Luck favours the quick. The quickest innovative people live in the Tuupovaara and Ilomantsi area. Listening to Managing Director Tapio Suominen as he talks about one-year-old Moderno Oy confirms this statement. The company, which produces log houses and cottages, has got off to a flying start – in traditional Tuupovaara style.
In spring 2018, Tapio Lauronen, who owns the Idän Metsäkone, bought over 14,000 square metres of factory space in Kovero, Tuupovaara. The former parquet flooring factory premises were perfect for this visionary’s plans. Lauronen established Idän Metsäkone in 1997, and expanded its operations from logging in the Karelia region of Russia to drying and planing sawn timber in Kovero.
Tapio Suominen was a shareholder in a company called HUT, which produced yard buildings. HUT purchased its wood material from Idän Metsäkone.
– During one of our meetings, Lauronen suggested that since the building had space for some new business, perhaps we could start processing the wood, says Suominen.
Tapio Suominen sold his share in HUT and began to focus on planning a joint venture with Lauronen. The next step was to invite Business Specialist Veikko Tahvanainen for a cup of coffee.
A functional concept
– Veikko Tahvanainen was already a familiar face to Lauronen, since they had done a lot of cooperation related to Idän Metsäkone. It was really important to have someone from outside the company at the table to shake things up and ask questions. We looked at things from many different angles, says Tapio Suominen, Managing Director of Moderno Oy, as he praises the functionality of the Business Joensuu service concept.
The men made calculations and refined the business plan last autumn. They also approached the local ELY Centre. Planning progressed rapidly, and Moderno Oy was founded just before Christmas last year.
Tapio Suominen lives in Hyvinkää, and spends 3–4 days a week in Kovero. He has an endless desire to learn and understand everything from the tiniest details to functionality of the whole concept. Suominen proudly presents the highly automated production: log lines, modern quality control, sawdust removal and waste conveyor solutions. The ingenious production design and logic and many technical solutions showcase the skills of local partners.
– I’m just amazed by the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit in this region! The area from Tuupovaara to Ilomantsi is home to some wonderfully talented entrepreneurs. I can’t find this in Hyvinkää.
Idän Metsäkone supplies the materials for Moderno, and it also handles wood drying. Moderno is responsible for large dimension planing, while Idän Metsäkone’s machinery is better suited for planing products with smaller dimensions.
Suominen points to the factory yard with satisfaction. That’s where Moderno has its “special warehouse”.
– In addition to logs, we use a lot of other wood material for floors, roofs and mouldings. The more wood products we can get from the same place, the stronger we are.
The Karelia region in Russia offers good quality, 6-metre spruce timber, and the journey from stump to warehouse takes 5–7 weeks. The entire supply chain is transparent and traceable. Kovero and Tuupovaara is an outstanding location in terms of harvesting sites.
When Tapio Suominen speaks, it’s easy to notice his passion for quality. He often puts himself in the “customer’s shoes” when talking about business. His way of thinking combines quality and cost-effectiveness, which is also beneficial for the customer.
– The company controls the production chain from stump to factory. All possible losses are minimised in logistics. We don’t leave the customer with any unanswered questions, because properly timed information is part of our service package. When we load a log frame onto a truck, all the right materials are right there on the plot in a very logical order.
Moderno also takes material efficiency and the environment into consideration in its operating methods. The production plant is heated with pellets, and we have a pellet machine operating on site. The team visualises new opportunities for utilising sidestreams all the time. One future goal is to start producing glued laminated timber, which would allow us to utilise shorter pieces of lumber.
– We try to process the wood as well as possible, right down to the smallest piece of planing waste.
A hot market
Considering that it began producing log house frames from point zero, Moderno’s achievement can be considered quite significant in terms of time frame. The first log was produced in May. In Suominen’s words, the team worked really hard in quality trying to get the “very last millimetre” just right. The first prototype building was ready by Midsummer.
At the end of November, several log buildings are on the floor of the factory – waiting for quick delivery to the customer. The company also has a 200 m2 villa in its order book. Moderno can deliver log frames ranging from wooden sheds to single-family houses and cottages to day care centres and schools.
– Our main market is Finland to begin with. Demand is good for cottages, and the market can even be described as hot. It also overheated at one point, but things are levelling out now.
Moderno is setting its sights on the export market as well. For example, France is high on the list in Tapio Suominen’s plans. France is one of the most important markets for the Finnish sawmill industry. Wood construction has a strong position on the government agenda in France.
“It was really important to have someone from outside the company at the table to shake things up and ask questions.”
Teksti: Sirkka-Liisa Aaltonen/Viestintä Ässä Oy
Kuvat: Jarno Artika