“Looking very good! The turn of the year is usually a quiet period but has now been totally different. Customer companies have many development projects and plant investments coming up,” says Mikko Piiroinen, Managing Director of Outoplan Oy.

Outoplan Oy is an engineering firm offering technical design and expert services, established by Mikko Piiroinen in 2016. After having made a career of almost 15 years in listed companies, he decided to change to something “rather exciting”, entrepreneurship.

The Piiroinen family had moved from Kuopio to Outokumpu a year earlier. They had been missing the countryside and wanted to take care of the forests on the Piiroinen family estate. It did not take much time before Mikko Piiroinen and Business Joensuu’s business specialist Juha Saastamoinen sat at the same table.

– Business Joensuu has been involved in the company’s operations since day one.

Various pillars

Competence, experience and networking skills. This sums up the foundation on which Piiroinen started building Outoplan.

The company serves the following sectors: the technology industry, forest and paper industry, energy and power plant industry, chemical and petrochemical industry, mining industry and food industry. The Finnish Defence Forces is also one of Outoplan’s customer.

– We have deliberately diversified our operations across many sectors, the customers including many major corporations, but also smaller start-ups. Versatility brings stability, as business cycles turn, and markets fluctuate.

From traditional approaches to digital age

In 2018, Outoplan made a turnover of about half a million euros. A year later, the turnover was already approaching the limit of one million euros. At the beginning of 2021, Piiroinen turned back to Business Joensuu’s service offering. It was time to see what the DigiGrow service had to offer.

– Until then, we had done marketing in rather traditional ways. When customer visits and many other things changed due to the pandemic, it was the right time to look for a new approach to marketing. And thanks to Business Joensuu, we also found it.

Listening to Piiroinen, taking digital steps went just as smoothly as Business Joensuu makes it sound in its marketing materials.

– Drafting a marketing plan, putting the website in order, reviewing the social media channels suitable for us, becoming active in LinkedIn.

For Outoplan, Google advertising has been a wise choice. “It has opened new doors and brought a lot of visibility,” Piiroinen says.

Growth – yes please!

After the DigiGrow programme had given new boost for operations, it was time to take the next step with Business Joensuu and begin the Grow coaching, in which Outoplan participated between August and November last year.

– We had been asked to join in a couple of times before. The time was right when we got some of our previous development projects out of the way. For example, over the years, we had been writing down our ownership strategy. The Grow coaching was a natural continuation for the process and gave us great practice, Mikko Piiroinen says, praising the coaching programme.

More than 150 companies have already participated in the Business Joensuu’s growth coaching, launched in 2019. It has also brought results; the turnover of companies which have participated in the coaching programme grew by an average of 46 per cent between 2019 and 2020.

Mikko Piiroinen from Outoplan does not yet have growth figures to present. The company has five years of hard work ahead of it. In 2021, the company’s turnover was approximately EUR 1.1 million.

– As part of the growth programme, we prepared the plans for the next five years: the aim is to at least double the company size from its current level. We are aiming for organic growth, but there is also always an opportunity for corporate acquisitions.

Like many other participants in the Growth coaching, Piiroinen also praises the way the coaching was implemented and the expertise of the trainers.

– The bonus of it all is that there are other companies in the same group, many coming from totally different sectors. It has become clear that the challenges of growth are the same for everyone.

More employees

Outoplan’s home base is in Outokumpu, and the company also has offices in both Joensuu and Kuopio. Outoplan has also experts working in their home offices in Jyväskylä, Kajaani and Kouvola.

– Our customers operate in a large geographical area. Equally, we can work remotely regardless of the location. After what we have gone through with the pandemic, the customer attitudes have changed a great deal; physical proximity is not a decisive factor.

Remote work, good reputation and Business Joensuu’s help in recruitment have all undoubtedly contributed to Outoplan having succeeded in hiring new employees. Today, the company has 21 professionals on its payroll.

– Right now, we are looking for an automation expert and an experienced mechanical designer. We have been delighted to receive a large number of applications for the vacancies.

“Business Joensuu has been involved in the company’s operations since day one”

 

Text: Sirkka-Liisa Aaltonen/Viestintä Ässä Oy
Pictures: Jarno Artika