Passion for conveying solutions – The growth story of Laitex
Last fall Laitex celebrated 30 years in business. Laitex has grown from a one-man business to a profitable international company. What has made it possible? Let’s go back to where it all started.
No entrepreneurial experience. No client references. When Kari Kurronen founded Laitex, he was driven by his passion for conveying solutions. He was able to convince customers, and little by little he started to get references. His biggest customer was Suomen Puhallintehdas which is nowadays called Alstom. After thirty years they are still a customer of Laitex.
In the beginning, Kurronen designed and sold the products himself and the products were made with subcontractors. The first employee who Kurronen hired was a secretary. A few months later first assemblers were hired. In 1988 Laitex bought their first premises, which comprised of a small assembly hall, an office and social facilities. The old hall has been expanded many times and is still in use. Laitex has also bought new premises 2016 which include offices and assembly hall. You can read more from our premises here.
From mining to power plants
Laitex has always expanded with small steps so it has been possible to adapt to customers’ processes and needs. Laitex started with mining, because Kurronen had background and strong knowledge in it. The next industry was wood processing, because its worldwide production was concentrated in South Karelia.
While working in wood processing, the factories’ power generation processes became familiar. Essentially, the same conveying equipment was used with pulp and power plants. So when Laitex expanded, power industry was a natural way to grow the business.
CEO’s responsibilities from dad to son
Kari Kurronen is now the chairman of the board of Laitex. He worked as CEO for many years. As time went by, he wanted to pass the CEO duties forward and move on in his career. After careful consideration, in 2012 he was pleased to allow the new CEO to take his place.
A few years after, the board of directors decided to make Laitex a family-lead company again. Kari’s son Lasse Kurronen became the CEO in 2016, aged 31. He had learned a lot from the temporary CEOs. Especially the first
CEO after Kari was a strong leader and experienced in working with big companies and projects. He improved the inner processes of Laitex which was very significant development for a growing business.
Lasse originally started work at Laitex aged 12 and has worked here since, so he has good understanding of the whole company and business. Lasse has big dreams for Laitex. “We have so much talent in this house that we can succeed”, he believes.
Employees are the heart of Laitex
The core of success has always been a good working environment and talented employees. Kari believes in hiring hard-working people who share the same values and views with him. He believes that employees succeed at
their work without keeping an eye on them. Mistakes are allowed as long as you learn from them. The culture remains at Laitex with Lasse as CEO.
30 years is a long time. There have been good and bad times. Especially economic depression has made it hard to survive. “We have done our best to be good to our staff no matter what has happened”, Kari tells. Both the workers and the company have been flexible when needed. The atmosphere is open and no-one has ever had to hide their knowledge. People are encouraged to develop themselves and grow for new work assignments. Working environment both in the hall and in the office is warm.
In business, trial and error is probably the costliest, but also the most effective road to success. The know-how of Laitex relies on Finnish engineering and years of experience in things that cannot be learned from textbooks. To achieve an optimal result, one must know the needs and processes of clients as well as the modifiability of the equipment. Working together with customers has made Laitex the strong supplier and partner that it is today.