Sako’s excellence and competitiveness are only possible if supported by a strong network of partners, says Mr. Heikki Taneli, Strategic Sourcing Manager for Sako Ltd’s rifle business. Sako’s network of companies has once again been given the opportunity to make its mark. The Covid-19 crisis has driven the sales of Europe’s largest rifle manufacturer up by several tens of percent. The export-driven market takes everything that can be manufactured.
– “Sako has traditionally relied on domestic suppliers for its manufacturing. During Covid-19, the significance of local sourcing has become more important. Local sourcing enables short delivery times and close supplier relations”, says Mr. Heikki Taneli, explaining the success factors behind Sako’s business.
Mr. Heikki Taneli joined Sako 7 years ago. In the early years, he worked as the Quality Manager of Sako’s rifle factory. For the last couple of years, he has been responsible for the strategic sourcing of its rifle business.
“The fine precision of firearms is the result of automation and human cooperation.”
Sako chooses its partners carefully. Development is only carried out with those who can be trusted. Mr. Taneli knows from experience that close relations with suppliers are also a way to reduce the risks. Partners need to understand the entire manufacturing chain. It is not enough for the product to correspond to the drawings – the quality requirement extends also to its visual appearance, and Sako’s experienced supplier partners know this without being told.
Sako’s products and parts are demanding to manufacture. The requirements of precision engineering are measured in hundredths and thousandths of a millimetre; we need Finland’s best precision engineering suppliers.
Sako has adopted the principle of building supplier partnerships for the long term. Its main values include trust, perseverance, transparency, and the development of solutions. According to Mr. Taneli, Oku is a suitable supplier for Sako in terms of expertise, company size, machinery, and equipment as well as its planned future investments.
The cooperation between Sako and Oku dates back to the 1980s. Oku manufactures various components for hunting products and gear, as well as dial comparators for its customers. The dial comparators used for quality assurance require special expertise.
– Our cooperation has been continuous since the beginning, even though there was a slight drop in turnover in between. Recently, activity in tenders and projects has increased again and we have worked together well on development to further improve the manufacturability of parts.
When assessing possibilities in manufacturing, there is cooperation between Sako and Oku across the organisation, from the design and procurement to the sales and methodological design. Mr. Heikki Taneli specifically highlights Oku’s excellent service spirit.
In 2021, Sako appeared repeatedly in the media, as the company celebrated its 100-year anniversary. The journey has been eventful and rich. The history of the company dates back to summer 1919 in the ordinance of the headquarters of the Civil Guard.
After the war, it was owned by the Finnish Red Cross. Instead of rifles, the production lines manufactured items such as lipstick tubes, weaving machines, shoe trees, and toilet lids.
The company has experienced many changes in ownership. Nokia’s predecessor, Suomen Kaapelitehdas Oy (Finnish Cable Factory Ltd), bought Sako in 1962. At the end of the decade, Kaapelitehdas and Sako were transferred to the ownership of the conglomerate of Nokia. In 1999 Nokia then sold its share of Sako to Metso. The very next year, Metso sold Sako to the Italian Beretta Group. Under Beretta’s ownership, Sako operates independently, exemplifying how well-managed foreign ownership can generate significant added value.
Sako’s headquarters and factory are in Riihimäki, Finland. It employs nearly 400 people. Sako’s turnover last year was EUR 130 million. Sako manufactured record-high numbers of almost 140,000 rifles and 16 million cartridges.
Mr. Taneli’s work as a Strategic Sourcing Manager is never-ending – there is an abundance of new products, the collection is evolving and being renewed, and customers constantly demand new items. Firearms are evolving technically in terms of materials, reliability, and manageability. Optics and digitalization are part of the scene today. One current trend is that firearms are getting lighter. The fine precision of firearms is the result of automation and human cooperation.