Pole Bicycles are best known for their early adoption of what's now considered 'modern' mountain bike geometry, and for using aluminum frame manufacturing techniques that are a departure from the norm. The company has been experiencing some growing pains over the last couple of years, and the move to a new factory combined with increased demand and component supply issues has led to long wait times and frustrated customers.
In order to help steer the ship back on course, a recent announcement states that Leo Kokkonen, the company founder, will take over as the head of Pole, while Lauri Hulkkonen will resign after three years as the CEO. The goal with the changes is to improve customer service, speed up the warranty process, and provide more accurate timelines as to when bikes and parts will be available.
The full press release can be found below.
PRESS RELEASE: Pole Bicycle Company
The CEO of Pole Bicycle Company Oy, Lauri Hulkkonen, resigns after three years of service. This significant change is for us to evolve as a company. We want our service and customer experience to meet better with our philosophy and values. Pole will continue as an owner-managed company, as Leo Kokkonen takes the leading role. The resignation process started in early August and takes effect starting today, 30th of October 2020.Three grand years of progress
Within the past three years, we climbed up to the highest peak of our success so far. We introduced big things to the mountain biking community, gained fame for our products and made a big overall impact on the scene. As a company, to match the growth, we made considerable investments to fit the increased need. For example, we bought the machines and figured out a way to produce the CNC’d frames. The direction we were going was excellent in many ways. The latest significant change was moving to a new factory. Lauri was a big part of all these major decisions and changes and a key player implementing them. We thank him for these years.Flatter organization – better service
Despite the good things and the growth, we found ourselves from a spot where responsibilities were too centralized. This situation had paralyzed and plunged us into a shallow point of our story.
After careful analysis of us as a company, we decided to flatten the organization, sharing responsibilities based on expertise each of us has. Flattening the organization the way we are doing, makes us more agile than before. To prevent work overload from happening, we introduced new powerful tools for our operations. We also adopted new ways of handling tasks and internal communications. This change started in August and already shows results: We are catching up the customer service queue.
Logistics and production are also in change. During last year, we have struggled to get components like forks and brakes from suppliers. This problem goes both ways, and by working smarter in every sector, we can tackle many obstacles seen past times.
We are confident that this change in Pole as a company is good.Apologies for the inconvenience
We sincerely apologize to those who are upset because of our actions during this past year. We have identified two critical problems causing anger and intrust between the customer and us:
• Slow customer service especially in after-sales
• Failing Stamina frames
The reason for slow customer service is not in the customer service personnel. The problem lies in the management and the processes. The changes that we now make will work to solve these problems.
During the last 12 months, we have witnessed around ten cases of Stamina frames that have failed and gone public. Even while there are many happy Stamina riders, each break down has significantly lowered the trust towards our machined frames. We apologize for this but want to assure you that the production method works. We have assessed the failed frames carefully. The failures are not severe and we don’t see a reason for a recall. Our warranty continues to cover problems that are caused by manufacturing, and the process of handling after-sales support will be better.
One thing we are known for is that we do take action and make the change. Just look at how the industry has changed since we introduced our geometry and how the aluminium bikes have become relevant again. Now, it is time to take actions that initiate an internal change.
• Change the management and share the responsibilities to serve faster.
• Improve user instructions to prevent actions that may damage or weaken the frame permanently.
• Handle and close each currently open warranty case within the next ten weeks.
• Stick with the promised delivery time on bikes and frames, continually improving the process.
• Inform customers more frequently about the state of their orders.
We base the actions mentioned to the feedback received lately.Future of Pole Bicycles
Quote from Pole philosophy still describes our future: “Pole wants to create the fastest, most striking, and most thoughtfully designed machines.”
If we don’t make the change, we don’t see how we would have that future.
Sincerely,Pole Bicycle Company Oy