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© igor-stevanovic-dreamstime.com Electronics Production | August 07, 2013

'In repair you need to be fast'

Imagine not having to deal with customer returns, nor complaints or even the repair. Sounds kind of nice now, doesn't it? Well here we have Teledesign and Repair (TDR), a company who offers just that kind of service.
This is all a bit strange to me; complaints and costumer returns paint a picture of a company offering to take the heat for another company. Well, that's not really the case. We're not talking retail here, what TDR offers is the service to extend the life of your equipment.

I got the opportunity to talk to TDR's CEO, Tuomo Rekila. And I wanted to ask him about how the industry looks for a company that is on the other side of the spectrum – repairing rather than manufacturing.

The industry has been through some ups and downs for the last couple of years. How do you feel the industry is doing right now?

"Actually, I think it still seems to be having some real difficulties to recover. For the most part the industry is – from my point of view – pretty much down. There are some good signs too, but most of it has some difficulties."

Last year we saw a dip in almost every sector. How is 2013 treating TDR?

"For us, this year has actually been pretty good. We have been able to strengthen our position in existing markets, but we have also been able to tap into new markets. We also managed to secure new customer relationships. So from our point of view, it have been excellent and pretty much what we had planned and targeted so far. So I would say it has been a pretty good year for us."

Which are the new markets for you?

"Our strength has been – and where we have our roots – the telecom market, but we have been able to broaden our customer base in the Industrial market. And then we have also been able to get into the medical market, which I believe is very important for us."

Is medical and industrial something that you will push; as in telecom you already have a legacy?

"There is a big difference in needs in those markets. But if we are stepping into industrial and medical – of course in industrial the repair is very important – reverse engineering is getting more and more important."

"And also there is test and development and that is something we have been able to step into. Because, let's say that last year, everybody has been trying to get into a 'fully-automated everything' that's been so good and great, but somehow the good old semi-automated and manual has been forgotten. And there we have also a good solution, which helps the people who do not have such big volumes that you normally see in telecom and that has been a good market for us."

Looking at TDR's footprint. You are planning to venture out to Asia, but which region would you say is the most interesting?

"Of course we are very well established in Europe. But the region we are most interested in is of course the Far East. But it is not only Asia and China – we all know that in China you already already a lot of competition – but also India and Africa are very interesting regions for us."

Why do you consider a move to Asia now? Why not earlier? Why not later? As the Asian economy is really fluctuating and has been going down now for a while.

"Well, we have not made any final decisions. It is up to our customers and what they want. If they want to see us there, then we consider that option. It is pretty much based on that."

Ok, lets leave Asia for a bit. How do you see the competition? Especially in Europe?

"I suppose the competition is pretty tough. There are a lot of big companies, global companies that we cannot even compete against. We don't really need to either. But then there are a lot of smaller companies, so I would say the competition is tough."

So, in such a crowded segment, how do you separate yourselves from that competition?

"Well, we have several items that we use to separate our selves. We have reverse engineering and our quality standard is very high. Also, our turn-around times are a lot shorter than that of our competition. We have highly qualified engineers in our workforce, and the latter is the basis for all the previous points mentioned."

"Our repair process is such that no competition can give that at the moment. Of course we are still a small company, but we are flexible and we are really close to our customers. A good relationship with our customers is very important in our view."

Is it the customer relationships or the special knowhow that you have that helped you to stay atop?

"I think it is both. We are very close to our customers and we have very good relationships with all of them. And then we also have a proven track record when it comes to quality and turn-around times. I think it is a combination of all of that. And also that we can move really fast. Making decisions does not take long for us. If we have to change something we can move very quickly."

Has that always been a goal of yours? The quick turn around?

"Yeah. It has been, because somehow we have to separate ourselves from the big companies. They have the huge mass volume and we have the competence in knowledge and technology. So we have the better and faster turn-around times. I can even say that no one can compete with us on that score. Times as well as quality."

Will you be able to keep those fast turn-around times if you grow to be one of the bigger companies?

"[Pause] Yes. I am confident about that. [laugh] What else can i say."

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