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Interview with Mikko Uhari, Executive Vice President, Industrial Equipment, Konecranes

Interview with Mikko Uhari, Executive Vice President, Industrial Equipment, Konecranes

By Loh Mei Huang, Regional Marketing Manager, MHE-Demag

MHE-Demag is a Joint Venture between Demag Cranes and Components Gmbh and Jebsen & Jessen. One of the pillars in the MHE-Demag portfolio is the Demag products. Demag Cranes and Components Gmbh, originally owned by Terex Corporation, has recently been acquired by Konecranes. Both Demag and Konecranes have been recognised as leading suppliers in the industry for years, so this new ownership actually opens up huges opportunities for both parties. On this topic, Loh got in contact with Mikko Uhari, Executive Vice President of Konecranes, who is also responsible for the Konecranes Industrial Equipment business, to hear his view on the future.


Loh:          Mikko, could you please tell us a little background about yourself?

Uhari:        I started my career in KONE Corporation’s Wood Handling division and held various managerial positions in Finland, Sweden and in the USA from 1982 to 1997; the division was acquired by Andritz in 1996, and my last position with them was Group Vice President, Marketing, before I moved on to join Konecranes Corporation in year 1997 as President, Harbour and Shipyard Cranes. I was lucky to have the opportunity to assume different roles in the Group, with my latest being Executive Vice President, putting me in charge of our Business Area Industrial Equipment which includes all our industrial cranes and components.

Loh:           You have approximately 20 years’ experience in this industry. What are the biggest changes or improvements you have observed over two long decades?

Uhari:        Well, I have to say that the crane industry has become more demanding. We can no longer operate like the way we did decades ago.  For instance, B2B is approaching B2C in many aspects. Businesses and consumers expect the best from us, competitive pricing, wide service network, fast response time and digital services, preferably personalised! Yes, all-in-one! Thanks to the fast moving technology and internet, we are today already able to assess the status of our customer’s equipment remotely, analyse its performance and provide relevant services, which leads to lesser downtime and faster repairs.

Loh:           Before Konecranes’ acquisition of Terex Corporation’s Material Handling & Port Solutions (MHPS) segment, what was your perception of the Demag brand?

Uhari:        Demag is one of the strongest and oldest brands in the cranes and components industry with over a century's history, and it's continuously growing stronger. Quality, durability, innovation, customized solutions and engineering expertise are some of the values which are prominent in the Demag brand. Well, clearly that is one of the many rationales behind the acquisition.

Loh:           Will the acquisition affect the business direction and operation aspects of Demag or MHE-Demag?

Uhari:        We want to continue growing Demag both as a brand and a business. This includes maintaining and further developing all its excellent merits. Regarding MHE-Demag, it is the leading crane manufacturer in Southeast Asia. It is trusted by customers, and we definitely want the strategy and portfolio of MHE-Demag to continue as they were before. Existing and new customers will continue to be excellently serviced. Konecranes is supporting the joint venture fully and is expecting MHE-Demag to grow its business even further while at the same time expanding its Industrial Products and Service offerings. In cranes and components, Demag products will remain our core offerings.

Loh:           Continuing from the previous question, how will the acquisition benefit MHE-Demag in the future?

Uhari:        As mentioned earlier, MHE-Demag will operate as before, ensuring continuous development of its service to customers and keeping its aim at service excellence. The Konecranes acquisition will benefit MHE-Demag and its customers in the longer term through even stronger technology development. While MHE-Demag will remain the exclusive distributor of Demag products in the region, Demag and Konecranes will join forces in research and technology development. Obviously, both of these leading brands will utilize the outcome of the innovations and development independently in their products and operations, but through sharing knowledge via joint technology development, we believe we can find solutions which improve safety and productivity for our customers. Together, we would possess more resources for R&D, which is great for the Konecranes group because ultimately, we are a technology company for the lifting industry.

Loh:           Well, the future sounds bright and optimistic. I am sure people would love to hear more from you. Is there a plan to visit our region soon?

Uhari:        Yes, I travel quite regularly to Asia to meet customers and to discuss development opportunities with local operators. The next visit to Asia is actually in March, and to Southeast Asia later in April.

Loh:           Thank you for accepting our interview. Look forward to seeing you soon.

Uhari:         My pleasure. Work safe. Have fun!