Global leader in audio equipment proud of its Finnish roots
A company of 130 staff in a town in the middle of Finland is a world leader in the manufacture of high quality active monitors and loudspeakers used in film production and TV and radio broadcasting.
Of all the products designed and produced in its lakeside factory in the town of Iisalmi, almost 500km north of Helsinki, more than 80 per cent are shipped abroad to over 70 countries. Global events such as the 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 FIFA World Cup used its premium sound monitoring products.
The company, founded in 1978, is Genelec. This powerhouse of the professional audio world is proud of its Finnish roots, culture and location and refuses to follow its competitors in moving production to Asia in an attempt to improve profitability.
“Yes, the cost of production here in Finland is higher than for example in China, so it’s hard to compete with that. Over 90 per cent of our competitors make their products in China, so we may have a disadvantage if we only look at the numbers,” says Genelec’s managing director Siamäk Naghian.
“But Genelec is a premium brand. We don’t want to compete on price. Instead, we want to continue focusing on our core strengths of reliability, sound quality, design and environmental friendliness.”
Staying in Finland is advantage
Quality control of production and distribution are just as valuable to Genelec as profitability. In that way, Siamäk believes being in Finland is an advantage for the company.
Whilst its location will not change, its typical customer has evolved. Not long ago a Genelec customer was a studio sound engineer, but these days it is more of a combination of both engineer and artist.
“Today our typical customer is someone who monitors sound and makes sound. So it’s a sound engineer working for a TV, radio, movie or music studio and it’s an artist creating music. This very much reflects the makeup of the company itself — most of the staff play musical instruments, making them both musicians and engineers.”
More changes are ahead for Genelec. Over the last decade audio quality has not kept pace with dramatic improvements in the visual quality of home and workplace devices, such as television sets and computer screens. Naghian is confident this imbalance will be rectified within the next five to 10 years.
“We are on the front line to take advantage of this emerging opportunity in the home audio markets. Consumers demanding a professional level audio quality in their homes presents a very exciting future for us.”
Text: Mark Badham
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