Pekka Kylmälahti started in Sammet's sales team

Mr Arto Savolainen. Photo: Sammet Dampers.

Primed for performance in China

As global competition intensifies, Sammet remains the leading supplier of dampers for marine scrubbers. It continues to invest in cutting edge technology and moved closer to the action in China. Sammet customers are welcome to visit the new Shanghai facility and see where their products come to life.

An innovation-led Chinese economy has intensified competition in the damper industry. Latest statistics show that over 90% of scrubber installations to ships now take place in either China or South Korea. For Sammet, maintaining its position as the leading supplier of dampers for marine scrubbers translates into continuous investment in cutting edge technology and being close to the action.

“Working with Chinese employees has challenged me to manage in ways which combine the best of Finnish and Chinese work cultures” – Mr Arto Savolainen

Welcome, Sammet Dampers (Shanghai) Co. Ltd which opened in late 2018. Production began in early 2019. The modern, state of the art facility has established the necessary infrastructure and networks needed to capitalise on Sammet’s existing reputation. Mr Arto Savolainen, the General Manager in Shanghai, has worked in China for almost 25 years. His vast experience with production projects, sourcing and quality control for Finnish companies in China makes Savolainen the perfect person to manage Sammet’s China team.

Finnish and Chinese cultures might seem worlds apart but good management knows no barriers. Managing international teams simply reinforces the fundamentals. “Communication skills, commitment to the work and the company, respecting others, trusting colleagues and being trustworthy are extremely important for managing teams”, says Savolainen. While working with Finnish employees quickly builds rapport and trust through common language, Savolainen cites the Chinese work ethic and reciprocal learning as creating strong bonds. “Working with Chinese employees has challenged me to manage in ways which combine the best of Finnish and Chinese work cultures”, reflects Savolainen. Chinese employees are fast learners and the team has quickly established effective working methods to ensure operations run smoothly. “High performance and reduced down-time are crucial to success”, explains Savolainen.

Factory workers

Sammet customers are encouraged to visit the Shanghai facility and see where their products come to life.

Sammet’s presence in China is relatively new, although Savolainen has already established close relationships with local government representatives. “Our Sammet way of working together and maintaining open communication is amenable to the Chinese way of working because it builds trust”, he says. Building trust has helped Sammet navigate the complex regulatory environment. “There is always a steady stream of new regulations we need to adhere to, which can be challenging”, admits Savolainen. Navigating tighter emission controls which come into effect on 1 January, 2020 is the biggest change for the marine industry but Savolainen says he enjoys the challenge of ensuring customers are compliant and satisfied with Sammet products.

The Sammet way of working closely with partners to fully understand customers’ specific needs transcends time and borders. For example, Sammet Finland’s quality and design team are always at hand. “Our Finnish specialists visit Sammet Shanghai frequently and we have a lot of face-to-face discussions”, says Savolainen. Regular teleconferences also keep the China and Finland teams informed of each other’s work. Teleconferences sometimes require longer days but the focus is always on getting the job done. “Everyone is a team player and ensures that nothing is left undone”, states Savolainen.

The primary beneficiaries of Sammet’s Shanghai facility are its customers. “We already produce very high-quality products so we are focused on greater efficiency and increased quality throughout the value chain”, shares Savolainen. Quality control supervisors are frequently onsite at suppliers’ facilities to monitor and provide feedback. Savolainen confides that he intends to employ more quality supervisors in China. To attract the best employees, Sammet has plans to improve its Shanghai facility which already provides a safe and pristine working environment devoid of harmful dust, dirt and smoke. “A superior facility requires superior working conditions. It is very important to us that we take care of our employees which means investing in work safety and comfort as priorities”, Savolainen says.

Sammet customers are encouraged to visit the Shanghai facility and see where their products come to life. “Customers can directly communicate with me and Sammet experts in production, logistic and quality control and trust that we are working to not just meet but exceed their expectations”, says Savolainen. If seeing is believing, then Sammet’s advanced, high-spec facility makes it clear why Sammet is primed for success in China. Customers can organise an onsite visit in Shanghai us by emailing