Export and continuous product development have always been the cornerstones of Nokia-based Doofor’s operations. The company manufactures hydraulic rock drills in a most apt setting: in the heartland of Finnish metal know-how.
It is easy to design a product that is expensive to manufacture. By contrast, if you want to create a product that is as simple as possible and has moderate manufacturing costs, you need expertise and long-term experience. These are the thoughts of Kalle Kuusento, Managing Director of hydraulic rock drill manufacturer Doofor Inc. He knows what he is talking about, since continuous product development is one of the company’s fundamental philosophies.
“In our 25 years in the business, there has never been a situation where it wouldn’t be necessary to improve the products any more. We have launched a new drill model this year, too, and more product news are coming soon,” Kuusento says.
Doofor manufactures about 150 rock drills each year. Most of these go to equipment manufacturers, some also directly to end users, and they are used in various corners of the world at mines, quarries, construction sites and other locations requiring rock drilling solutions. In recent years, the company’s annual turnover has been around €1.7 million, and design, assembly, quality control and product development are all handled by a team of seven people.
“Our employees are technical specialists who are interested in and capable of creating new things,” Kuusento says.
In addition to Doofor’s own expertise and experience, the product development is based on the needs of customers, who must be heard particularly closely. Doofor strives to provide its customers with increasingly energy-efficient and durable products with a higher drilling speed while ensuring that the co-operation works and the necessary expertise is available.
“Our comprehensive package helps our customers increase the competitiveness of their own products,” Kuusento sums up.
Export has always been important to Doofor. When Kalle Kuusento’s father established Doofor in 1987, he had plenty of export experience from other companies. Accordingly, export became a natural part of the business when the company started manufacturing rock drills in 1993, and it immediately found customers in Italy, Canada and Australia. Doofor’s rock drills are now being exported to about 30 different countries, mainly in Europe, North America and Asia.
“We have been exporting to China, for example, since 2010. Skilled manufacturers have appeared there, so there is also demand for our products. India is another very interesting market to which we have been exporting for a decade now.”
Doofor is based in Nokia, a name that still arouses interest abroad: So there really is a city named Nokia! Kuusento likes to advertise the entire Tampere region to his international contacts, many of whom are already somewhat familiar with it.
“The Tampere region is the centre of the Finnish metal industry and is known for its expertise in mechanical engineering. At mining and earth-moving equipment fairs, for example, our region is very well represented in relation to its population,” Kuusento says.
The local metal industry know-how can also be seen in Doofor’s operations, since its network of subcontractors is mainly located in the Tampere region. The company’s operations are secured by the availability of subcontractors used to demanding manufacturing duties, and machine shops have invested in modernising their production in the past few years, so it pays off to subcontract work nearby.
“The Tampere region is a great location for our business in every way, and the logistics are good, too. The cargo connections work both within the area and to the outside world. In addition to rock drills, we also deliver spare parts for all the equipment we manufacture,” Kuusento says.
Doofor’s export efforts can also be seen in the fact that the company has many visitors from abroad and its representatives travel around the world to meet their customers. Kuusento is satisfied with the accessibility of the region and favours the local airport.
“When our staff travel, they use Tampere–Pirkkala Airport whenever possible. It is close by, and since it’s a small airport, departures and arrivals are always very smooth and relaxed,” Kuusento says.