"A good IT structure is connected to everything in an animal clinic," says Heikki Mäkimattila, CEO of Eläintohtori Kivuton, which a clinic in Joensuu, Finland.
That’s why a good ERP system is a necessity; it is the backbone of activity.
In addition to high-quality animal care, Mäkimattila lists the economy, service, understanding the customer experience, leadership, and human resource management as the cornerstones of the successful animal clinic.
"Many veterinarians are so focused on their professional skills that they do not to use, for example, vaccination invitations in marketing. The clinic lives on a shoestring. When the turnover is more than a million, one has to look at where the money comes from and where it goes. We have an objective that the operating profit is 10-20 percent," he says.
That’s why Kivuton uses Provet system.
Eläintohtori Kivuton started small. Heikki Mäkimattila's wife, Kirsi Mäkimattila, took care of animals as a sole practitioner until she bought a clinic of one vet in 2004. It was expanded within a couple of years after buying a 300 square meters premise. Heikki Mäkimattila already worked in the background, managing the administration. Now, the clinic has six veterinarians and five veterinary nurses, and Mäkimattila works as a professional manager.
The online store grew fast
The clinic had already sold food and supplies in-house for years when they started thinking about also selling them online. In three years, the online store has grown tremendously.
"It all started small. Initially, the nurses almost laughed at me and my new whim. Now we have a 500-square-foot warehouse with forklift shelves," says Mäkimattila.
The online store revenue is close to a million euros, and there are more than 7,000 products available. The main product is dog food. Kivuton offers the best selection of specialty foods in Finland.
"In that, we are undoubtedly the best experts in the country," says Mäkimattila.
He has a high goal: the online sales will still multiply. He still has a high goal for the online sales to multiply. In the future, Kivuton will be an online store for animal foods and supplies that will also have a veterinary clinic, and 90% of its turnover will come from the online store.
Entrepreneurship requires hard work
Heikki Mäkimattila values entrepreneurship highly, although he warns that it is really tough. He regards the veterinary sector as easy; it has been a growing area. Yet work has to be done, and very hard.
Digitalisation is a trendy word in many contexts. In Mäkimattila's opinion, we are already familiar with the “online” part of the online sales in Finland. Engineers and technology can be found. The ”sales” part is what is lacking.
"Few people in the IT industry can really think about the service experience and user interface as FNS's Janne Huttunen can. I appreciate his know-how, and that the company is listening to the customer. Co-operation has been really good," Heikki Mäkimattila praises.