HUB logistics has on a long-term basis developed its logistics service concept for 30 years. The story of HUB logistics began in 1992, at a time when ISO9000-quality systems first arrived in Finland. Aarno Törmälä, Founder of HUB logistics, got a chance to educate himself to an accredited educator of quality systems. He founded the company with the hope of offering education and consultation on quality systems to various logistics service companies. In the late 90’s Törmälä had an opportunity to participate in planning outsourcing of internal logistics. This project eventually offered HUB a chance to take over outsourcing internal logistics and it became the first internal logistics takeover for HUB logistics.
Education and consultation to quality systems gave a good insight to the state of logistics in Finland. Törmälä realized that there was a great potential in developing logistics and offering overall logistics services within Finnish markets.
– In the early stages of my career I got an opportunity to have a look into processes and services in several companies and I did see a good variety of different kinds of concepts and procedures. There was lack of efficiency in packing and shipping what it comes to processes, work equipment and tools. For example, waybills were still written by hand in some companies even though it would have been possible to handle with information technology of that time. Digital development in logistics started already at the time, Törmälä reminisces the 1990’s.
It was at the very early stage, when Törmälä figured that HUB can offer additional value to customers, who have more demanding processes than just basic warehousing or terminal functions. These kinds of customers were, for instance, companies in manufacturing industry, which had a growing need to develop their own processes. HUB started to offer a service to take overall responsibility for customer’s logistics.
– 1990’s was the beginning of outsourcing. There were some warehousing services and smaller staff leasing companies available. Companies also started to give up their own transport equipment. Our business also started from forwarding, but in many cases, it was closer to staff leasing. In the background, there was this idea of overall logistics service. Our interest was elsewhere than just freight forwarding and this service idea has been the leading force from the very beginning. We want to be a full-service logistics partner and not to forget quality, which has always been the starting point for HUB, Törmälä summarizes the first steps in HUB’s history.
Years of growth for pioneer in internal logistics
HUB logistics took part in a development project organized by Technical Research Centre of Finland in 2000s. Project concentrated on how to develop supple chain in manufacturing industry, and it led to Europe to visit industrial companies and explore their manufacturing processes. Elsewhere in Europe, processes supporting manufacturing had already been outsourced, but in Finland this kind of operational model was not yet in use. Study trip gave inspiration to new working method. Via development project HUB found a customer to which it started to produce a new logistics service combining warehousing and picking parts or components to production. First models of HUB’s just-in-time delivery service were created.
Business grew rapidly in 2000s and after years of moving from one office to another HUB found a real estate for rent. Business settled for almost a decade to the first own warehouse and office combination in Kerava.
– In Kerava we finally had our own premises in which we produced warehousing and just-in-time component deliveries for our industrial customers. During those years, we took over new branches of industry in internal logistics and new big customers outsourced internal logistics to HUB.
One of the big customers in 2010s was the automobile factory in Uusikaupunki. HUB logistics ran internal logistics of an automobile factory for three years. In 2013 a logistics center of 7000m2 was built in the factory’s immediate proximity. HUB planned and had it constructed to meet customer’s logistics needs. In co-operation focus was put to automated warehousing, modern truck equipment, developed processes, work study, simulations and staff skills.
Törmälä raises skilled and motivated personnel as the key to element enabling growth and business development. Producing internal logistics to an automobile factory was a great achievement at the time. HUB’s know-how was top-notch already back then and HUB was, and is still, a pioneer in internal logistics.
– The basis for our growth was our committed and skilled personnel. In 2000’s we made excellent recruitments to strengthen our knowledge in industrial services and we were able to meet our existing customer’s needs better. To strengthen our business even more, we bought three wood packing companies and a consulting company concentrating on procurement and purchasing. We expanded our expertise, but also gained more contacts and networks to broaden our services to produce additional value to our customers, Törmälä crystallizes years of growth.
Awarded logistics company
One of the milestones in HUB’s history is building an own logistics center in Vantaa. Biggest investment in HUB’s history still represents pioneering in warehousing in Finland.
– Thought of an own automated logistics center was first raised in the early 2000s, but to build one become possible along with HUB’s growth in 2010s, when we had wider clientele and automation technology had developed further. Our staff was responsible for planning and comissioning the warehouse. It was truly a big push from our personnel, Törmälä praises staff of that time.
– Procurement logistics service was produced for our big client even in China. We were the first domestic logistics company to offer such service in Finland. Main idea of it was to outsource not only material, but also capital: we purchased and stored all components, collected component sets and delivered them to our customer. Also running the automotive factory’s logistics was a real proof of our knowledge and extremely high professional skills in internal logistics, Törmälä reviews the most important milestones of HUB’s history so far.
Besides these milestones, Törmälä is happy just to receive positive feedback from customers and to get the simple feeling that you are doing something meaningful. He was rewarded as EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014 and Finnish Association of Purchasing and Logistics (LOGY) chose HUB logistics as Logistics Company of the Year in 2016.
– I appreciate all the feedback and rewards I and HUB have received. It is a great honor to receive such awards for the work we have done. We grew rapidly in 2010s and the number of employees was almost 700 by the time. Being nominated and rewarded as a Logistics Company of the Year is the greatest possible acknowledgement for our employees. Overall HUB’s 30 years have been eventful. We have had an opportunity to work with several companies in different industries. Behind all this is our staff and our clients, who have trusted our ability to develop and grow together. Thank you – our customers and our employees – for this 30-years milestone. This is not the end though – each day is a new opportunity to achieve even more, when we just get hold of it, Aarno Törmälä says.