luckily we had a little put away.
After a slight delay, financing was arranged and then production began at full speed. We strengthened our organization within a couple of months after recruiting my brother Keijo Takkinen as Production Manager. Currently we have twenty personnel.
Viatech Oy has grown to an established producer when it comes to assembling machinery, equipment, special tooling and specific machines and equipment.
Viatech Ltd. managing director