Technical service face to face

Technical customer service interacts directly with sawn timber customers and provides a faster response to customer feedback.
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  • 2023, Sawn timber, Products and services

When the first sawn timber delivery was dispatched from Metsä Fibre’s new Rauma sawmill, Technical Customer Service Manager Victoria Eklund also left for Denmark to be ready to receive it alongside the customer. On site, they inspected the quality of the sawn timber together.

“We opened two packages of the consignment,” Eklund says. “Sawn timber is typically inspected to check for features like cracks visually, and to measure its moisture content and dimensions.”

The customer approved the package, and Rauma sawmill will continue to ship sawn timber to Denmark.

Developing our customers’ operations

Eklund is responsible for the technical customer service of Metsä Fibre’s sawn timber, and visits key customers in Europe and Japan, introducing the new service to them.

“The goal of technical customer service is to develop the business operations of our customers. We monitor the quality of our sawn timber and how it works in the customers’ production processes. The service is carried out through personal visits that allow me to continuously improve my understanding of the customer’s needs.”

Previously, Eklund worked as a production engineer at Renko sawmill. This technical background is useful in her role as a go-between for sawmills and customers. The account manager still plays a crucial role for customers. Thanks to the feedback delivered by Eklund, potential issues can be tackled quickly. This ensures that the customers’ production remains free of disruptions.

“The employees at Rauma sawmill were also looking forward to hearing what the customer thought about the first deliveries. It is important for production to get information quickly about how products and their properties could be developed further.”

Technical customer service is part of Metsä Fibre’s strategy. In its pulp business it has been using technical customer service for many years to increase the efficiency of customers and mills alike, while improving its own understanding. In the sawn timber business, the service helps utilise wood as efficiently as possible throughout the value chain.

Added value free of charge

Technical customer service for sawn timber customers will first focus on deliveries from the new Rauma sawmill and customers in Europe and Japan.

“In Technical Customer Service, our job is to improve the whole value chain, improving our customers’ efficiency as well as our own. We ensure that the product always meets the customer’s needs without surprises or disruptions,” says Tom Nickull, VP, Sales Services.

The quality data that Metsä Fibre collects on its production processes plays a key role in supporting customers’ business operations. Similarly, the feedback received through customer service helps in finding the best uses for the data.

“As an example, inspections of deliveries take up a lot of customer resources. We are currently investigating if our data could help in these situations.”

Eklund says that technical customer service has received a warm welcome from customers and that expectations for its development are high. The service offers key customers added value for their sawn timber deliveries free of charge.

Customers get the best value from the service when they openly discuss their own production process. The people who Eklund meets are typically at work in production, which makes communication on technical matters easier.

“We have learned from the pulp business that when a customer starts using our technical customer service, it becomes indispensable. In the future, we hope to be part of our customers’ own development projects too,” says Nickull.

This article was originally published in Timber Magazine issue 2023.