Interview with Jari Airola, Senior Vice President, Building Insulation, Paroc Group
Over the course of his professional career, Jari Airola gained extensive experience in business management, international sales management and business development on various senior management positions in global industrial companies. Mr. Airola joined Paroc from Huntsman Pigments and Additives where he served as Global Business Unit Director. Earlier, he held different leadership positions in chemical industry companies such as Sachtleben Chemie and Kemira Pigments. – Jari brings to Paroc his considerable experience in management of international sales and value creation experience in sales work – says Kari Lehtinen, Paroc Group CEO.
Mr. Airola considering your strong professional background in the chemical industry, you are clearly more than familiar with industry-oriented markets. What kind of experience are you bringing in and how will this experience contribute to your new position at Paroc?
There are many examples of industries, where products are considered commodities. If you look deeper in the value chain you can identify a variety of reasons why your customers choose your products over the competition. You find ways to differentiate yourself and create value to your customers. Insulation market is no different. It is important to work together with your customers, know their products, applications, production processes and finally – understand their business. With true customer focus, an innovative mindset and the right people, it is amazing what you can achieve!
Paroc has developed a strong market presence in the Nordic and Baltic regions, and has – over the years – expanded in Central and Eastern Europe as well. What are, in your opinion, the biggest strengths of the company?
Paroc enjoys a good reputation in the marketplace and is recognised as a solid and reliable partner, supported by a strong portfolio of high quality products. In Paroc I also recognize a culture of continuous improvement, which in my mind, is necessary to develop the company in the long run.
Considering its successful history, Paroc has obviously managed to build close relationships to its business partners. Who are your customers apart from the "classical dealer business" and how do you evaluate such cooperation? What is the strategy that Paroc follows in order to maintain or improve the contact?
Our dealer and distributor network is naturally very important for us. These are partners that complement our own sales organization. In addition to these partners, we work closely with construction companies, house manufacturers, element producers and a wide range of other construction market participants. Additionally, we must not forget a very important customer segment – influencers, such as architects, as well as engineering and planning companies, which play a critical role in designing and planning buildings and houses. They determine many important parameters in a building, such as fire safety and energy efficiency.
We aim to work closely with our customers. We are eager to share our knowledge and expertise in order to develop their business. There are many ways to further improve the contact, and I think digitalization, for instance, will provide new ways of working together.
What are the current goals that Paroc Building Insulation is focused on? In the past years, Paroc has extended its activities especially in Central Europe – can you already draw a positive résumé?
We are looking forward to further deepening the cooperation with our current customer base, as well as gaining new ones and to grow together.
We will continue to improve our offering and focus on our customers. Our activities, and Paroc in general, have been well received also in Central Europe. For this I would very much like to thank our customers and partners, and look forward to future collaboration.
What are the main challenges insulation companies are facing in the coming years? How do you evaluate the competitiveness of stone wool products for building insulation compared to other insulation materials?
I believe the industry needs to maintain its firm focus on sustainability and contributing to overall energy efficiency. This is a field where insulation has still a lot in store for the construction market as a whole. Stone wool will continue to serve as a very efficient and environmentally friendly option in insulations, contributing – among other things – to fire safety in buildings.
Paroc is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of energy-efficient insulation solutions for new and renovated buildings, marine and offshore, acoustics and other industrial applications. Throughout its over 75-year history, the Finnish supplier has built a reputation for innovation, product performance, technical expertise and sustainability. Paroc aims to remain an innovative and trusted partner for a sustainable built environment.
Paroc employs around 2,020 people in its production plants in Finland, Sweden, Lithuania and Poland and Russia and in sales offices in 14 European countries.