Koskisen’s Järvelä timber yard is filled with stacks of sawn timber and processed products, several metres high and covered with a plastic hood. Harvested in the forest, they have been cut into logs and transported to the sawmill to be processed into finished products in a number of steps involving drying, planing and painting.
“All these thousands of packages are ready to be shipped,” says Dispatch Supervisor Jussi Luomalahti.
Working at Ysi-Trukit, Luomalahti in is charge of dispatching Koskisen’s sawn timber and processed products, i.e. seeing to it that the right products are transported together with the right shipment to the customer. In practice, the dispatch chain begins earlier, when a deal is closed.
Once a deal is closed, Koskisen’s Product Director Jaakko Huttunen draws up a sawing plan for the products ordered by the customer. After that begins the actual production process, which ultimately leads to the dispatch of the goods.
An average of 1,500 cubic metres of sawn timber and processed products leave the timber yard every day to be transported both to Finland and abroad. The annual volumes of outgoing sawn timber reach up to 300,000 cubic metres. Managing such volumes requires successful production planning.
Janne Mäkinen, Production Planner for finishing and Jere Kylökäs, Production Planner for processed products, keep track of production and ensure communication between production and dispatch.
When the products have been sawn, the production planner informs the sales assistant and the dispatch when the products will be ready. Based on that, the sales assistant and dispatch order transportation for the export products and those destined for the Finnish market, respectively. The entire process is managed using three production management systems – MRP, ERP and Mekamap.
“It’s our job to oversee everything. Timing is the key in this job,” says Kylökäs, describing the role of a production planner.
“The objective is to get the products straight to the point of dispatch, thus eliminating the need to move the products to the warehouse. To avoid time pressure, about 24 hours should be allocated for dispatching the finished products,” Mäkinen adds.
The production planners, dispatchers and sales assistants monitor compliance with the schedule in their weekly delivery meetings.
“If we discover that the products will not be ready in time due to, for example, technical problems, the sales team will contact the customer if required,” Mäkinen says.
Once the transport has been ordered, the sales assistant makes a loading order, based on which the forklift operators pick up the packages according to the waybill in the order of dispatch established by the dispatch team. Usually the loading orders are given well ahead of time, about a week before dispatch.
As a general rule, work is carried out in day shifts, but during the busiest season, for example in spring, an evening shift will be added if needed.
“For packages that have not yet come out of production, the loading instructions are given to the packaging operator who picks out the products from the packaging stream and makes them ready for the dispatch yard. We dispatchers, in turn, draw up loading instructions for lots that have been picked out previously, according to which the forklift operators pick the right packages from the warehouse,” says Luomalahti.
After that, the products will be assembled and left waiting to be loaded into containers and trucks the following morning. All in all, a product’s journey from the sawmill to the freight carrier takes about two weeks.
Deliveries to Finnish customers take place by truck. Export products are transported by truck to Vuosaari Harbour from where a cargo ship takes them to, for example, Central Europe, Japan, China or the Philippines. The most far-away place where Koskisen’s sawn timber and processed products are currently delivered is Australia.
“The journey by sea to Australia still takes at least one and a half months,” Kylökäs says.
Sawing: Scent of resin in the air at the sawmill
Drying sawn timber: Drying sawn timber in chamber and progressive drying kilns
Sawn timber planing: Sawn timber planed smooth and profiled at the planing mill
Painting: Sawn timber processed on the painting line according to the customer’s wishes