Responsibility for sawn timber sales, customer service, order processing and supply chain management was transferred to Metsä Fibre on 1 January 2020. Sales resources were increased in the process.
“In addition to country-specific sales professionals, our local sales coordinators manage day-to-day customer service in our main markets. Customers will receive answers to their enquiries more quickly than before – and in their own language,” says Saku Pänkäläinen, VP, Timber Sales.
The link between production and sales has also been improved. Previously, production and sales were optimised according to tree species. Now, sales are guided through end-use segmentation, with the heads of segments serving as links between production and customers.
“We’re better attuned to customers’ needs, which can be communicated accurately all the way to production. We can optimise our production and offering in line with customers’ requirements,” says Pänkäläinen.
“We also have additional resources and technical expertise for sales management. In addition, we’re introducing the same kind of customer responsibility chains that are used in pulp sales. The sawmills will know to whom and for what purpose their products are being delivered.
Combined sawn timber sales organisations improve competitiveness
The combining of sawn timber and pulp sales organisations is part of a more extensive change. Metsä Wood’s sawmills were transferred to Metsä Fibre’s ownership in 2016. Bringing pulp and sawn timber sales under the same organisation created significant synergy benefits.
“We can manage our large mass of raw materials efficiently. We’re also able to decide case by case which wood will be used in the pulp industry, and which will be used in the sawmill industry. This enables us to optimise the use of wood raw material. We use large quantities of wood efficiently, which improves our competitiveness as a buyer of wood,” says Pänkäläinen.
Combining the processes has also improved the efficiency of product transport.
“China is an important market for both pulp and sawn timber. We can combine shipments to use ships’ full capacity. This is particularly important when there is a shortage of transport capacity. When the ordered capacity is used in full, we’ll have a stronger position in negotiations with bulk and container shipping companies over the long term.”
The change highlights the Metsä Fibre brand
The integration of sawn timber and pulp has now been completed. The employees responsible for sawn timber sales and day-to-day customer functions transferred to Metsä Fibre at the beginning of the year. The only exception is sales in England, Wales and Scotland, which are managed through Metsä Wood’s sales organisation.
Pänkäläinen believes the Metsä Fibre brand will also become more visible and have a stronger presence wherever sawn timber is processed.
“We want our product packaging to stand out, and we’re continuously seeking ways to exceed customers’ expectations. If we see that technical services similar to those used for pulp are needed for sawn timber, we’ll already have a process and model in place.”