Editorial: Added value is everything

​The process of bringing about real and sustained added value starts with truly understanding how customers operate and how they generate value, says Ari Harmaala, Senior Vice President, Sales and Customership.

The theme of this magazine is customer value creation, which is in many ways the lifeblood of all successful companies. This topic is so important to us that we have included it in our corporate vision: creating added value for the business of our customer lies at the core of what we do.

In a best-case scenario added value will be deeply embedded in processes and business practice, constituting a promise to serve as a partner and to help your customers succeed in their business initiatives. The challenge comes in reaching this point.

The process of bringing about real and sustained added value starts with truly understanding how our customers operate and how they generate value. Sorting customers by end-use and geographical location helps us to identify the competencies that are required in each segment. We divide our customers into three categories for resource allocation purposes: Key Accounts, Regular Accounts and Spot Accounts. These categories form a three-stage system leading to closer partnership and a greater competitive edge.

Value in Spot Accounts comes from timely deliveries and adherence to agreed quality standards, with a major emphasis on reliability and keeping promises.

Regularity is essential to our business, so Regular Accounts are our largest customer category. We maintain frequent contact with our regular accounts, exchanging information continually, providing technical assistance in realising a competitive edge, and working together to find optimal logistic solutions for pulp deliveries. The focus is on regular operations. Key Accounts comprise customers that are keen to work more closely with us from a tactical or strategic point of view. Key Accounts that favour a strategic approach emphasise standing together with a mutual understanding of business logic and how the world looks from the viewpoint of your partner. Trust and transparency are deeply rooted in this kind of scenario.

Real success in modern business depends on having this kind of bond with your supplier. Innovations, for example, are increasingly the outcome of a creative process involving suppliers and other stakeholders. Few companies are still able to achieve this without the broad support of such partners. Trust and transparency are key elements of a strategic partnership. This begins with the commitment of top management in both organisations, and it must then reach down to the factory floor. Such partnerships are a genuine win-win arrangement for both parties, creating a basis for strong competitive advantages for both in their operations.

With this in mind, we wholeheartedly encourage all customers to engage our Account Managers in a discussion about the prospects for achieving more together.

Ari Harmaala
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SALES AND MARKETING
METSÄ FIBRE

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