The most important meeting of the day starts first thing in the morning at all Metsä Fibre mills. The morning meeting is attended by a large number of employees and some partners. The content of the meeting is the same at every site.
“The morning meeting is the most important management meeting at the mill. This is where we collect information, get an overall picture of the situation, and agree on any measures necessary,” says Erkka Tahvanainen, Vice President, Production Development.
The mill’s indicators for safety, environmental matters, quality and production, and any aberrations are on the agenda at the meetings. Each department’s situation and any maintenance challenges are discussed.
“At the mill, the departments operate symbiotically, and an aberration in one department can affect the running of the whole mill. The morning meeting is attended by all the key people involved in the day-to-day running of the mill and partners in areas such as maintenance. The meeting is a forum for sharing important information about the situation at the mill and for finding solutions to potential problems,” says Niko Tuhkanen, Operations Manager at the Joutseno pulp mill.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, daily meetings have been held via the MS Teams communications platform. This has enabled wider employee participation than before. Tuhkanen himself chairs the meetings in Joutseno.
“Now that we no longer have to attend meetings in a specific room, we have also been able to involve control room employees more widely. We have a huge amount of expertise in the control rooms to run the departments and deal with problem situations, so their participation in the morning meeting is very relevant,” says Tuhkanen.
Solving problems together
Although the morning meetings are a time for going over the day ahead, they also influence the mill’s performance in the longer term.
“The information we gather is used to make the best decisions for the mill’s operations and to achieve the best results in both the short and long term. It is a tool for steering the mill’s operations as a whole,” says Tahvanainen.
Information flow is important for management. The meeting gives the personnel an idea of the overall situation and metrics of the mill, as well as information on how their own work contributes to the bigger picture. For example, any safety aberrations are immediately brought to everyone’s attention, and measures can be agreed to avoid future incidents.
Benefits for the customer
A well-planned daily routine at the mill has benefits that extend to the customer. A smooth production process ensures consistent product quality. In addition, no unforeseen downtime affects product availability.
“If there happen to be any slowdowns in production levels, we can plan for them so that the situation will not affect the customer. By constantly monitoring our indicators, we also ensure that product quality matches customer requirements – that is, we produce premium quality,” says Tahvanainen.
The morning meeting practice has also been commended outside the company. Metsä Fibre has been developing its operations using the international EFQM model since 2000. As part of the EFQM model, quality competitions are organised to assess the excellence of companies’ operations in various areas. The international EFQM quality competition in 2019 found the mills’ morning meetings to be one of the organisation’s key strengths.