Last year was an important one for Metsä Fibre. We launched a next-generation bioproduct mill and became the global leading supplier of market softwood pulp. On incorporating sawmills into our operations, we also became a major producer of sawn softwood timber. We also reformed our business processes at this time.
Even though 2017 already saw a great deal of ongoing improvement and change at the company, we chose renewal as our theme for the current year. This theme conveys the necessity of regenerating continually if we are to serve our customers with increasing effectiveness in years to come. We have already brought our sales processes into closer alignment with individual market area requirements, and we have been reinforcing the processes of delivery management and technical customer service. We are seeking deeper collaboration with our customers, coupled with the assurance that our products and services are giving them optimal added value. We shall also continue this regeneration by strengthening our strategic objectives in the longer term.
Our four modern, reliable pulp mills ensure security of supply for our customers, backed by all of the benefits of raw material sourcing synergies for our pulp and sawmill business operations. The bioproduct mill startup has proceeded according to plan with respect to productivity, and we shall achieve nominal production at the beginning of the second half of the year.
Benefiting from the opportunities provided by new technology is one aspect of regeneration. This edition of our magazine focuses on digitalisation, a field in which Metsä Fibre already has long experience. For decades we have been gathering information on mill processes for use in increasingly intelligent control systems, most recently winning a RISI award for using data in industrial operations at our Joutseno mill. With usable data volumes continually growing and systems increasingly capable of processing them, potential nevertheless remains for reaping even greater rewards from digitalisation, both at the customer interface and in production and condition monitoring.
We seek to develop in the direction of permanent excellence. This will require a pioneering attitude, coupled with the courage to regenerate as a user of the latest technological opportunities. Our evolution will nevertheless continue to be based on genuine collaboration reflecting a profound understanding of the customer. The aim is not merely to satisfy customer expectations, but also to exceed them.
CEO, Metsä Fibre