FinnHarvest respects the forest and always listens to the customer.

FinnHarvest respects the forest and always listens to the customer

FinnHarvest’s history spans five decades. In this time, the company has extended its operations from the scarcely populated region of Savonia in Eastern Finland all the way to Central European felling sites. Working methods and technologies have developed greatly over the years, but the essence of forestry remains the same.

Established in 1969, FinnHarvest has grown into one of the leading Finnish harvesting companies. Today, the company has its sights set on the future while solidly maintaining its roots in the East Finnish soil and upholding the values of a family company: caring for others and adhering to the natural cycles of the forest.

Living off the forest over five decades

FinnHarvest’s story begins with a forestry contracting company called Palokin Puunsiirto that was established by Sulo Piironen in the small town of Heinävesi in Eastern Finland. In the early 1990s, Sulo passed the company to his sons. At that time, Finland was on the verge of a severe economic recession. The times were tough but the company persevered, building on Sulo’s original ideals and principles, which still hold true: honesty, modesty, appreciation of others and a non-compromising attitude toward work.

“Entering the 2020s, FinnHarvest relies on a little over 65 skilled employees, long and strong partnerships as well as the fundamental personal relationship to the forest, which lies at the very core of our existence,” says Esa Piironen, CEO of FinnHarvest Oy.

FinnHarvest sees the significance of its work in the well-being and preservation of nature. The proper utilization and maintenance of standing timber plays an integral role in the forest cycle.

“Simply put, operating in the forestry industry means that we humbly adhere to the cycle of the forest as well as help our partners do this. In dealing with renewable natural resources, we must have our sights set far into the future instead of pursuing short-term profit. We must respect the forest; this is the only way we can keep our business up in the future as well,” says Pasi Piironen, Chairman of the company Board.

Throughout its history, FinnHarvest has strived to support the vitality of Finnish forests. This spirit has prevailed, even though pretty much everything else has changed. The old stereotype of chain-smoking lumberjacks has been replaced by highly qualified professionals. Today’s forestry work requires an increasing degree of specialization.

“We keep up with the development of the forestry industry and its products and respond to its needs. It’s not enough to just fell trees and pile them up nicely by the road – you have to offer comprehensive service, and each link in the supply chain must perform optimally. A flawless process requires a complete, flawless team, and this involves new kinds of tasks and requires new kinds of competencies”, explains Otto Piironen, who is responsible for personnel matters at FinnHarvest.

Here for you

Harvesting is remote work in the true sense of the term. Teams are scattered around different felling sites, and it may take weeks before you see some of your colleagues. The nature of the work sets certain challenges on maintaining a unified team spirit among the personnel. The head office of the company is located in Kuopio. It serves as a home base, where everyone can happily return after on-site projects.

“For us, every employee is equally important. We don’t have any unnecessary hierarchies. We all have our personal strengths, and putting them together is what brings the best results. We don’t put employees in certain molds; we let everyone play to their strengths. As an employer, we help our people find their roles”, Otto Piironen tells us.

In keeping of the family business values, no one is left alone in the everyday work. Addressing issues openly, applying a flexible mindset, and being genuinely present are keys to employee well-being.

“We are genuinely interested in people. Even if we don’t have any actual vacancies at the moment, potential employees can contact or visit us at any time. We are open to various forms of cooperation, including with educational institutes. Recruitment is a continuous process and an important part of our work as forest managers. It is our way of securing the required competencies in the future as well.”

Continuous development means continuously developing and updating practices - both by the employer and employee. FinnHarvest wants to do things its own way and invest in things that it finds the most successful in supporting its employees.

“Supporting and listening to each other and combining different people’s different strengths help us avoid stagnation. Continuity is an important value for us, and it concerns both the forest and our company. A forest stays in good condition when the people managing it stay in good condition,” Pari Piironen notes.

Piled logs on the side of the road at sunset

Contemporary forestry service company building on traditions

As was stated above, today’s forestry work is more than just harvesting. Customers are looking for a comprehensive service, including such elements as forest management and planning. In a word, customers are looking for a partnership. This means that forestry service providers must cooperate increasingly closely in order to compile an optimal service profile.

“Companies in this industry are beginning to see that they can actually help each other through cooperation. In the future, the supply chain will be more streamlined, thanks to genuine cooperation. The partnership approach is one indication of the industry’s continuous development into a more efficient, environmentally sustainable direction. People want to secure the well-being of Finnish forests also in the future,” Esa Piironen says.

Today’s contemporary forest management requires qualified professionals who see and understand the industry from multiple perspectives. New challenges keep emerging, for example with digitalization. To successfully navigate this operating environment, you need a combination of practical skills, common sense, and high education.

“You must live in harmony with nature. A professional harvester fells a tree but wants to make sure that the forest keeps growing. Promoting and supporting the natural forest cycle is equally essential today as it was 50 years ago. During the time that I have spent in the forestry industry, the number of trees in Finnish forests has doubled. This means that there is more standing timber growing than being harvested, and this is thanks to good forest management. It reflects our relationship with the forest: we don’t want to leave it surviving on its own,” Pasi Piironen concludes.

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