Finnharvest run by eight Piironen brothers has grown into one of the most prominent forest machine companies in Finland.
The tale of the company began in the end of the 1960’s when the father Sulo Piironen established Palokin Puunsiirto, later renamed Piironen Ltd. The beginning of the 21st century saw the emergence of FinnHarvest, which focused on storm-damaged forests and harvesting outside Finland. The two companies existed side by side until 2016, when all forestry business was transferred to FinnHarvest.
– Our vision is to be a forestry house with a full range of services. The customers get most services from one counter: forest harvesting, forest maintenance and island forest harvesting, CEO Esa Piironen says.
Piironen points out that manufacturing of wooden products is on the increase. The company’s vision is to improve the production of high-quality timber for sawmills and bio energy plants.
– Forests are the green gold of Finland! We are making a positive impact on the environment by thinning forests and increasing the forests’ carbon sink potential.
During the 1990’s recession, with the company’s yard filled with brand new machinery, the resilience of FinnHarvest was put to a real test. At the same time, the biggest customer ceased to operate and interest on foreign currency loans rocketed to over 15 percent.
– Those were the days we as brothers learned to collaborate with passion. We decided not to let the recession daunt us but set out to look for work. In the end, we found forestry work in Ilomantsi, Eno and Värtsilä, Piironen recollects.
Living in a camper, the brothers worked 12-hour days six days a week managing to scrape together enough Finnish Marks to prevent the banks from taking over the machines.
Harvesting storm-damaged forests in Germany in 2000 triggered the company’s international expansion. Since then, the company has been receiving orders from abroad on a regular basis. A job well done is the best possible reference, generating also periodical harvesting projects outside Finland.
According to Anssi Nykänen, Financial director of the company, the outstanding growth rate of the company is the result of systematic work.
– The decision to look outside the company for help to boost growth has yielded benefits to the company. It became clear to us that to profit from the existing growth potential we should not attempt to manage everything on our own.
According to Nykänen, employee satisfaction is a key element of growth. Finnharvest has made the wellbeing of employees one of their top priorities ensuring that they are able to cope with their daily field tasks to the full satisfaction of the customers.
– As the company grows, the volume of trees felled by each of the brothers is no longer relevant. What matters is to transmit the brothers’ enthusiasm and love for the branch to the employees.
Even today, the advice given to his sons by Sulo Piironen remains one of the strategic guidelines of the company: When you work, make sure you can go back and proudly say “I did this”.
Text: Minna Akiola