Portrait of a professional: Niko Öhman is an expert on Nordic wood

​Product Manager for sawn timber, Niko Öhman, knows the possibilities of Finnish spruce and pine. Through cooperation wood finds its uses.
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  • 2021, Our professionals, Sawn timber

Niko Öhman has worked with wood at Metsä Fibre since 2016. His position is at the Kyrö sawmill in Finland, but the results of his work can be seen everywhere in the world.

How did you end up working with sawn timber?

Nordic wood is an excellent material, and my particular interest in utilising timber led me to study the field.

Early in my career, I worked at a paper mill, where I got to know how pulp is used and learned the different stages of paper production. Before my current position, I worked in production at the Kyrö sawmill, such as in the drying plant, the heating station and, later, as a production planner.

At Metsä Fibre, we are constantly encouraged to learn new things and to develop. Alongside my job, I am studying for a master’s degree at the University of Tampere, majoring in production economics. A year ago, I took up the position of product manager for pine sawn timber, and now I am also responsible for our spruce sawn timber.

What is your job like?

As product manager for pine and spruce sawn timber, I am involved in quite a few things as an expert. I am in charge of product data management and product competitiveness among other things.

Finding the right timber for a customer requires cooperation between wood supply, the planning team, sales, production, and logistics. All these phases are connected. When we want to cut the logs in the forest to meet the needs of the end user, it is vitally important to plan the felling in advance.

We follow trends so we can better respond to customer demands. For example, the visual qualities of spruce are now recognised in many markets, and are attractive in interior design.

What is the best thing about your work?

I like being able to do many kinds of things in a highly skilled and pleasant work community.

I like the feeling of seeing our customers make functional products and it is great knowing that I was a part of the team that had an effect on those results.

Positive feedback makes me feel good. That is when you know you have done a good job. In addition, effective cooperation with our customers will also help to improve our own work.

What does the future look like?

There are many types of wood, and I believe that in the future, wood will be used in an even more precise and individual manner.

Metsä Fibre is investing in the latest technology, such as various internal quality measurements on logs, and analysis of the logs before they are cut, which allows us to provide customers with the exact sawn timber they need. Customers may have requested a particular part of the heartwood, number of annual rings, or knot frequency. When selecting the raw material, all sections of the wood are carefully reviewed to ensure the product meets the customer’s final requirements.

Wood is already used optimally at Metsä Group, but new technology enables even more precise utilisation of wood as sawn timber, pulp, bark, or chips. Nothing goes to waste.

Today, wood and wood construction are valued. It is great to hear from friends that they are choosing wood as a building material when constructing a place to live for the rest of their lives.

This article was originally published in Timber Magazine issue 2021-2022. Take a look at the magazine: https://customermagazine.metsafibre.com/mag/timber-2-21_en/1-11