An exceptional spring – how Oulu Mill has carried out customer support and quality testing throughout the pandemic

Published 23 June 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown us all for a loop, but even so – throughout the spring – Oulu Mill’s technical service and testing operations have carried on. We caught up with Oulu Mill’s Head of Technical Customer Service Pekka Korhonen and Printing Laboratory Engineer Annukka Kieloaho, to talk about how the pandemic has affected operations and what the future holds for customer support as Lumi’s production winds down in Q3.

Pekka and Annukka, how have the last few months been for you? How has the pandemic impacted Stora Enso’s technical services and the operations of the testing laboratory?

Pekka: “I’m used on visiting our clients and partners on a weekly basis, so all that has changed. As the situation escalated, we immediately switched to remote support.”

Annukka: “Throughout the spring, we’ve followed company and government guidelines closely. Outside of the necessary calibrating rounds, our laboratory team has had no contact with other departments or the production facilities. We haven’t switched to remote work but we have implemented extra safety measures for the testing lab to be able to maintain testing throughout the spring. Even though our customers could not physically join us, the yearly benchmarks have been carried out as planned. Lumi papers, once again, proved their worth.”

Annukka, could you please describe the different kinds of testing you carry out in Oulu?

Annukka: “Our laboratory comprises three departments: pulp, paper and printing. Our team examines and measures the qualities of pulp and paper and carries out various printing tests. We work closely with production, research and customer support in analyzing client feedback.”

What safety measures have you put in place throughout the spring?

Pekka: “To ensure the safety and continuity of operations, we have taken several precautions. Internal meetings, for example, are held remotely and movement between different departments within the factory is kept to a minimum. People not working directly with production or quality have switched to remote work, as suggested. These measures will be re-assessed after the summer holiday period.”

Annukka: “Contacts to other teams have been minimized and we’ve ensured that our breaks have little to no overlap. We’ve also increased cleaning and disinfecting.”

Pekka, how has the remote technical service worked? Have there been any issues?

Pekka: “Thanks to the new Snap Support application, everything has gone smoothly. Originally, this remote support was geared towards markets where we don’t offer local TCS support, but during the pandemic it has proven its worth elsewhere, too. With Snap Support, clients can send questions, photos and video to the Stora Enso TCS team and receive near-instantaneous support.

All in all, thanks to the high quality of products coming out of the Oulu Mill, there have been few issues.”

The production of Lumi is due to end in Q3, but sales will continue until the end of the year. Can customers expect to receive technical support throughout the rest of the year?

Pekka: “Our team of highly skilled TCS experts will, of course, be providing technical support to all of our clients as long as products are available.”