UPM plans to improve competitiveness of Finnish birch plywood mills

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2015

UPM Plywood starts a program to improve the cost-competitiveness of its Finnish birch plywood mills. Central plans of the program are to increase Savonlinna plywood mill’s production volume by adding new shifts and to re-organise and rationalize Jyväskylä plywood mill’s production along with outsourcing of mill cleaning. In addition, staffing at Joensuu plywood mill will be strengthen to open production and maintenance bottlenecks.

Savonlinna plywood mill will move to six day production week from current five days. Joensuu plywood mill has moved to the six day production week already earlier but production bottlenecks require still some additional personnel, UPM says in a press release. Operations at Jyväskylä plywood mill are planned to be improved through production tasks’ re-organisation and outsourcing of mill cleaning. The re-organisation and outsourcing is estimated to results in about 30 redundancies in Jyväskylä. The persons who may lose their job at Jyväskylä will be offered re-location to Savonlinna or Joensuu if possible.

”Our Finnish birch plywood mills have suffered from poor profitability already for a long time. High labour costs are a remarkable challenge in labour intensive operations. Especially the Jyväskylä mill has made losses despite the good market demand,” says Mika Kekki, Production & Operations Vice President at UPM Plywood.

”Higher production volumes at Savonlinna and Joensuu reduce the unit costs, contributing to profitability. The Jyväskylä mill has implemented several efficiency improvement investments on course of the past years. Those alone have not been sufficient to secure competitiveness and we have to turn to re-organization and outsourcing to address the issue and to secure the future of the mill,” he continues.

Employee negotiations regarding the re-organization and outsourcing will start in Jyväskylä on 14 October, 2015. The negotiations are estimated to be concluded by the end of the year.

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