Framery: Finnish soundproof office space solutions increase work efficiency all over the world

Office phone booths, made of Finnish wood, are the hot new commodity. Framery’s growth figures are impressive, and the company relies on design and digitalisation for maintaining its competitive edge.

"Too much noise!"

This is what Samu Hällfors and Vesa-Matti Marjamäki thought in 2010, when they were listening to their manager at an IT firm talking loudly on the phone. The duo suggested the manager take his calls somewhere else, to which he replied that a phone booth would be handy. Thus was conceived the idea for a company that, over the years, has proved a great success story.

Tampere-based Framery was established that same year. The company's business idea is to solve noise problems in open-plan and activity-based offices. Eliminating noise issues increases happiness and enjoyment in the workplace. This is achieved through soundproof workspace solutions, such as office phone booths.

"Thanks to Framery, people working in open-space and activity-based offices can concentrate on their work without disturbing others, and, when necessary, move to a space where others cannot disturb them. This increases enjoyment and productivity in the workplace," explains Framery's CEO Samu Hällfors.

"Studies show that the noise levels in an open-plan office can reduce work productivity considerably: 10 per cent on average, and, in some cases, up to 35 to 50 per cent. It is estimated that an office worker's concentration is disrupted every 11 minutes, and it can take up to 25 minutes to regain focus on the task at hand."

Customers include top companies

Framery's customers include some of the world's largest and most successful companies, such as Microsoft, SAP, Deloitte and PWC. They value Framery's products, which are made from high-quality raw materials and offer unparalleled soundproofing. Awarded for innovation and design, the products are sure to please the most discerning eye.

The main raw material of the booths is Finnish birch plywood. The parts arrive to the Tampere factory mainly from Finland and Northern Europe. In Finland, the components are assembled, packed and sent to end-customers all over the world.

As with all new companies, Framery started small. Initially, the market was non-existent.

"We've learned everything by doing. We sold our first products in Finland, and continued developing the product range. Soon, we were creating tailor-made solutions for customers. In 2013, our product range comprised of 14 different products and hundreds of variations. We were forced to make the radical decision to kill all the other products, but the best. This had a positive impact on growth, and, in 2016, our Tampere factory produced some 1,000 booths. Right from the start, Framery set its sights on international expansion. This has been achieved through making the rounds of trade fairs and attending events all over the world. This year, we expanded to the US with the opening of a new logistics centre," says Hällfors.

Amazing growth rate

The rise in Framery's turnover is astounding. In 2015, the company's turnover increased from €1.3 million to €5.1 million. In 2016, turnover went through the roof, amounting to €18 million, and the target turnover for this year is €40 million.

"Within the next three years, our goal is to reach a turnover of €200 million. In the beginning of 2017, the number of employees was slightly over 70. As the year draws to a close, the number has increased to around 200."

These kinds of figures cannot be achieved without extensive digitalisation of processes.

"Digitalisation has been a necessity. We can now closely monitor the production process at our Tampere factory. This allows us to develop the factory and make it more efficient. Within logistics, all work orders are now received through a mobile solution. We can seamlessly connect with our distributors around the world, which is critically important to us. We receive real-time information on what is needed and where, the inventory, as well as sales forecasts. Internal work has become more efficient thanks to electronic tools, such as a file-sharing and ordering systems. Our product development process has improved considerably with the new measuring instruments and methods. Understanding digitalisation is vital for maintaining a competitive advantage," Samu Hällfors explains.

International expansion boosted by Tekes funding and support

According to the CEO, Tekes support has been significant for building international competitiveness.

"Tekes funding has helped Framery immensely in getting our innovations and product development solutions off the ground. Later on, the funding services have contributed greatly to our international growth, as we've been able to develop a strong global sales organisation. The funding has also allowed us to concentrate on planning and building our scalability and international operations. The Global Access Program, a joint initiative of Tekes and UCLA, has been indispensable for entering the US market. All this support has fuelled our success."

Hällfors has a clear vision of an ideal work environment.

"Workspaces of the future are suitable and adaptable for different work methods and tasks. The work environment inspires creative work, improves concentration and enables cooperation. Static workspaces, meant only for the performance of tasks, will be a thing of the past."

On November 2nd, Framery received the 2017 Internationalisation Award of the President of the Republic of Finland, in the startups category.

For further information, please contact

Samu Hällfors
Framery
Tel. +358 50 517 5818
samu.hallfors (at) frameryacoustics.com

www.frameryacoustics.com

Photos: Framery

Kaj Nordgren