Aste Finland: Keeping it cool with Aste
The next time you are at a grocery store checkout, take a look at the cooler holding your favourite drinks. You probably didn't think twice about it: the cooler looks perfectly natural right where it is. Actually, a great deal of time and effort probably went into that cooler – the shape, the colour, the placement – and it may have been the work of a Finnish company.
Aste Finland was founded in 2010 to develop, manufacture, market and sell high quality plug-in coolers. Based in Forssa, Aste distributes their coolers throughout the Nordic region, central Europe and all the way down to Spain.
"Business is doing fine; I would like to say exactly as planned," says CEO Jussi Salonen. "Our growth is fast and at the moment we are doing about 7.5 million euros in turnover. Our target is for 20 million euros in 2020. It's an ambitious target but very realistic."
The cooler market has been divided into two broad categories: mass products and uniquely designed coolers. Aste is creating a new market segment with customised mass produced coolers. They are combining the best practices from both extremes of the market for a new hybrid option.
"The situation creates a favourable opportunity," continues Salonen. "It has always been difficult for traditional mass producers to create customised products while the unique micro series is closer to handicraft than industrial production. Our products are a very interesting option for both types of clients due to our customisation and industrial production. In a nutshell, we offer customers exactly what they are looking for. They don't need to compromise."
They begin by helping the customer define their exact needs. Next Aste begins development and works with their clients to test and select the best ideas. When the solution is chosen, the company creates the product.
Aste puts great emphasis on the design of its coolers, seeing it as a way to not only differentiate themselves but even to gain a competitive advantage. They also strive to make their coolers as green as possible.
"The action of our company is based on sustainable development," Salonen explains. "To us, green values mean designing and producing products and services in a way that is helpful for the environment. We want a well-designed product that is long-lasting, maintenance free and energy efficient. The decreased need for maintenance decreases emissions and diminishes the carbon footprint."
Tekes has worked with Aste for a long time and Salonen is full of praise for the partnership. He says that thanks to Tekes they were able to make sure the cooler industry did not disappear from Finland.
"With Tekes we were able to create Aste as a real industrial player," he concludes. "Our future looks great. I think we are going to grow and develop our business as planned, and this will be a significant industry in Finland."
Text: David J. Cord