New forms of cooperation amid the crisis
Alongside social isolation, cooperation is one of the key phenomena highlighted in the current situation. This has taken many, sometimes creative forms at Kiilto. As a result, new partnerships have been formed with organisations such as Pernod Ricard Finland of Turku.
Juha Suoniemi, Director of Kiilto’s Professional Hygiene business area, says that higher demand for hygiene products has been a challenge for production in many respects. Kiilto has tackled these challenges innovatively.
“We have adjusted our operations quickly to respond to the increasing needs of society. Flexibility has been required in product development, the supply chain and production staff in particular. International cooperation within the Group has also increased during the coronavirus crisis, with solutions being sought across national and corporate boundaries. Our staff have fully understood their crucial role in the supply chain for quality healthcare," says Suoniemi.
Manufacturing industry joins forces
As well as adapting our raw material and packaging purchasing operations, we have had to come up with some unconventional solutions.
”For example, Pernod Ricard Finland, which normally focuses on alcohol production, is packaging hand sanitiser for Kiilto. The contents of the refill packs, primarily delivered to the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, are poured into empty pump bottles, after which the hand sanitiser can be used normally. This cooperation enables us to get the product to healthcare workers faster, without delays due to non-availability of normal package sizes," says Suoniemi.
“In Sweden, we have engaged in similar cooperation alongside producers such as Absolut Company regarding the availability of ethanol, and Krämfabriken with respect to soap. A fast reaction requires the joint desire to help and companies that are ready to act," says Suoniemi.
Kiilto’s hygiene-solution plants in Turku and Assens in Denmark have moved to round-the-clock work in three shifts, and the Hankasalmi plant is working seven days a week. This has meant recruiting dozens of people at short notice, in Denmark as well as Finland. However, it is clear that, to join a chemical industry production team, you need sufficient skills and understanding of the business environment.
"Training people takes a lot of time and resources, so as to ensure safe and high-quality production. This is why we have put several ongoing projects on hold and tried to focus on efficient production," says Development Manager Mika Hara.
"Our staff have been very flexible under these conditions and trained new employees alongside their own duties."
Suoniemi believes that Kiilto's operating culture readily adapts to new forms of cooperation.
"We work in close cooperation with our customers in all sectors, and our culture is open to new ideas. Relationships based on trust built along the years and agile innovation have taken us to the point where we can hire eager, new employees, enabling us to seek new solutions in support of society in these challenging times. This is a privilege that we are not treating lightly," he says.