Better Pipe develops a range of ventilation-related services. Thinking from outside the box is part of the company’s operating culture.
Many business ideas have their origins in a practical problem. So it was with Better Pipe. Six years ago, Mikko Niskanen thought about it at a worksite how difficult and slow it is to insulate pipes on site.
At that time, wall elements were made of urethane in Haapajärvi, and the material is known as good insulation. The idea arose to use it with air conditioning pipes as well.
“No one had done anything similar yet, and no ready-made methods were available. Many years of work were required to develop them,” says CEO Antti Nevalainen.
At the same time, Better Pipe Finland Oy’s business idea was refined, which is to manufacture factory-insulated ventilation ducts and parts and deliver them as finished pieces to the construction site. The method reduces the installation time of ventilation pipes by up to half of the usual time.
In recent years, development work has borne fruit, and the company’s turnover has grown 30 percent a year. The company currently has 15 employees and the need for recruitment is always a current issue.
Better Pipe’s customers are mainly HVAC installers, house factories and construction companies. The most significant use is in the construction of new detached houses.
“At the moment, we deliver 1,900 units to detached house properties annually, which is a significant part of all construction. The market is now favorable, as detached house construction is growing due to the corona pandemic,” Nevalainen says.
Service is in a key position
Nevalainen became the CEO in 2015. At that time, Better Pipe’s business idea was still in the pilot phase.
“The first goal was to balance the budget and increase market share on the detached house sector. We brought in outside people to bring in expertise, and they are still involved in the company’s operations.”
It is not easy to challenge prevailing practices in the construction industry. It became clear to the entrepreneurs that a good product and know-how alone is not enough. Therefore, the service also had to be developed.
“We also take care of the calculation process and logistics on behalf of the customer, ie we deliver the right amount of the right kind of product to the construction site at the agreed on time. This saves the customer’s working time at all stages,” Nevalainen says.
The company developed its own software that serves the entire production chain from design to installation. As in other stages of development, the know-how found within the company was utilized here as well.
According to Nevalainen, Better Pipe is a specialty in the construction industry in the sense that its managers have a background in other industries.
“That is one of the reasons why it has been easy for us to start working in a new way. The staff is a young crew who can think from outside the box. The background driving forces, on the other hand, bring technical and production know-how.”
Reaching out for new markets
In the future, Better Pipe’s goal is to expand the products to the apartment market and continue to internationalize, especially in the Nordic countries. There are also plans to expand the range of ventilation-related services. Nevalainen emphasizes that instead of acting as a subcontractor, the company wants to offer professionals and homeowners a complete package of products, service and maintenance.
“The utilization of information and digitalisation in this field also offers many opportunities to develop the service for the benefit of the resident.”
Along the way, the company has also utilized external development partners. Manufacturing methods have been refined with the help of a development grant from the Ely Center, and sales training has been received through NIHAK’s Sales is a King project.
“NIHAK has kept us up-to-date very well, and the completed training packages are a good concept for companies. In general, we are positive about education and want to employ good professionals. We have also had students and on-the-job learners from a local educational institution, Nevalainen says.