"In addition to investments in rebuilds and improvements, the importance of efficient maintenance is growing constantly. Finland’s forest industry must adopt networking and other modern operating models which are already in use in other export industry sectors. The change calls for maintenance companies operating on the domestic markets which could form partners for our industry even in other operation countries", the Finnish Forest Industries Federation’s President Anne Brunila said in her speech at the Maintenance Fair staged in Tampere, Finland.
The forest industry invests annually over 800 million euros in new equipment and repairs. The Confederation of Finnish Industries’ investment enquiry predicts forest industry investments for the current year totalling more than 900 million euros even. This amounts to one quarter of the solid investments within the entire factory industry. In addition, the sector will purchase hundreds of millions of euros-worth of maintenance services.
The importance of maintenance will constantly increase because productivity must be improved in the tight competition. It has been estimated that a maintenance service partner could take over around 80 percent of maintenance work hours. The remaining 20 percent could comprise monitoring and supervision by the mill’s own personnel. Fluctuations within individual enterprises are large owing to the fact that the solutions are geared to the circumstances of each unit and mill. The most effective and profitable way of distributing maintenance responsibility has to be sought in each situation.
Forest industry production in Finland has risen despite challenges set by the operating conditions. When an ineffective capacity has had to be abandoned, the more profitable and competitive units have been presented with an opportunity to enlarge their production and increase their productivity even more.
Negotiations on collective agreement reform in the paper sector need to be urgently launched
The profitability of Finland’s forest industry can be appreciably influenced by the industry itself. By using the service network effectively, as in other industry, and adopting operating models serving to improve productivity, it is possible to strengthen competitive ability and succeed in the global competition.
"How fast new operating models lead to a competitive edge also depends on the farsightedness of labour organisations. The actors in the sector have to be able to introduce modern operating models based on broader job descriptions and wider-ranging capabilities, maximised benefits from new technology, and a networked operating system mode."
"Last spring the Finnish Forest Industries Federation entered into negotiations with The Finnish Paper Workers’ Union in regard to an overall reform of the collective agreement system, with the aim of improving competitiveness and the success of the sector in Finland. Thus far there have been no breakthroughs, but the negotiations are continuing", reports Brunila. The sector’s current collective agreement expires at the end of May 2008.