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Doing good while doing business – interview with our partner

Published on Thursday, 3rd of September 2015

Planmeca supports CMI’s efforts to resolve international conflicts. Companies cannot neglect what’s happening in the world, says founder Heikki Kyöstilä.

kyostila

Shiny white design and pastel-coloured devices catch your eye in the luminous room. These are not tablets or gadgets. What you see is cutting-edge Finnish dental technology in an Eastern Helsinki showroom. “We are not that known among average consumers,” admits Heikki Kyöstilä, president and founder of Planmeca. “With dental professionals around the world, it’s a different story. We’ve been around for quite a few years.”

44 years, to be exact. Now the Herttoniemi-based Planmeca is a global leader in health care technology relying heavily on export. As much as 98% of the products are exported to over 120 countries. “With figures like this we cannot neglect what is happening in the world,” Kyöstilä says. “Supporting CMI’s conflict resolution work is a very good and suitable choice for us. Long-term peacebuilding is also important for Finland’s image in the world.”

Responsible by heart

It was in 1971 when the young Kyöstilä saw a market opportunity for manufacturing dental equipment after doing business for German companies in the same field. The rest, as they say, is history. “It was all about hard work and an urge to put Finland on the map,” Kyöstilä, father of three sons, remembers. “However, 1000 Finnish marks as start-up capital – roughly 160 euros today – was nothing to boast about.”

The company quickly adopted a global sales approach and expanded its product range into patient chairs and dental units, and later on to 2D and 3D X-rays. “Corporate responsibility is embedded in our business,” Kyöstilä points out. “It feels good to wake up every morning to sell health care products.”

Conflicts affect business

The equipment and software find their ways also to unstable countries, such as Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and Libya, to name a few. “Violent conflicts and sanctions reflect on our business. For instance the current chaotic situation in Iraq has affected our sales in the market,” says Kyöstilä.

Donating to CMI’s peacebuilding efforts fits well with Planmeca’s business and values. “CMI is like a small Finnish export company,” Kyöstilä smiles. “Many bigger organisations have proved to be less efficient in your line of business.”

Planmeca is one of CMI’s corporate partners.

This story was first published as part of CMI’s annual report in May 2015. You can find the complete annual report here (pdf) or here (web version).