A Recipe for a Growth Company: A Convenient Mix of Systematics and Creativity
On 2 November 2017, the Chairman of the Board, Jari Osmala (right), Member of the Board Teo-Tuomas Hirvonen, observer Joni Karsikas from Tesi (Finnish Industry Investment Ltd), Member of the Board Vesa Lehtinen, CEO Ossi Parviainen, Member of the Board Eetu Koski and Finance Director Kirsi Pohjolainen (behind the camera) were present at the meeting of the Board.
Eetu Koski and Teo-Tuomas Hirvonen started as new Members of the Board, and their expertise has now been harnessed to develop NewIcon’s business.
Jari Osmala, Chairman of the Board since 2012, trusts his new team that also includes Vesa Lehtinen as an existing member. The first few meetings have proven that communication between the Members of the Board works in a fruitful manner. Clear goals direct the Board’s operations.
“Eetu and Teo-Tuomas have participated in the development of practices that have boosted our international sales. Their special expertise has already created additional value to NewIcon,” Mr Osmala states.
Five years ago, Mr Osmala started as a Member of the Board at NewIcon as he realised that the megatrends of digitalisation and robotics were gaining in importance in medical services all around the world. NewIcon had specialised in pharmaceutical automation at the best possible moment.
“I believe this is also the reason why our Members of the Board and the new shareholders from the crowdfunding rounds have decided to participate in the further development of NewIcon as a company. Etera Mutual Pension Insurance Company and Tesi (Finnish Industry Investment Ltd) already invested in 2014. We have all recognised the potential for international growth,” Mr Osmala believes.
In a public issue of new shares, NewIcon managed to collect a total of nearly 4.4 million euros, which is believed to be the largest sum ever collected in Finland using crowdfunding. As a result of the public issue, the company now has nearly 300 new shareholders.
“I also made an additional investment in the crowdfunding round. A number of healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs also invested. This proves the credibility of NewIcon’s story,” Mr Osmala says.
According to Mr Osmala, managing growth requires a convenient mix of systematics and innovation. An appropriate measure of systematics supports creativity.
“We have a huge amount of innovation in our company and it only needs to be directed forward in appropriate steps,” Mr Osmala explains.
The CEO Ossi Parviainen has described the role of the Board as one that ‘brings some order to the boys’ club at NewIcon.’ Over the course of years, we have developed both the work the Board does, the management system and the organisation of the work.
The implementation of the quality system in 2013 is a tangible example of a significant investment that has introduced a more systematic approach to the operations of the company. In early 2017, a comprehensive ERP system with all of NewIcon’s core operations integrated into it was implemented. The implementation of the systems was scheduled to support rapid growth and internationalisation.
“All organisations are constantly short of resources, which means that you have to be able to allocate the available resources to what is most critical in terms of the growth and development of the company. You cannot do everything at the same time and you have to prioritise. You need a good strategy, functioning resources and balanced finances,” Mr Osmala advises.
A typical issue that causes indecision in companies is the next market area to concentrate on. NewIcon, on the other hand, has clear plans.
“We have already penetrated the Russian, Israeli, Iranian and Danish markets where we have been able to generate new sales, thanks to local references. Next, we are expecting to hear about decisions from France and the UK. China presents great opportunities,” Mr Osmala adds.
Careful preparations for an international breakthrough in different markets have been going on for a couple of years already, because decision-making on investments often takes time in hospitals in particular. Networking and sales require persistence and do not bring any quick wins. To shorten the sales cycle, NewIcon wanted to have experts in international sales in the Board of Directors, and found Eetu Koski and Teo-Tuomas Hirvonen to fill these roles.
“The length of the sales cycle is the only surprise that I have encountered during the years that I have been a member of the Board. However, our commercial status is better than it looks on the financial statements. It looks like our investments in the development of our processes and new products as well as international sales are finally beginning to generate cash flow. We expect significant growth next year,” says Mr Osmala.