Champion Door made a big international leap in its business in 2011, when it decided to open its own office in France. The move was strategically well thought out, but we were also aware of the risk, says Pekka Hosio, CEO of Champion Door.
“We did a thorough market research on where our new office location would make the most sense to focus our new operation. The options were Russia or France, from which we chose France. Setting up a new office was a risk we wanted to take and in the long run this has been a profitable move.”
Gilles Flament is Champion Door’s Country Manager for France and Pierre-Antoine Codron is the Project Manager. The Technical Director of the company is a Frenchman, Baptiste de la Bouvrie.
Trust comes from locality and a common language
In France, the country manager is responsible for sales in France, and as well for Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands. In addition, the project manager and technical management is in France.
“Local functions are important in a project business where trust needs to be built with new customers from the start. When negotiating with people you know locally in your native language, the threshold for contact is lowered. In addition, it is easier to build a reliable network through local players that is responsible for maintenance, installation, and after-sales work within agreed response times,” says Hosio.
Hosio says that the recruitment was a great success. It became very clear to the management operating in Finland that a highly committed and competent personnel had been found in France.
“Our staff in France is very committed to our operations and ready to do a lot of work to achieve good service and quality. We appreciate the fact that we can be 100% sure that the work will be carried out as agreed. “
The right team, right markets and the right product
Gilles Flament, Country Manager for France, says that the success of Champion Door lies in the right people and know-how, a well-targeted market and exactly the right product at the right price. Accurate documentation, clear installation instructions and good post-installation follow-up complete the service package. It is easy for customers to make purchasing decisions when there is clear factual information and evidence about the functionality of the products. Finnish-French co-operation works excellently.
“I am really pleased with our cooperation. When we tell our customers that the products come from Finland, it tells them about quality. Finns take care of things until the end, and customers are never disappointed. We have received excellent feedback on Champion Door’s products and service,” says Flament.
Expertise in demanding projects can be found in France
Pierre-Antoine Codron, Champion Door’s French Project Manager, is usually responsible for managing the most demanding projects. The project manager is responsible for the planning and practical implementation of the entire project. Understanding and managing the different phases of a project is very important. Project sites are often located in extreme conditions, such areas as at the equator or north of the Arctic Circle. In addition, local legal obligations and culture and customs must always be taken into account on site. For this reason, accurate planning is key, and you still need to be prepared for surprises.
“Projects around the globe require not only technical expertise but also problem-solving skills, ‘big picture’ management and adaptation skills. In addition to his professional skills, a good project manager can be calm and still brave enough. When you are out in the world alone, you have to be able to make decisions even in unexpected situations,” Hosio says.