Peikko was founded in 1965 in Finlandand is the Global Forerunner in Slim Floor Structures, Wind Energy Applications and Connection Technology for Precast and Cast-in-situ.. Their first production factory in Romania started operations in 2019.
Can you tell us more about your background and what your vision is for Peikko Romania, since your arrival last year?
I graduated in engineering, my background is very technical, but my later career actually developed in management and production planning. I have been admiring Peikko for a long time and coming to work with them was a natural step in my career. R&D is Peikko's strong point and this is why it is perceived as a forerunner in the industry. Romania is using a lot of traditional construction methods and the potential lies in the fact that there is room for improvement.
The composite beams and solutions you provide are very niche, can you briefly introduce us to their specificity and utility?
First and foremost it depends on who is using them, and broadly speaking we have four types of clients: construction companies and precasters that use our products directly, then architects and engineers, investors and developers. All groups benefit in time and project or operational cost saving, productivity, technical support and much more. For example, precast concrete connections link the precast column to the foundation while reducing manpower needs and eliminate propping. This translates into a shorter construction time and lowered overall costs. The whole idea behind what we do is to build faster, safer and more efficiently, and this is the utility in a nutshell.
Peikko was founded in the '60s in Finland, Romania being a recent addition to the footprint - how important is it as part of the whole company structure and what are some of the challenges you have encountered here thus far?
There is one overarching challenge present in Romania at the moment, as it was in all other markets at the time, and it’s to do with educating the market. In the world of construction it is usually hard to change people's way of doing things. Romania was a natural step in our network expansion plan, being strategically placed in South Eastern Europe. As for specific challenges, in Scandinavia the workforce is extremely expensive so the building process needs to be highly effective, it is a market in which our products have become the norm. In Romania, on the other hand, labor is still relatively cheap and novelty is seen as a luxury.
We currently have 85 employees here, and although in April 2020 things seemed to take a negative turn due to the global pandemic, everything started to fall in place slowly but surely. The developers and companies that had the courage to keep on working were the winners.
Talking about courage, are you noticing any category of companies that are more open to innovations in the construction field?
I would say that the propensity to adopt innovative solutions is directly linked to individual deciders. There is no specific industry that is more open than the other. For example, CON-A is one of the construction clients we have a good relationship with, and Concept Structure is a design company that resonated well with our solutions. This evolution in mentality is related to the change in generations. The old and conservative generation is being replaced by a younger and more daring pool of engineers.
Why the focus on R&D and what is an example case study of what came out of it?
In business you are left behind if you stagnate, so it's very important to keep progressing, come up with cool new products. So yes, we have to invest in R&D if we want to lead and not follow.
Case study wise, we are currently developing a solution for countries with high seismic activity, Romania being one of them. The solution is called DELTABEAM® and is one of Peikko's key products. It is used in more than 15,000 projects all over the world.
What makes DELTABEAM® so special and why has it been a success?
When working with concrete and conventional steel beams there are more limitations regarding the shape of the structure while DELTABEAM® offers more design freedom.. It allows for a slim floor structure with no thickness added to the slab that separates the floors and this is an advantage for the end-users in terms of operational costs. In simple terms, it means investors can build eleven floors instead of ten, for instance or keep the same number of floors with less volume to heat/cool. From an aesthetic stance, which architects care about, it allows for the air conditioning ventilation tubes to be placed close to the ceiling, so that they become almost invisible.
Exciting beginning then, despite the pandemic - what are your goals in the next two to three years for Romania?
The short-term goal is to properly establish Peikko on the Romanian market, where we are still navigating the industry. The long-term goal is to become the preferred supplier of solutions for the industry, keep at it and make use of our diverse product offering.
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