Continuous improvement means something a little different to all of us. It may be easy to spot
shortcomings or faults in what other people do; it’s a lot more challenging to find constructive
suggestions for corrections or to carry out corrective measures yourself, and to ensure that
the problem you detected does not reoccur.
Sometimes, continuous improvement is understood as big investments, new products
or innovations. In my opinion, continuous improvement is, first and foremost, about the
daily development of issues large and small. For my part, the best experiences consist of
the moments when, taking into account the different points of view of a group of people
gathered around a workstation, we’ve come up with solutions that have permanently raised
efficiency rates to a new level. It has been great to see what professionals can achieve
together. Bold development measures have allowed us to identify new operating methods
that we wouldn’t have believed discoverable before.
Do we still have things to develop in production? We’ve already taken big steps in the right
direction at Metsä Wood, particularly with regard to occupational safety and production efficiency.
Many of the changes that we’ve made nevertheless enable future development, too.
A target organisation, with its team and multiple skills models, gives everyone the tools
to advance issues in a way that makes sense from the perspective of their own work. At
the same time, we can make our jobs interesting to those who will become competent
colleagues of ours in the future.
Increasing production by 5 per cent a year is included in the goals set for us in
Metsä Wood’s strategy for industrial efficiency. In addition to everything else that
the achievement of this goal requires from us, we need open and fast communication.
This will allow us to allocate the right resources to targets still in need of
improvement. I often start my day by taking a look at the new digital reports from
mills and the efficiencies of various production lines – information that is now
available to us all.
Likewise, the 5S concept – based on lean thinking and launched at all Metsä
Wood mills last year as part of continuous improvement efforts – is a good
example of a change that everyone is able to influence. And yet we still have
quite a way to go before we get the point where our jobs are in world-class
What I find particularly interesting in production tasks is the fact that
there is always something to improve. While routines are important in
terms of safety and continuity, we need the ability to see things from
new angles alongside those routines. I am therefore challenging you,
in particular, to think about what you could do better in your own work
today and tomorrow, and I promise to take up the challenge myself as well.
Text: Miikka Hernesaho
VP, production excellence