In September 2019, Antti Apilo carried out an idea that had been brewing for a couple of years, and became an entrepreneur. Apilo founded Metans Oy and acquired the business operations of Metallityö Tanskanen. During the running-in phase of his entrepreneurship, he was supported by the seller, entrepreneur Kari Tanskanen. Smooth cooperation was enabled by Business Joensuu's master-apprentice model.

In six months, much has happened at Metans Oy in Salpakangas, Joensuu. Manufacturing aluminium and steel structures for construction companies and public organisations, the company has updated its premises. Electricity and lighting have been renewed, a smoke exhaust system has been built, social facilities have been renewed and production and storage facilities have been put in order.

– One of the key reforms is also the introduction of new design software. Our vision is to make planning and computing faster and more cost-effective through this, says Antti Apilo, entrepreneur behind Metans Oy.

The beginning of the year was a perfect time to update the style and functionality of the company’s facilities. Towards spring, the order backlog started to grow, and now several contracts are under way: doors, windows, stairways, supports for beams made of laminated wood and condenser feet.

Jumping to a moving train

During the spring, Apilo has been kept busy with tendering. Kari Tanskanen, who sold the business to Apilo, offered his support for more than two months after the sale, which was of great help to the new entrepreneur. In that time, the new entrepreneur was able to acquire a lot of extremely important tacit knowledge about the customers and products. The master-apprentice model was a concrete help.

– An example of this involves customer information from previous years including product images – the material was brilliantly documented during the previous owner! In this situation, another great advantage has been that two former employees have continued to work for the company, says Apilo.

Cyclicity requires flexibility

When taking up entrepreneurship, Antti Apilo realised that the beginning would be challenging. The situation was made much easier by the fact that he had previously worked in demanding projects and learned to take responsibility also at the customer interface. However, there has been a lot to learn in terms of the cyclical nature of business.

– Situations in the market change rapidly. There can be some quiet days at first, followed by many deals at once. You must learn to organise the workload.

Making progress with a development idea

During the business transfer, Kari Tanskanen, who gave up his business last autumn, stated that entrepreneurship requires a lot energy and motivation. The outgoing entrepreneur could identify these properties in Apilo. And so, the first steps of Metans have been at least as good as planned. Already now, Apilo has clear ideas for future development.

– In terms of developing my own competence, I have needed to learn new things related to the process of planning and tendering. At the same time, it has become clear that the efficiency of these work stages has to be improved.

With the coronavirus blurring the future, Apilo is looking much further into the future in his thoughts. Metans is seeking to grow and extend the market area.

– The main focus of the market is in the Joensuu region and North Karelia. We certainly receive bids for tenders far beyond this region, all the way from Southern Finland. There is a demand for work in the field, and so far, we have not been hit by the coronavirus either. The idea of growth is realistic, but we have to make progress on the basis of profitability.

Metans can grow organically as well as through business acquisitions.

– Increasing the volume, shortening the lead time from the tendering phase to deliveries, productising services and streamlining the procurement and sales process – there is plenty to develop. The customer is at the heart of all this: we do what the customers want and keep the promises we give them.

“The new entrepreneur had time to acquire extremely important tacit
knowledge about the customers and products”

FACT: Master–apprentice training

  • Strong competence support in situations of change of ownership
  • Also suitable for situations when a jobseeker is looking for employment and the company is looking for competent workforce
  • Duration: 10–100 days, defined according to objectives at the beginning of the apprenticeship
  • Support and assistance from a Business Specialist at Business Joensuu starting from practical matters
  • Partners: European Social Fund ESF, South Savo ELY Centre, Riveria and the TE Office of North Karelia
  • Master-apprentice training until 30/09/2020: seize this opportunity NOW!
  • Further information: Business Specialist Satu-Minna Piiroinen, Business Joensuu Oy, +358 400 287 787