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Pölkky Oy bought Kajaani Sawmill

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Four decades working for Pölkky - Next spring Jouko Niskala will have spent four decades working for Pölkky Strong Wood

 
February 1972. Matti Virranniemi, Director of Forestry at Pölkky, hired Jouko Niskala to work as a timberjack for Pölkky Forestry Division.
 
Niskala’s first task was to work with a measurer, taking notes for timber harvesting. - Logs were more robust back then, and  cutting methoda were different, Niskala recalls. A few years later Pölkky needed a foreman to the logging sites, and Niskala was their man of choice. He became familiar with numerous logging sites all over the Kuusamo area. After a while Matti Virranniemi again approached Jouko Niskala and suggested a new job as a timber purchase agent. Niskala was happy to accept the promotion. - There I was, learning the ropes little by little. The tasks have been diverse over the years. I have always had freedom in my job, and felt that I am trusted.
 
Although the log size has decreased since the 70s, Niskala says that the forests of today are in good form. - Forest growth is strong, and it will stay strong, when forests are well managed. The current growth rate has taken even researchers by surprise.

Next March Niskala will turn 63. Then his four-decade stretch at Pölkky will be a done deal, and more leisurely days lie ahead.

Product Quality important in our new factory hall

Our new investment, the 108.5-metre factory hall for laminated logs, enables us to keep all production in our own hands. We don’t need subcontracting in this field, and we are able to monitor the quality of our products closely.

Wood construction is our thing. Wood is a renewable natural resource and it represents sustainable development. Developing the right products and doing what we know best is the formula of our success. Although the construction industry has suffered a few blows lately, wood construction is still going strong. We at Pölkky are doing fine.

In this field cost competitiveness is essential. It is critical especially in export trade. Naturally, business has to be profitable. Companies whose finances are strong make the best profits. Finland is in forefront in this respect, but we must be careful not to let the competitors get ahead.
 
Pölkky obtains raw material from a wide procurement area, and our greatest challenge lies in keeping the logistics costs in check. There is still work to be done in improving the raw material flow to our existing plants.

There is one source of discontent to us who work in the wood business. In construction, it is fashionable to replace genuine wood materials with imitations. Why is it enough to use a material which only resembles real wood? This trend seems rather peculiar, from our point of view. However, in this as in everything, the consumer is always king.

Cornerstones of strategy: Fine product family and good service

Competitiveness is well managed of at Pölkky. Naturally. - A fine product family and good customer service are the cornerstones of our strategy. Our raw material basis is solid, and we have the best clients in the world. Our sales department handles the selling, and the rest of us do the manufacturing. This is the foundation of the Pölkky product family, sums up Kari Miettunen, Director of Finance.

Miettunen says that this business works on a long-term basis. - The growth of timber is entirely predictable. Also, this is the business of the future, as wood is a renewable building material. A strong product family is vital for the Pölkky operations. - Long delivery distances mean that it is important for us to transport as valuable products as possible. Quality raw material has always been crucial to us, but we need more than just that to make a profit today.

Miettunen describes the Pölkky ownership base as flexible, dynamic, and agile. - All the owners work here. The daily situation is under control, and rapid decision-making is possible. Spheres of responsibility are clear. High self-sufficiency and a strong balance sheet make Pölkky an agile actor in the business. Our long-term profit looks fine, although the market will be more stringent in the future.

Two thirds of the Pölkky production is exported. One third stays in Finland, and three per cent never leave the Kuusamo area. – We bring money to the town from elsewhere. For us, the euro is more significant than the U.S. dollar, which we use for currency in Africa and Asia. Our costs are paid in euros.

Glued and finger-jointed timber products

Antti and PetteriPölkky is advancing. The new about 110-metre factory hall houses two production lines: one for lamelled logs and glued wood products, and another for finger-jointed timber. – The new machines represent the latest technical knowhow and automation in the field, the best in the world, says Product Manager Petteri Virranniemi. This seven-million euro investment will deepen our cooperation with Kuusamo Log Houses. The production capacity of the new facility is 40,000 m³ per year.  The maximum dimensions of glued wood beams are 300 x 600 mm and 13.6 m, and we use single component polyurethane adhesive. This makes finger-joints  strong and solid. Both production lines are imported from Germany.

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