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Case Junnikkala

Knowledge-based management is critical for rapid growth

The internationally successful wood processing company Junnikkala Oy is set to almost double its production capacity with a new state-of-the-art sawmill. Digia helped Junnikkala overhaul its production reporting system and the technical platform it is based on. Knowledge-based management and high-quality reporting are critical, especially in times of transition, says Junnikkala’s Chief Financial Officer Harri Stavén.

Junnikkala Oy, based in Finland, is one of the most modern mechanical wood processing companies in the world. Founded in Ostrobothnia in 1960, the family-run company currently operates two sawmills, one in Kalajoki and the other in Oulainen. Approximately 60 per cent of the company’s products are exported to other European countries, North Africa, Asia and elsewhere. In addition to modern production processes, another ace up the company’s sleeve is the exceptional strength and quality of northern timber. Junnikkala products have an excellent reputation in demanding markets such as Japan. With the turn of the New Year, Junnikkala’s business operations are expanding significantly.

“Our new, extremely modern and efficient sawmill in Oulu is nearing completion. It will have an annual production capacity of about 350,000 cubic metres, doubling our overall production output”, says Junnikkala’s Chief Financial Officer Harri Stavén. With this enormous investment, an overhaul of Junnikkala’s reporting system became a necessity. “Knowledge-based management is very important to us. When the new plant comes online, we need a precise picture of what’s happening in all production and business processes”, Stavén emphasises.

Junnikkala wanted to bring an experienced and capable partner on board to implement a new, high-quality reporting system and associated technical platform with an eye on long-term development. According to Systems Manager Jari Jokinen, the company was impressed by Digia’s expertise in the tendering stage. Digia was selected to carry out the project, and work on the system began in November 2022.

What we did

What we used

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft Power BI
  • Snowflake
Knowledge-based management is very important to us. Management reporting plays a big role in ensuring we can manage our operations efficiently.

Harri Stavén, Chief Financial Officer, Junnikkala

The new reporting system directly benefits Junnikkala’s business operations

The project began with the creation of an entirely new reporting platform for Junnikkala. Previously, the company used three separate reporting systems, but now the aim was to centralise all reporting into one modern, cloud-based platform. Digia built the system in the Microsoft Azure cloud service. Additionally, the system also utilises Microsoft Power BI technology and a Snowflake database.
“Setting up the reporting platform and infrastructure was a major achievement for the project. Now we know the groundwork has been done and has been done well”, Stavén says. With a high-quality platform in place, it was time for the first reporting module. The module centralises all relevant production and inventory data in one place and presents it in a clear and informative way.
Jokinen explains that the numbers were always available through the separate ERP systems, but the process was manual and slow, and it was hard to bring it all together into a useful overview.
“Now, we can easily see the whole picture of our production. We have an effective view of the performance of each plant and production line in the past few days, and we can look at longer-term trends to support our decision-making”, Stavén explains. When challenges crop up, the reporting system provides an easy way of digging deeper into the numbers and finding the root causes.
The availability of data was improved by importing reports to Junnikkala’s Teams and Sharepoint environments, where they are easily available to users on both computers and mobile devices.
Stavén and Jokinen explain that the new reporting system opens up entirely new opportunities for monitoring and managing operations. For example, the reporting system automatically compares current production and inventory data against configurable target values. “Management reporting like this plays a big role in ensuring we can manage our operations efficiently and react effectively to various situations”, Stavén says.
Similar benefits also apply to stock management. “Whether you’re storing raw materials or finished products, warehouse space is expensive. Now, we have a real-time view of whether our inventories are going up or down, and we can react accordingly”, Jokinen says.
Project testing and deployment were completed in April, and Junnikkala’s two existing production plants are included in the initial reporting. Once the new sawmill in Oulu comes online, it can be immediately plugged in to the reporting system. This is important during the opening of the new plant.
“I know projects where a new production plant or line has been opened, and a few months later, nobody knows what was produced and in what quantities”, Jokinen says. Having a reporting system ready to go allows Junnikkala to monitor the new plant in near real-time as production commences and quickly improve and optimise production processes.

Development work continues with further automation and smart prediction

Junnikkala is extremely pleased with the new reporting system. Stavén and Jokinen give particularly high praise to the technical know-how of Digia’s team. “Digia saw the project through with impressive expertise. We didn’t run into a single problem with the technologies used”, Jokinen says.

“Collaboration was also frictionless throughout the whole project”, Jokinen adds. The difficulty of the project was increased by the scheduling requirements associated with the completion of the new production plant and the extensive industry expertise required during the development of the reporting system. “No matter what challenges we faced, we were able to work together nicely to resolve them. Overall, collaboration was seamless”, Jokinen concludes.

With the basic functions of the reporting system in place, development can continue on to the next stage. The reporting system can be used to identify points of improvement in processes and operating methods, especially once the Oulu facility is up and running.

Stavén explains that the company’s goal is to continue increasing the level of automation, possibly utilising AI in the future. “We are starting to talk to Digia about where to go next on the development front”, he says.