Polar Metalli Ltd has been the contract manufacturer of stainless steel components for Lappset Group Ltd since 2008. Lappset Group is one of the leading manufacturers of playground and exercise equipment in the world. The most significant component manufactured by Polar Metalli for Lappset is the sheet metal used in slides.
How did the cooperation begin?
In 2008 Markus and Matti Saukko, the brothers that had recently taken over the reins of Polar Metalli, got to negotiate with their potential first big contract manufacturing client, Lappset Group in Rovaniemi. Matti remembers Lappset Project manager Jukka Aho and the then Purchasing manager Markku Putkivaara posing questions so hard that the brothers did not know the answers – with no experience of big negotiations or preparing for them.
However, Markus and Matti managed to tell Lappset about Polar Metalli’s excellent quality and reliability of delivery. At that point, Jukka had asked what exactly did the reliability of delivery for Polar Metalli products really mean. To that, the brothers had answered: “100 %, because that’s the best we can do.” After a while, Lappset Group chose Polar Metalli as one of their suppliers.
Mirja Uusipaavalniemi, the Purchasing manager at Lappset Group Ltd, says that the cooperation started slowly, with test pieces, since it’s customary for Lappset to make sure the common procedures are understood and that the quality is in place right from the beginning.
Matti Saukko reveals that after a few years of cooperation he asked Jukka Ahola of Lappset how he thought Polar Metalli had performed. Lappset had been pleased: Polar Metalli had been able to keep its delivery promise with 100% reliability.
In the years of cooperation, there have been challenges, but with no significant effects to the end customers, Mirja Uusipaavalniemi says. As a token for good cooperation, Lappset Group chose Polar Metalli Ltd as the Supplier of the year 2012. Matti Saukko remembers: “Mirja surprised us by telling she’s coming over for a visit. We were very happy about the recognition. Today, our cooperation has lasted for 10 years.”
“A reliable and active supplier”
Mirja Uusipaavalniemi of Lappset Group Ltd describes Polar Metalli as “a reliable and active supplier”. She says Lappset Group requires its suppliers, Polar Metalli included, to have the ability to compete globally on quality, reliability of delivery, price and accountability aspects. Lappset Group continuously develops its operations and cost-efficiency and expects the same of its suppliers. Matti Saukko states that Lappset’s practises have been a big inspiration for Polar Metalli to further develop theirs.