Tomi Pekkola, sales director at Black Donuts Engineering, is the envy of travellers everywhere: he never has to pack a suitcase before heading to the airport. But don’t think he has some secret formula, because his technique is actually preparation.
The truth is my travelling gear is always ready,” he laughs. “Whenever a customer is in need of any kind of assistance we’ll be there.”
Black Donuts is a fast-growing, innovative and independent partner for tyre manufacturers. Based close to Tampere, Finland, they help their customers with tyre plant technology, tyre development, material development and testing. Much of their work takes place around the world, anywhere they are needed.
“Personal relationships are very important in doing business around the world,” Pekkola explains. “Getting results is much easier and faster in face-to-face contacts than emails, telcos or Skype meetings. Due to language issues in some parts of the world a personal meeting is the only way to understand the customer’s targets during the first meeting.”
Motivation and commitment
The company has been following their philosophy of building local relationships since their foundation by tyre industry veterans in 2010. This strategy is certainly working: in only six years they have grown to about 11 million euros in sales with almost 60 experts on staff.
“Finnish engineers are committed and motivated towards their work,” says Pekkola. “In addition, Finnish engineering is a strong brand. It is trusted globally thanks to our experience and know-how. This makes my job easier anywhere in the world.”
He often travels with Black Donuts engineers. Depending upon the client need, they might be helping to build a profitable and environmentally friendly plant, choose suitable materials, create innovative tyres, or even test those tyres so they meet all requirements.
Trust equals success
“When I travel my mission is always to listen to the needs of our customers in face-to-face meetings and get the results they demand,” says Pekkola. “I try to be as efficient on my business trips as possible. For example, most of the times when I arrive in a country there is already transportation waiting at the airport to take me to the meeting.”
He misses his family, friends and Finland’s beautiful nature when he travels but says there is nothing better than flying home after a job well done.
“I love travelling home with a feeling that there is trust between myself and a customer,” he says. “This lets me know that my journey has been successful.”
Text: David J. Cord