“Regular contact, quick reactions and improved quality consistency of sawn timber deliveries. These are the main aims of technical customer service at Metsä Fibre’s sawmills,” says Customer Service Manager Victoria Eklund, who is in charge of the service.
The plan is to provide sawn timber customers with procedures and services that are already familiar in the pulp business.
“The local lead salesperson remains an important contact to customers, but technical customer service provides an even more direct and faster feedback channel between production and customers. This helps us immediately address issues that need development, which also makes them easier to solve in production.”
The goal is to establish close and regular communication so that the customers’ needs are identified as early as possible. There are also joint discussions to determine how the development needs can be met.
Technical customer service experts play a key role, says Ari Harmaala, Metsä Fibre’s SVP, Sales and Marketing.
“We want to offer services that help our customers improve their industrial efficiency. This is why we need steadily better insights into their value chains and processes – and the only way to get them is through close dialogue.”
Improving quality consistency in sawn timber
With the help of technical customer service, Metsä Fibre’s pulp business has been successful in improving the energy and resource efficiency of production processes - the customers' processes and Metsä Fibre's own. The quality of end products has also risen. The sawn timber business has a wider product portfolio and range of customers.
“We have around 400 different sawn timber products, with customers in many different product segments and locations around the world. We serve glulam producers and timber retailers as well as the furniture and log house industries. It is crucial that we understand our customers’ business – this way, we can serve and support them in the best possible way,” says Harmaala.
The goal of technical customer service is further to improve the quality consistency of sawn timber deliveries, help customers avoid interruptions in production and support their production efficiency. Eklund points out that the data collected on the quality of end products is crucial for this.
“We can use process data to provide even better support to our customers’ business and help them reduce material waste, improve cost-effectiveness, develop the quality of end products, and so on. This way, the data is clearly useful to our customers’ business .”
Data will be offered to customer use but the biggest benefits emerge as we analyse it together in order to develop cooperation.
“Our aim is deeper cooperation, which allows us to examine issues from each customer’s unique perspective and also participate in their own development projects.”
This article was originally published in Timber Magazine issue 2022–2023.