Japan’s passion for all things Finnish is nothing new. It’s common knowledge that far away in Asia, there is a general adoration for both Moomins and Marimekko, but who would have guessed that Koskisen also has its own fan base in Japan?
The Japanese, family-run company Maruka has been ordering sawn timber from Koskisen for many years now. The collaboration in this demanding market area works well, thanks to long-term work carried out with the trading company Sumitomo Forestry. Koskisen’s Chief Executive Officer Jukka Pahta and Director of Koskisen’s Sawn Timber Industry Tommi Sneck visited Maruka at the end of November. They brought with them both gratitude and concrete development proposals.
“Our visit was very warm and enjoyable. We have a long history together, and we both value our partnership,” says Pahta. During the visit, the companies engaged in a constructive dialogue on the Genban products supplied by Koskisen, as well as Maruka’s expectations. “We aim to provide even better service, which will bring us closer to the customer,” explains Pahta. The first development proposals received in Japan have already been put into action.
Japan is an important market area for the Finnish sawmilling industry, and for Koskisen it is the second-largest export market after China. Pahta says one thing was clear on their visit – the Japanese want to do more business with Finns. “The requirements are tough, however, and we have to think of new ways to improve sales and customer service,” stresses Pahta. “It was an eye-opening experience to see how different Japan’s market is and what their special needs are.” According to Pahta, succeeding in this market area requires understanding the Japanese. That is precisely why this was not Koskisen’s first such visit to Japan.
Tommi Sneck has visited Japan before and has extensive experience working with the Japanese. “We have close ties with them, and our collaboration will definitely remain strong – or grow even stronger,” he reckons.
The companies’ close ties are also reflected in the recently built “Kiitos Maruka” (i.e. “Thank you Maruka”) house, which contains flats for employees and was commissioned by Maruka to reflect the family company’s close relationship with Koskisen. The idea to give the house a Finnish name came from Maruka. “They contacted us and asked for some Finnish words that could be used for this project. We gave them a few options, and they decided on ‘Kiitos Maruka’,” recounts Sneck.