CEO Marita Saarres-Lakso is, together with her transport company Ibertrans Oy, “The Strongest in Finland“ conquering the Iberian Peninsula. Our exclusive TimoCom Interview reveals why neither the south nor the north can do without her company, and what exactly the new title means.
Mrs. Saarres-Lakso, what does your company represent?
“In 1992 we began transporting fruit from Spain, and now we take care of the import and export of other foods, refrigerated and heated transport, and goods from the pharmaceutical industry; that is, delicate products. We are experts for transport on the Iberian Peninsula and for freight to Finland. Together with my colleague, Marjatta Oinonen, we cover a large area for this specialised industry. Without Ibertrans there would definitely be something missing in the north and the south.”
How did you end up working in freight transport?
“It is simple: I trained as a freight forwarder. I worked enthusiastically for a large transport company for years. Now, here I am with my own company. I have found a niche that allows me to make full use of my logistics knowledge. The demand for fruit, vegetables and pharmaceutical products has risen continuously since I started the company. I am incredibly proud that we are already celebrating our 25th anniversary this year, and that we have loyal customers that really value the work we do.”
What are the challenges of the transport industry?
“Finding reliable partners. Only a good network can ensure that you can find customers, and keep them, at all. You have to develop a feeling for offering the right price, and also deliver the goods on time, no matter what the conditions on the road are, or what the traffic is like.
What is “The Strongest in Finland”?
“Today, seals and certificates are decisive when it comes to having a good company image. “The Strongest in Finland” is one of these awards, and Ibertrans received it this year. It is visible proof that a company is credit worthy, as well as a testament to their reliability and solvency. Only 12 percent of all Finnish companies are awarded this special certificate. We also reached the highest credit level last year. It is very rare for a company to be awarded the honour twice in a row.”
Do we need more women in management positions in the logistics industry?
“I think that women are particularly sensitive, and that is their strength. They are much better equipped to respond to customer requests. Women are able to really listen to the clients, not just hearing them and this way can find better solutions for all parties. A woman in a management position in a company is definitely a benefit. We have a long way to go before we achieve true equality. But I think we have made great strides. Finland celebrated 100 years of independence in 2017. It is easy to relate the celebrations to the advancements in women’s independence.”
Where do you see Ibertrans in the future?
“The digital transformation has already taken us a long way. We can use electronic methods to send contracts, invoices and other information. Mobile phones make day to day life easier. Mobile data even allows us to view delivery status, which means that the process is becoming easier all the time. What has not changed is the need for transport. It is the best foundation to ensure that Ibertrans will be around for another 25 years.”