1949 – The Beginning
Forewords of Saajos Group were written in May 1949 when Jaakko Saajos decided to become an entrepreneur in metal industry. The post-war reconstruction began in Finland: homes, schools, offices, hospitals and factories were urgently needed. The construction industry was rapidly growing and so did the company Saajos. During the next decade Jaakko’s wife Maj-Lis Saajos came to work for the company and the joint journey strengthened the business.
1960 – Guidelines for the future product portfolio
The company started to specialize in fire doors. First type approvals were obtained in 1967. At that time Sweden was the forerunner and the first Nordic Country that took over the use of type approvals.
1970 – Solid foundation for growth
The company Saajos acquired its first agents for construction and marine industries. Most predominant deliveries for marine industry were ferries Finnjet, Rosella and Turella (now MS Regina della Pace). For construction industry the biggest projects were the Headquarters of Finnish Bank Printing Works and Neste Oil.
Finnjet was the first ferry in the world where metal fire doors were widely used and thus Saajos Company was the first company in the world that delivered metal fire doors to ferries. After Finnjet, several shipyards turned to metal fire doors and the industry grew fast – as well as Saajos. Interest in the Saajos-products grew abroad and the possibilities for substantial growth in international business were utilized.
1980 – Second generation took over the leadership and development of the company
Jaakko and Maj-Lis Saajos retired in 1983 and their son Seppo Saajos took his turn in the leadership of the company. At first, Seppo Saajos expanded the agency network. The aim was to make the name Saajos known all over the world. Systematic testing and harmonization of the products began. Seppo worked in close co-operation with the clientele all over the world, testing laboratory experts and staff at Lohja. Biggest projects at that time were Kuwait Government Palace, Baghdad Congress Palace, Hotel Pulkovskaya and luxury cruise liners Royal Princess (now MV Artania) and Star Princess (now MV Pacific Pearl).
1990 – The group structure was developed and the seeds of Saajos AS were sown
With the growth, the company structure was developed into Group and mother company Oy Saajos International Ltd. was founded. Saajos Oy continued doing business with fire doors while the mother company made international business starting licence manufacturing units in Denmark, Estonia and China. Fire doors were delivered e.g. to Superfast ship serie, Nokia Headquarters (now Microsoft Talo), Moscow Mayor’s office building and the apartment of the President of Finland.
2000 – The Group got another daughter
Oy Saajos International Ltd purchased 100% of the shares of the Estonian licence manufacturer and the name of the company was changed to Saajos AS. The two daughters concentrated on their strengths: Saajos Oy was in charge of the Finnish construction markets and A-class doors for marine industry while Saajos AS served the Baltic construction markets and produced hinged B- and C-class marine doors. The development of the Group’s manufacturing units was continued and the plans were based on the growth strategy. The largest luxury cruise ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas were big projects in marine SBU while the expansion of the Olkiluoto nuclear plant and several shopping malls – including one of the biggest in Finland, Kamppi Centre – kept the construction SBU busy.
2010 – Third generation grabs the baton while overall level of safety defines the market intent
The ownership of the group was transferred to Kalle Saajos. The biggest challenge – and opportunity – for the new entrepreneur is the uniting Europe, where norms and standards are being unified. Opportunities are the new market areas but the competition is also becoming more severe. New features are required and that means even more testing. Product portfolio has been under heavy development, new product families have been created. Good example of this are the pressure resistant fire doors that have been delivered to railway and subway tunnels.
Appreciation of the safe environment grows all over the world. For Saajos, security and fire safety in particular, has been in the focus from the beginning. Now Saajos Group form a multiskilled team that is serving the construction industry around the Baltic Sea, industrial clients in North Europe and the global clientele of the marine industry. Fire and safety doors are being developed in close co-operation with the customers even in the most demanding applications: luxury cruise liners, power plants, hotels and shopping malls all over the world. Active product development, refusal to compromises and seamless co-operation between employees, customers and other interest groups, are the pillars of success for Saajos Group now and in the future. The success of the clientele is and has always been the most important basic value of the Group. The activities are based on long-term product development, technological know-how and the ability to listen to the customer. Customer-orientated sales, skilled designers and the high-tuned production ensure the deliveries “The Way you Want”.