Entrepreneur Kimmo Tossavainen: “Entrepreneurship suits me naturally – I thrive on dreams and acting upon them”
While working in the machinery and paper industry, the idea of setting up his own business grew in Kimmo Tossavainen’s mind. At the early stages of his entrepreneurship, he learned from successes – and sometimes failures.
From thickets into fuel and energy
Discussion about the improved utilisation of the energy wood in Finnish forests started in 2007 as an effort to reduce the dependence on oil. The utilisation of domestic brushwood was seen as an interesting option: the utilisation of brushwood as fuel creates jobs and makes money circulate at a local level. This was the first incentive to develop a tree shear for harvesting energy wood.
– “Excavators have a hydraulic power source and I knew that a strong tree shear could be attached to an excavator. The excavator is strong enough to support the trunk, and it makes piling up the trunks easy.”
The product is particularly suitable for contractors and farmers whose tasks vary according to seasons. The tree shear enables them to expand their service portfolio and to utilise timber from their own forests locally.
The first tree shear was called Alfa. The development of guillotine-type shear proved to be challenging, but the Alfa tree shear was finally launched. It was a strong and heavy device.
In 2012, when JAK-Metalli Oy was founded, the direction was clear: the company would launch a lighter and durable, yet powerful tree shear that would not require constant repairs. Thanks to the durable and lightweight two-cylinder structure, the next shear was something exceptional. The new JAK tree shear was an instant success.
– “After this, we concentrated on developing mass production to enable us to provide a high-quality product at a reasonable price. I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the brilliant staff at JAK-Metalli Oy that proved invaluable in the process. Their effort in the development of high quality and efficient production methods was priceless. Without them, we would not be where we are today.
A solution for mowing grass and thickets
– “I was involved in building a flail-type mower already in 2006, but it required huge amounts of oil. It was also difficult to manoeuvre the excavator. To make matters worse, the mower threw stones and splinters around. Then I built a chain mower that also consumed huge amounts of energy, which also made it hazardous. At that time, I realised that the solution would be continuous scissors, but the idea was not refined into an invention yet.”
10 years later the idea of an attachment to various machines came up again, inspired by a cutting invention displayed at a trade fair.
– “It was a late night, and I was having coffee with a couple of friends when we had a lightbulb moment and invented the spiral cutting system. We ordered the parts immediately and built the first prototype of the cutter. After constantly refining prototypes, we launched the cutter onto the market. The feedback from users was instantly positive. We also received some ideas for development, which I’m very grateful of.
A new, patented cutter that utilised a spiral cutting system was developed as an alternative to chain mulchers and flail mowers. It cuts grass, thickets and hedges in a safer and far more energy-efficient manner.
Product development inspires
Kimmo is interested in product development simply because technology fascinates him.
– “I constantly explore issues related to mechanics, electricity and hydraulics. Machinery provides a sufficiently challenging environment for implementing ideas. I know the industry and the challenges in it, which makes them interesting for me to solve.”
A few customers have been involved in the development of the JAK products from the very beginning. Instead of guesswork, we have improved the features based on real-life experience and customer needs. Our products have been tested in actual working conditions, and their basic principle is to enable machinery contractors to make money out of their work.
– “It is extremely important to maintain good customer relationships. It is essential to listen to feedback and customers’ wishes carefully – indifference is simply not an option! After all, it is our customers who pay our wages.”