Carinafour’s Chairman of the board Ari Viitanen held a workshop as part of the Business Camp Turku event on the 4th of April which discussed competitiveness of companies as a leadership issue. The identified key components of how competitiveness of companies can be enhanced through leadership were creation of value for the customers, the overall efficiency of the company and boosting the productivity of knowhow.

As one of the barriers of enhancing competitiveness, Viitanen mentions the inability of many companies to purchase value. As value-based business is still a relatively new concept in comparison to the more traditional transactional trading, often the business potential related to value-based buying is not completely understood. Also the inability to change and change resistant attitudes hinder the development of competitiveness in many industries. Furthermore, complex organisational structures that are heavily focused on the supply side, together with slow decision making, hamper the improvement of new value creating structures. However, Viitanen states that we should not generalise too much as for example in the Finnish maritime industry significant transformations are taking place, e.g. Meyer shipyard’s substantial capacity and productivity investments and new “digital strategies” of system suppliers, for instance autonomous shipping, to mention a few.

According to Viitanen, customer value consists of many different elements such as financial value, environmental value, and social value. Measuring value simplistically and only in monetary terms is not always easy, especially in cases in which the end customer is a consumer or a community. When creating new value, the customer and the customer’s problems are always in the centre of everything. One has to understand what the problems the customer is facing are and create solutions utilising own products and services. Co-operation based on trust is vital in customer value creation and it is important to develop means together with the customer that enable verification of value actualisation.

–Digital tools and new organisational practices enable improvement of transparency in customer value creation which again makes it possible to identify bottlenecks and continue development, explains Viitanen.

Moreover, Viitanen emphasises that it is not sufficient to understand only the surface issues of  your customer’s business but to really have an in-depth understanding of the value streams of the whole ecosystem, capabilities and various interests.