Back in 1996, a 25 year old Sakari Kuikka came to Singapore to get his internship with Finpro. His time in Singapore would have been quite impressive that making him to decide to stay in Asia. After some changes within Finpro Jakarta in 2001 Kuikka has moved to Shanghai to work for GWS Systems, a Finnish industrial workstations supplier.
In 2006, it was time for him to be in Indonesia, this time Kuikka was not just the new kid in town but the one that establishing the PT FlexLink Systems where he is the energetic managing director of the company.
Kuikka says that the newly found company requires the experienced person who familiar with cultural and language skills to shorten the learning curve of a manager. Moreover, he was driven by thirst of success to show off his of managing capability in Asia then he took the lead.
“Anyway, my successor, after some more years, may be somebody without Indonesian or even Asian business experience as by that time we already have created needed systems in place,” he adds.
The company’s business area is about providing easy automation solutions for several industries dealing with light weight products, ideally less than 15 kg. PT FlexLink Systems offers automation solutions for the industry in four different processes: Filling, packaging, machining and assembly, says Kuikka. When asked that is his company superior to the competitors he replied that:
“Our company is one of the world leading companies in our business field. We are an engineering driven company, aiming to improve our clients’ processes by using FlexLink solutions. We are truly international company capable of serving our international clients worldwide. We have been in this business over 26 years thus we have excellent knowledge of our clients’ production processes – so it is not only the engineering and products but we do understand our clients’ needs.”
“In Indonesia, our focus will be in the food and beverage industry. Also tobacco, pharmaceuticals, paper converting and automotive industries offer great potential for us in Indonesia,” continues Kuikka whom his mother company FlexLink Systems employs over 500 staffs in 23 countries.
“Our presence in Asia Pacific is quite impressive for our size of a company. China, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, India and now Indonesia – Asia Pacific head office is in Singapore,” Kuikka notes in a satisfied tone.
When it turns to his private life, without a second thought, Kuikka says that he love Asia.
“I enjoy my life together with my wife here in Indonesia. She is Shanghainese whom I met when I worked in Shanghai. Our two person family has home base at both in Finland and in Shanghai. Considering myself quite international as my name sounds like Japanese, I am married with a Chinese, always a Finn in my deep heart and working for Swedish company in Indonesia,” he jokes.
Kuikka continues that Indonesia provides good environment for many leisure activities.
“Diving and golf to be mentioned first. I plan to start golf together with my wife. Both of us are still beginners but golf is a great way to spend time outside of the city. Swimming, gym and playing the piano are other ways to relax.”
“For the Finnish community here, I was presenting myself through Indonesia Finland Business Council and some private friends. I am also active in Swedish and European business communities as they provide excellent platforms for networking – for both private and business purposes. I am looking to take part in the Chinese community in Jakarta as well.”
Then apparently obvious that his life in Indonesia is easy and joyous it was even more comfortable to the Finn when he able to speak some Bahasa Indonesia, Kuikka beams.
For the new comer Kuikka who was about two-three times a year visited his homeland suggested that:
“When you are really energetic person with full drive and thirst for success, you should slow down your speed and expectations to the level of local business environment. By doing that you will achieve more and sleep better. Indonesia is a bit of a slow country with regards of doing business – however, we as foreigners can not change local habits but we have to adjust our own habits accordingly. You don’t have to change your own principles but just little adjusts to the surrounding environment.”
Be patient but stay focused, he adds.
Text by Finn Biz magazine