Grown to Sustain – promise of delivery reliability

1.2.2018 12:00 EET

UPM Timber's goal is to have satisfied customers who can rely on us. This has been crystallized in the words Grown to Sustain. It is our customer promise that means that we act in a customer-oriented, responsible and reliable way. We want to fulfil this promise every day.

Reliable deliveries play a remarkable role in fulfilling the customer promise. Delivery reliability is often regarded as a matter of logistics only but at UPM Timber we consider it to be a much wider issue: the entire supply chain from forests to customers secures our delivery reliability.

Seamless cooperation

"The starting point for a reliable delivery is the capable sales person who sells the right product for the right place and a sales assistant team who takes care of it that the order will be put correctly into the systems. Discussions are thereafter still needed between Production Planning and the sales person to secure that everyone knows what it is all about", says Mari Leppänen, who works as Transportation Assistant at the Seikku Sawmill. 

"We usually assess the needs for the next two weeks. We try to act proactively to secure that we have time to react should something unexpected occur. This way we have better chances to avoid delays", clarifies Mari.

Active cooperation between the various parties at the sawmill is needed to guarantee the quality of the sawn timber and the requirement for timely deliveries. "We cooperate closely and openly throughout the entire production process starting from the log sorting and ending with the dispatch department. Every one of us has the role of an internal quality controller when it comes to our own work. We all need to secure that the sawn timber that we produce is of high quality and exactly what has been ordered", says Hanna Kotivuori who works as a production foreman and is responsible for the dispatch operations at the Korkeakoski Sawmill. The process will be completed in the dispatch department where, together with the sales assistant team, they monitor that deliveries are on time.

According to Vuokko Piippolainen, the most important thing in fulfilling the customer promise in her work as a log sorter is to remove the crocks from the load and keep the machinery, such as the X-ray, clean. "In my daily work, I sort the logs and remove all the crocks, i.e. the crooked, the wrong tree species, the insect defects and the blue stained logs. In order to ensure the quality, it is important that we carefully monitor that wrong quality sawn timber does not end up in the production stage. For example, we should not have the wrong tree species in the lath package," stresses Vuokko.

The Desire to provide excellent customer service

"We consider our work as customer service even though we are not directly in contact with the customers. We want to give them an experience that we would like to have ourselves if we were the customer. Delivery reliability is one indicator showing the quality of the customer service", Hanna tells us.

Mari remembers many cases when they have received good feedback from customers. She has one case in particular in her mind which demonstrate the strong desire to provide excellent service customers: "The customer had ordered a ship to the port here in Finland and one of their suppliers was not able to deliver the agreed amount of sawn timber to the ship. We provide the customer not only with the agreed amount of our sawn timber but also the missing amount, in just one day. This way the ship was able to leave the port fully loaded and on schedule".

In addition to our own personnel, we also need good and reliable partners such as transportation companies, forklift suppliers and maintenance. "No one of us can achieve the quality alone. The reliability and quality of our deliveries require that our entire chain from forest to customer cooperate closely with each other. When it all works and the deliveries are on time it's likely that the customer will order from us next time, too. And this is exactly what we want: to be the No. 1 choice for our customers", conclude Hanna and Mari.  

Hanna Kotivuori works as a production foreman and is responsible for the dispatch operations at the Korkeakoski Sawmill. Active cooperation between the various parties is needed to guarantee the quality of the sawn timber and the requirement for being on schedule. The personnel of the dispatch department monitor that the deliveries are on time.

UPM Timber's delivery reliability over 95 %

Delivery reliability is an essential part of UPM Timber's customer promise, Grown to Sustain. Therefore it is high on our agenda. "Last year we started to systematically measure our delivery reliability. This has further increased the number of timely deliveries with over 95 per cent of the volume currently leaving our sawmills as promised", comments Erkki Pietikäinen, Manager, Logistics of UPM Timber.

Systematic monitoring enables us to dig deeper into the reasons for the delays. This in turn gives us better chances to anticipate the delays and to avoid them in future.

"Currently we monitor the deliveries from sawmills. However, during 2018 the plan is to develop indicators to measure the arrival time to customers which is naturally the most important issue to measure", concludes Erkki.

Good feedback from customers on UPM Timber's delivery reliability

UPM Timber's customers in various markets are usually very satisfied with our delivery reliability.  Some non-European customers have even asked us how it can be possible that our deliveries are always on time and exactly what has been ordered.

"Delivery reliability is a very important issue for the majority of our UK customers. Most especially for those customers and production units where continuity of supply is essential for their own processing and onward delivery of finished goods to their customers," says Kevin Guthrie, who is responsible for UPM Timber's shipping in the UK market.

"UPM have landed stocks in the UK at Tilbury and Hull, and we are able to offer our customers 48 hour deliveries due to our close relationship with our haulage provider," explains Kevin. "We aim to be our customers' first choice as a reliable partner, going the extra mile to fulfil their requirements. We take care to deliver on our promises, through close collaboration, with agility and courage," stresses Kevin.


Read also: Customer delivery reliability supported by long-term cooperation between UPM and Steveco