Kemira: Investments in product R&D doubled Kemira’s innovation sales
Seven years ago, global chemicals company Kemira made a major change to its strategy, deciding to focus on serving water-intensive industries in particular.
As one of the key measures in implementing this change, the company updated its product portfolio in line with its business model. To gain momentum, Kemira launched several research projects with the goal of increasing innovation sales as a share of the company's turnover.
"The research programmes have already resulted in globally new technologies," Juha Lindfors, Manager, Project coordination, R&D.
R&D results already show in the bottom line
The novelties in Kemira's product portfolio include new surface treatment agents for cardboard, used in high-end products such as champagne bottles and perfume packages. Kemira's research also led to another innovation: targeted biocides for the manufacture of paper and cardboards. These make it possible to keep milk cartons microbiologically clean in an environmentally friendlier manner than before.
Over the last two years, R&D results have also begun to impact on Kemira's turnover.
"The share of innovation sales of our total turnover has almost doubled from 5% in 2012 to 9%. Our total turnover has also increased," Lindfors says.
Networked cooperation provides businesses with expertise and growth opportunities
Kemira sought leading experts from research institutions and other companies to participate in the R&D. Tekes played a key role in this cooperation from the very beginning.
"Tekes has extensive biotech and cleantech networks and an understanding of what is going on in Finnish research. Cooperation has enabled us to assemble just the right experts in our research projects," Lindfors says.
Cooperation benefits everyone in the network. Kemira benefits from its cooperation partners' special expertise, while SMEs gain the international contacts a large enterprise can offer.
"Forming and maintaining networks is vital because change is difficult to predict in the world we now inhabit. Having the right partners is of key importance, particularly in high-risk projects that may translate into concrete results only after several years," Programme Manager Tuomas Lehtinen who acts as Kemira's key account manager at Tekes.
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