Finland, like many Nordic countries, relies a lot on weather forecasts and seasonal conditions for its outdoor activities. Not only does this affect people’s way of life, but also many areas in business, not least the construction industry.
According to Pasi Päkkilä, RealLift Oy’s national sales manager: “It means that in autumn, customers are interested in lifts for indoor use. In spring, the demand for boom lifts, and other heavier aerial work platforms and outdoor machinery starts growing again.”
The Finnish market and its needs for specific equipment, such as the Star 6 Crawler, are driven by the local weather.
Can you please introduce us to your company? What is your role within the business?
RealLift Oy specialises in the sale of lifting equipment.
Our services also include the maintenance and repair of the equipment we sell, as well as providing the spare parts needed.
We are part of Finnish RealMachinery Oy, founded in 2010. RealMachinery is a national full-service machine shop that sells, rents, maintains, repairs and equips earthmoving machines for every purpose. All the brands we import are the absolute best in the industry and offer the customer an excellent solution for any earthmoving work.
Today RealMachinery is part of Wihuri Oy Tekninen Kauppa, and the aftersales of Wihuri also serves the customers of RealLift. With a history of 120 years, and more than 500 employees, Wihuri Oy Tekninen Kauppa is the oldest and the largest player in its field.
I joined RealLift five years ago, as a sales manager. I am responsible for RealLift’s lifting equipment sales in Finland. Even before RealLift, I had always worked with machines, and I also have a degree in Automotive Engineering Technology.
How did you start working with Haulotte?
In 2016, RealMachinery acquired a small company named CarloMas Europe, which had been operating in the lift market for a long time and represented Haulotte in Finland. After the acquisition, CarloMas Europe’s name was changed to RealLift and the business became an important part of RealMachinery Oy’s overall portfolio.
How would you explain the success of your company?
Focusing on top quality equipment has helped us to have satisfied and long-term customers. We are also committed to investing in after-sales services and we have an extensive service network across the country. When we have a customer in Lapland, one of our service centres can be found even near him or her. It is very important for us to be close to the customer.
What are the characteristics of your market?
Lately, the Finnish market has seen a lot of acquisitions, with larger rental companies buying up smaller ones.
What is typical for Finland are the four seasons, which vary significantly from each other. The winter sets limits for many construction projects. The soil can be frozen even one meter deep, and obviously you can´t do excavation work during those months. The depth of frozen soil depends mostly on the type of soil and the amount of snow. We actually have a special word in Finnish for the frozen soil, “routa”. However, the climate warming has shortened winters in Finland, but at the same time it means that instead of snow we have more rain.
In addition to “routa”, the temperature is too low for several months to repair or paint facades, for example. Temperatures below zero also set unique requirements for materials and fuels used in construction or demolition work.
For us, this means that in autumn, customers are interested in lifts for indoor use. In spring, the demand for boom lifts, among other heavier aerial work platforms and outdoor machinery, starts growing again. It also means that the machinery and the equipment have to be in top condition to perform properly during the winter.
What kind of projects and customers are you working with?
Our customers are mainly small and medium-sized rental companies. The end users of our machinery are typically construction companies or companies specialized in painting. We also sell lifting equipment to other industries, partly to avoid being too dependent on one single business sector.
What are your new Star 6 crawler machines used for?
The Star 6 Crawler is an excellent solution when you need to move around on an uneven surface. You can drive it even on sand, or if the ground is covered with snow or slush. Therefore, it is often used in demolition work and, of course, in many jobs in construction and building maintenance.
In addition to its ability to move around on uneven surfaces, the main benefits include the good long-lasting battery. It can also be introduced to the job quickly, in cases where there is no need for larger scaffolding.
What is the general feedback you get from your technicians and your clients?
The feedback has been very positive. There has been little trouble of any kind with Haulotte’s equipment, and we have been able to fix those rare cases quickly. We and our customers are pleased with the high quality of the equipment.
How do you see the aerial work platform industry evolving in the upcoming years? How would it look like in 20 years, for example?
I see aerial work platforms running more and more on electricity and less and less on combustion engines. Construction companies, among others, are required to report and reduce their CO2 emissions, and greener machines are one way to do that.
We have already received many requests for electric machines and have delivered several Haulotte HA20 LE PRO Electric Articulating Boom Lifts, for example.
I think the aerial work platform industry has a bright future ahead of it, as safety becomes increasingly important along with eco-friendly machines.
If Pasi Päkkilä is hoping for a greener construction industry, he is not the only one. Helsinki is part of the « Big buyers for climate and environment » advocacy group, a project initiated by the European Commission to invite public contractors to integrate innovation and the environment into their procurement policies. The Finnish capital is aiming to achieve 100% carbon-free construction sites by 2025.