Being customer-oriented made Puume an international company

Pertti Mattila, Shop Fittings Sr. Advisor, is the most tenured employee at Puume.  He warmly recalls the days at Metateline, but also holds a vision of an innovative and international future for Puume. According to Mattila, Puume has transformed from an industrial manufacturing company to a comprehensive service provider.

Mattila began his career at Puume in 2005. The company still operated under the name Metateline and its operational model was production-oriented. At the time, it employed 52 people. At Metateline, Mattila’s diverse skills were seen as an asset, so he served as either an account or project manager right from the start.

– Metateline was a growing company of the appropriate size, so I was quickly able to influence how things were done. I brought a few accounts with me to the company, in addition to know-how on building retail environments and shop fittings. Due to my extensive experience, I also knew what customers usually want from companies in our industry, Mattila reflects.

At the time, the largest projects at Metateline was the store refresh of the Aleksi 13 clothing store and launching operations in Russia. Mattila played a central role in both.

– Some of our customers wished and even demanded that we could deliver to Russia. This resulted in me being able to develop our Russian office and establish relationships for business in Russia. Our business with Russia started off well, but stalled with the 2014 economic sanctions.

We listen to our customers

As manufacturing was outsourced, understanding our customers and being customer-oriented became the centre of our operations. They were based on a solution-oriented work approach: if a suitable option was not available in the service catalogue, a suitable service model was created for the customer.

– I learned already as a teacher and entrepreneur that there is not just one, three or seven ways to do something. There can be numerous operational and work methods, but the essential thing is to select the one that is the right solution for the specific matter at hand. It is important to see the issues comprehensively and with a forward-looking approach and not offer the same cookie-cutter solution to everyone.

Mattila has emphasised to his colleagues that customers should never be undermined. Small customers may one day become successful growth companies.

– Working with customers requires patience and perseverance to turn a difficult matter into a win. Problems tend to resolve when their root cause is determined. I think it is great that our customers dare to challenge us. It helps us grow as both employees and as a company.

The goal of managed growth

Growing the business has been one of Puume’s top goals since the early 1990s. The foundation of the growth is based on acquiring good professionals and partners.

– Especially after the brand refresh implemented in 2010, we have become a desired place to work and a valued partner. We have recruited skilful people who perform their work with the right attitude. Similarly, our sub-contractor network consists of reliable companies that are easy to work with.

The cooperation with Red Compass, a member of the Group, provided Puume with the ability to offer the One Stop service entity, which allows the customer to receive everything as a turnkey service ranging from design to implementation. The service has attracted a lot of attention especially among international chains.

In the current market conditions, it makes sense to expand abroad. In the 2010s, we quickly grew into a Scandinavian company through large customers and our more comprehensive internationalisation is already occurring organically. Quick personnel development challenges our resources, so we aim to manage our growth, Mattila notes.

Experience showroom

Mattila envisions that Puume’s service model and the trends of the industry will become more digital in the next five years. He seeks inspiration from abroad from international chains. An interesting department store, for example, is Harrods in London, which utilises solutions that adapt quickly to modern challenges.

– We will be developing our webstore to make it potentially our most important sales channel in the future. We still have a lot of work to be done there, but also have a lot of ideas on how to modernise the retail industry. Stores are increasingly becoming more like showrooms where people go to test or try on products. Similarly, according to Mattila, shopping centres will increasingly emphasise entertainment aspects: people will spend more time in them and enjoy comprehensive experiences. In addition, café and restaurant services will play a more central role also in the Puume service offering.