Onninen, on the need to act fast
and on an industrial scale


Alfen’s value lies in innovating and developing quality products, while educating us on their use. Like I said, the challenge is to reduce the time from engineering desk to large-scale implementation to deliver a sustainable society fast – the electrical way. It’s about getting excellent products, distributed quickly and making sure people know why and how they should use them. Alfen already plays its part here well and can provide ongoing value by continuing to drive and innovate new and improved solutions and to continue to deliver the narrative that goes with them.

Can you reflect on your relationship with Alfen?

Where is the industry heading in your view and what are the key challenges?

If I could only say one thing, it would be that the electrical energy industry holds the key, right now, to solving the biggest challenge of our time. To anyone involved who is reading this, I would like to say be effective and be proud of what you are doing. We are achieving great things!

We must address global warming - do what we can to reduce it – fast and on an industrial scale. Achieving this requires that we increase the speed to get innovative and promising products from prototype / pilot projects to industrially manufactured and distributed at scale to make impact. Onninen aims to enable this as best as we can.

We have industrial scale purchasing, sales and logistic networks and are ready to play our part in the continuously accelerating cycle, to distribute innovative goods, on a large scale, as rapidly as possible.

It is also important for society in general to understand the need for change and be prepared to adapt. Governments can drive policy but there is also a need for education so that people understand the importance of doing their bit. There are 5.5 million people in Finland, 450 million in the EU and, globally, we are almost 8 billion. Everyone needs to understand that they have a part to play and what it involves. Onninen can help with that education and distribution of knowledge.

Onninen serves many different projects which use the latest cutting-edge technologies because our customer base is very wide. There are all kinds of examples, like electrical distribution network automation, water supply automation, many smart house systems and even tiny little LoRaWAN sensors which detect icing on power lines in our arctic climate. 

The most cutting-edge project I would like to talk about right now though is the installation of a single 

smart EV charge point. While this may seem like a small, humble everyday project, when they are many, their collective overall impact on addressing global warming
is substantial. Every individual can make a difference.
It starts with yourself. If Onninen continues to provide
the right material, at the right place and the right time, that one smart EV charger today will become many more tomorrow and so on, and so we are helping to have a positive impact.

Can you tell us about the latest projects using the most cutting-edge technologies?

" We must address global warming
- do what we can to reduce it –
fast and on an industrial scale "

In Finland, Onninen is a largescale wholesaler, material supplier and logistics partner for technical contractors, industrial manufacturers, utilities, municipalities etc. Our product range fulfils almost every possible need our customers may have for electrical power distribution, electricity supplies in buildings, telecoms, water supply and sewerage. We also sell tools and workwear, including protective clothing for frontline workers, and have extended our product range to include smart energy components, like electrical vehicle charge points, or to support renewables integration. 

Alfen Elkamo is even a customer, as well as a supplier, it buys components from us and supplies substations.

I have been in my role for a couple of years and, for the last six months, electric vehicle charging has also been part of my remit. It is my responsibility, along with the great help of my team and the supporting functions, to co-ordinate the co-operation between Onninen, the material suppliers and the manufacturer. We select the products for our range and ensure that they are available and in stock to meet our customer’s needs. 

Can you introduce the company and tell us a bit about your role?

Onninen is a Finnish wholesaler, offering products predominantly to the construction industry since 1913.
It has 1,200 employees in the country and a network of 57 stores. Its extensive product range includes electrical, plumbing, building, heating and cooling, engineering components, tools and workwear.
While a typical customer might be a construction or infrastructure contractor, its business-to-business customer base also includes individual trade specialists and resellers.

Jaakko Pitkanen is Onninen’s International Category Director for Electric Cables, Utility Products and Charging. We spoke to him about his favourite cutting-edge technologies and their role in creating a
cleaner future.

" The electrical energy industry holds the key, right now, to solving the biggest challenge of our time" 

An interview with Jaakko Pitkanen,
International Category Manager at Onninen