Story | 04/16/2024 09:00:12 | 3 min Read time

Behind the scenes: Customers and work development are salt and pepper for sales

According to Riikka-Emilia Karplund, Sales Manager at UPM Plywood, the quality, delivery reliability and expert service of WISA® plywood products create a foundation for sales that is reinforced by a responsible supply chain and reliable documentation.

Riikka-Emilia Karplund got her first taste of the forest industry while studying business administration at Lahti University of Applied Sciences. 

"A school project related to the forest industry sparked my interest in the sector. I applied for a summer job at UPM Plywood, and now I've been with the company for a total of seven years," says Riikka-Emilia, who started her career at UPM in order processing. 

According to Riikka-Emilia, her operational experience developed while working in many roles, and over the years she has been able to grow her own knowledge and understanding of the plywood business in different market areas. When she was working in the sales team, she got to know customers and participate in various development projects, so becoming a sales manager for Finland at the end of 2023 was a natural career move. 

Tools: teamwork, discussions, and anticipation

Teamwork with UPM Plywood's mills and experts, as well as communication with customers, is essential for Riikka-Emilia and her team to succeed in their work. Fulfilling the customer promise requires seamless collaboration, but that is also rewarding together with successful foresight, varied tasks, and development projects. In addition, daily tasks include planning and monitoring sales, handling requests for quotations and liaising with customers. 

"I aim to ensure that we deliver quality WISA plywood products to our customers in a way that enables them to serve their own customers as well as possible. We also invest in the development of digital solutions for sales, supporting our customers in their own system development," says Riikka-Emilia about her ongoing work to improve the customer experience. 

Towards strong partnerships 

Riikka-Emilia's goal is to build close and strong partnerships with clients, and together find ways to sustain and develop both businesses through challenging economic trends and cycles. 

"For example, the development and implementation of a service warehouse has provided a competitive advantage for our customers. The warehouse helps us to secure supplies even in case of disturbance, and the approach improves our delivery reliability." 

Beside quality, delivery reliability and expert service, UPM's responsible supply chain is nowadays emphasized. 

"Legislation is changing and demands on the environment and sustainability are increasing. We at UPM Plywood are helping by providing a reliable and responsible, third-party verified solution that reduces the concerns and business risks for both our customers and their customers," Riikka-Emilia says, referring to the responsible origin and reliable documentation of UPM Plywood's products, their supply chain, and raw materials. 

"Based on customer surveys, we have succeeded in terms of quality, delivery reliability, expert service and technical knowledge. In the future, the importance of our responsible supply chain will play a bigger role in developing our business together with our customers," Riikka-Emilia believes.  

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