CASE | OCTOBER 18, 2022

VAK Oy values joint commitment as the basis of cooperation: "We have received proactive and individual service"

VAK Oy's gigantic LONG categorized trailer combinations can swallow FinnProfiles sealings up to hundreds of meters.

Driving towards Vahto in the middle of a genuine Finnish rural idyll, it’s hard to imagine that anything particularly big or economically significant would appear any time soon. As the journey continues winding, surrounded by fields and tree lines, you might even forget where you were heading.

When you arrive at Vahto, you quickly realize you are wrong because VAK Oy’s transport equipment factory is the first thing you encounter in the municipality. It is the largest employer in the region and, therefore, also crucial for the region’s economy.

The yard itself parades numerous trailers and other heavy-duty trailer solutions. The company has manufactured more than 20,000 transport units during its 50 years of history.

VAK’s Design and Product Development Manager Juuso Laine, Purchasers Terhi Rapo and Jocka Kostiander are at the office and have promised to talk about the company’s operations and their experiences with FinnProfiles.

“By the way, did you know that this factory used to be located in the middle of the road you drove here? It went through the yard, and we had production halls on both sides. Taking ordinary passing traffic into account was then part of our internal logistics,” Laine begins.

The aerial photograph in the office lobby proves that it’s all true that Laine says. However, the buildings were not moved, but the road was.

The VAK Group has grown very strongly in the last ten years, reaching a turnover of more than 80 million euros and more than 500 employees. This partly explains why the company has physically expanded in all possible directions. In fact, the company has had strong growth and technological development period during the entire millennium.

“You can imagine what kind of transition we have gone through since our turnover was still around 30 million euros in 2010,” Laine continues.

On the other hand, the scale of the company’s development curve becomes almost absurd when you hear that it all begins with one man’s decision to start manufacturing trailer bodies for local men one by one.

Trailer #1

Customizable transport solutions as a competitive advantage

The VAK Group has long been one of the most important manufacturers of transport equipment in the Nordic countries, especially if we are talking about insulated cargo spaces, i.e., the transport of refrigerated and frozen goods.

Furthermore, VAK is the only manufacturer of heavy-duty transport equipment with its extensive service network in Finland. Additionally, the group has sales and service offices in Sweden and its own sales company in Norway.

The company’s forerunner status was sealed when one of the industry’s most significant legislative changes came into effect in Finland.

At the beginning of 2019, a law increased the maximum permitted length of combination trucks from 25.25 meters to 34.50 meters.

“We prepared in good time for the change in design and production perspective and therefore got an excellent start. We were able to manufacture new, longer trailer solutions on the line practically as soon as the new law came into force, and competitors are bringing their products to the market only now,” Laine says.

All in all, VAK’s product offering is quite extensive. With customized dimensions, e.g., trailers and semi-trailers, transport bodies, demountable bodies and mid-axle trailers, and hooklift equipment. Moreover, the customer can ultimately determine the equipment of the products.

Trailers with intermediate loading space are an excellent example of possible structural customization in addition to trailer length. On the other hand, V-Slider is a transport unit solution that deserves special mention.

“The unique feature of the V-Slider is that the container on top of the platform is moved with the help of hydraulics, which is much better suited to winter conditions than a traditional sliding chassis structure. V-Slider is the result of our own product development,” Laine points out.

“When the conditions are extreme, it is -20 degrees Celsius inside the trailer, and it’s 40 degrees outside in the hot weather.”

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Sealings are an essential part of the overall quality of the transport trailer

Depending on the size class, up to two hundred meters of door seal may be used in a single trailer. In addition, sealings are needed on the edges of the tail end and possibly the opening side wall.

The importance of sealings is well demonstrated by the trailers made for refrigerated transport. When the conditions are extreme, it is -20 degrees Celsius inside the trailer, and it is 40 degrees outside in the hot weather. In such a situation, there must be no air leakage so that the cold chain remains unbroken.

That’s why the seals used by VAK are very precisely dimensioned, and their functionality ultimately determines how well, for example, a refrigerated transport trailer performs its task.

“I have the impression that FinnProfiles is a company that takes its own quality very seriously, which is a very respectable feature.”

Terhi Rapo, VAK Oy’s Purchaser

Accurate dimensioning
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Excellent customer service and strong commitment

Everyone knows there have been availability problems with many components ever since the COVID-19 pandemic took over the world. From the procurement point of view, this means that stock rotation and its management have become more and more crucial.

However, FinnProfiles has managed to maintain its reputation as a reliable supplier. According to Rapo, this is due to the excellent customer service received by VAK.

“We feel that we have received proactive and individual service. In practice, this means that our special wishes have been listened to and taken into account as far as possible. When cooperation is developed in a way that considers the interests of both parties, it has a strong basis, Rapo reflects.

She sees that the cooperation has progressed to the point that shows a strong commitment from both parties.

“We have a strong feeling that if the sealings runs out of stock for some reason, FinnProfiles will be able to deliver it to us promptly. Therefore, we have one less thing to worry about in procurement, Rapo says with a smile.

According to her, the quality aspect of the sealings also works brilliantly with FinnProfiles.

“If there has ever been a problem, it has been effortless and quick to go through with them. At least, I have the impression that FinnProfiles is a company that takes its own quality very seriously, which is a very respectable feature.

“FinnProfiles has a very strong desire to accept challenges and develop their sealings.”

Juuso Laine, VAK Oy’s Design and Product Development Manager

Daring development work

VAK’s design department is also satisfied with the cooperation with FinnProfiles. The importance of a working sealing partner always stands out when a new structure that needs to be sealed appears on the desk.

“We usually sketch the sealing profiles ourselves, but after that, we go over the plan with FinnProfiles’ sales and design, and they always have some ideas that make the solution even better,” Laine says.

According to Laine, the threshold for contacting FinnProfiles is low. A long shared history partly supports this.

“They know our products and the related requirements. For this reason, new projects start swiftly, and on the other hand, we get the sealings quickly in a production state.”

In addition, Laine emphasizes FinnProfiles’ open-minded attitude to developing sealings. For example, he raised the wish of VAK’s product development to start using the same sealing in two completely different objects, which was very challenging, if not impossible.

“It wasn’t easy, but they did pull it off. I have to admit that FinnProfiles has a very strong desire to accept challenges and develop their sealings. I guess you can’t expect much more from your sealing partner,” Laine summarizes.