A Time for Growth: An Interview with the CEO of Element Group

The turbulent 2022 year is coming to an end. The current political and economic challenges have hit many companies and entrepreneurs around the world, but there are also businesses that have improved their economic performance and market positions during the turbulence. Despite the external circumstances, Element Group ends up with its growth and even more ambitious tasks. We talked to Marko Salmela, the CEO of Element Group, about changes that the company went through, what had changed for the better, and what are the plans for 2023.

Marko, Element Group has faced a few main changes this year concerning the restructurization of group of companies followed by the rebranding. How has the new branding been received?

— For us it was important to refresh the look and logo to represent our new identity while still paying respects to our history and reflecting our mission and values — a focus on helping customers both in the mining and aggregates on their way to optimize their operations, that is why we were really pleased to receive the first positive feedback from our customers regarding the updated visuals. Naming that is understandable for the target audience, up-to-date branding that stands out for simplicity, a wide product offer, and excellent service – this is exactly what customers expect and receive from us.

What achievements in business this year are you particularly proud of?

— Our greatest achievement as a company goes way beyond any single achievement this year. The resilience and drive of our organization matched with the customer’s trust shown this year is unbelievable. For us, rebranding became not just a change of the logo, it entailed significant changes in the content and processes of our company. We started the year as a group of companies and now we are ending year 2022 with the company that has redefined product offering, business processes and responsibilities, and a focus on Europe, Middle East, and Africa as our main market areas – all while having the largest growth during our company history.

What is the most successful case you can recall from this year?

— During past year, we have had many successful case stories on both pump and crusher parts, but one example truly stood out. One of our customers had a disturbing problem of not meeting their production targets when using crusher liners from previous suppliers. We were able to offer a new metallurgical solution which proved to outperform any previous products this customer had used before.

How would you characterize the current period for the company?

— This year has forced us and many other companies to rebuild our way of operating completely. Sometimes it may be difficult to see positive results after the disruptions caused by the political and economic instabilities; however, there is no doubt that the crisis has provided companies with a unique opportunity to rethink their activities in order to create a better offer. In our case, we have received a great outcome in terms of future capabilities and growth. Element is now being offered in over 50 countries and our brand is starting to be largely recognizable through the mining and aggregates industry in both pump and crusher parts.

Did you notice any changes in customers behavior this year?

— A worldwide economic downturn and, in particular, the increase of energy costs already started to lead to additional cost-cutting efforts in mining and metals industries, affecting both capex and operations. Our aim is to be the number 1 in the aftermarket field when it comes to quality per price ratio, and this is exactly what the market needs now and in the future years onwards.

Are there any development plans for 2023 and beyond? What are the prospects?

— We have established an ambitious plan for 2023! As our customer base continues to develop rapidly throughout the Europe, Middle East, and Africa we have started to see the need to bring our operations even closer to customers.

Do you have plans on expanding the network of partners and dealers in the upcoming year?

— This is something we do every day, and we are going to continue expanding our network next year as well

In what direction will the company develop its product lines?

— We have plans to widen our product portfolio next year to cover more brands and equipment models. The planned changes in the product offering will be of much relevance and importance especially to our customers from the mining industry.

What do you think will be the main challenges next year?

— To maintain the ability to adjust together with our customers in the constantly changing market indicators. While at the same time continuing to develop and renew towards the vision of being the market leader of wear and spare parts in our industry.