Koskisen Group07.09.2015

Sawmill gets new production manager

A baton was passed in the Sawn Timber business unit in August, as long-time sawyer Jaakko Huttunen took over the duties of production manager. Osmo Oksanen, who has served as production manager at the sawmill since the early 1990s, will continue to take part in project work part-time before he retires.

Jaakko Huttunen and Osmo Oksanen – the incoming and outgoing production managers.

Jaakko Huttunen and Osmo Oksanen – the incoming and outgoing production managers.

The new production manager knows wood like the back of his hand.

The new production manager knows wood like the back of his hand. 

Jaakko Huttunen, 42, is from northern Savo and a third-generation sawyer. With an MSc degree in Wood Technology from the Helsinki University of Technology, he earned a long and diverse career in the service of Stora Enso, working as a production controller, production manager and product manager, among other positions. Jaakko joins Koskisen from Keitele Timber, where he was the sawmill’s production manager.

“A broad range of experience of customer service, and of managing and developing production give me a good foundation for this job,” says Jaakko.

Jaakko brings strong knowledge of the sawmilling industry and in-depth knowledge of wood as a material. He is familiar with wood’s path, stage by stage, from the forest to the end product, and is eager to share his knowledge in order to enhance the use of sawn timber.  

Jaakko and Osmo inspect the log quality.

Jaakko and Osmo inspect the log quality. 

“There is insufficient awareness of wood as a material, and it is not always used correctly; the quality and size of sawn timber must always be carefully selected for each end use. Exterior timber cladding, for example, lasts well over 100 years if it is made from a high-quality product and is well taken care of. Exterior cladding boards that are 16-mm thick cannot endure the elements and time the same way that 28-mm-thick boards can,” Jaakko stresses. 

When asked about his hobbies, Jaakko says finding things to do is never a problem, with two small children and a home farm in Vesanto to tend to. Taking care of one’s own forest means keeping a hand on both a string trimmer and a Pottiputki planting tool.

“For me, a chainsaw is useless in forestry work, and if you have to use it, it means something has gone wrong,” says Jaakko, explaining his forestry principles.

He considers the strong safety approach that has been highlighted at Koskisen to be very important, as it results in a lot of other improvements as the operations develop.

“At first I also wondered why sensible people rant about safety issues, until it all became clear to me. General order and tidiness, a systematic approach and discipline improve the overall quality of operations, boost productivity and keep basic matters in check,” he says.

Jaakko, who has an air of strength and calmness about him, appreciates the same things in working life that most of us Finns value:

“Doing what was promised and without having to be reminded. Good team spirit is also important, and it’s okay to have fun at work, too,” he says.

Although Jaakko is taking over for Osmo, at least the two men share a similar sawyer’s outlook, sense of humour and understanding of the industry. Osmo has moved on to project work and he wishes Jaakko success. Osmo gets a twinkle in his eye as he recalls his first summer job at Koskisen.

“It was 1962, and I was hired to float logs at Lake Hähkäjärvi. Back then, the sawmill’s logs were measured by hand and sorted into the right compartment in the lake. A tractor with the words ‘Volvo Varning’ on the back was used to lift the logs onto the feed table.

“Having gone to grammar school, I understood enough Swedish to know that it wasn’t the real name of the tractor, even though my buddies didn’t believe me,” recalls Osmo.

Times sure have changed, even in the sawmilling industry, and the same goes for the way things are done. It will be interesting to see what stories Jaakko will share after a few decades have passed.