Story | 05/03/2024 12:12:59 | 4 min Read time

Vehicle flooring visions: Generating value through digitalisation, sustainability and strong partnerships

Sara Steensig

Editor, Tulus

The transport industry is currently being disrupted with digitalisation and emission reduction as the main drivers for change. How can UPM Plywood support trailer manufacturers in this coming era? Sirkku Salmikuukka, Senior Manager for the vehicle flooring end use, shares her vision.

Digitalisation. Strong partnerships. Sustainability.  

Those are the first words that come to mind when Senior Manager Sirkku Salmikuukka shares her vision for UPM Plywood’s vehicle flooring end use. 

In the past six months since she took over the vehicle flooring end use management, Salmikuukka has been busy absorbing new knowledge and understanding the organisation and the trailer manufacturing business better.  

“Although I’ve been with UPM Plywood for a long time and I know the WISA products well, I’ve learned a lot. It’s been remarkable to notice how deeply our people understand the transport business through the value chain. I knew they were knowledgeable, but I’m still amazed by the level of proficiency!” 

Reaping the benefits of digitalisation 

It is clear to Salmikuukka that UPM Plywood’s vehicle flooring business stands on a strong foundation of long-term consistent work and high product quality, delivery reliability, strong customer relationships and end-use expertise.  

Each function – production, sales, supply chain management, product management, etc. – within the UPM Plywood organisation has its own KPIs, but the goal is common: an excellent customer experience.  

“Accelerating our customers’ success is also about how we work internally and our commitment to the vehicle flooring end use. We help them succeed by offering durable products with excellent performance, and we support them in optimising their operations and producing quality trailers.” 

With that in mind, the question arises: How can UPM Plywood as a vehicle flooring supplier keep on adding value to the transport business in the future?  

Part of the answer is digitalisation, which is pushing the whole value chain with incredible force, says Salmikuukka. It opens for smoother cooperation and enables UPM Plywood to make processes and customer communication more efficient, she notes. 

“Many actors are struggling with rising costs, tight labour availability and strengthened EU regulation. Together, we need to find ways of generating value from the opportunities offered by digitalisation.”

 

Crucial emission reductions

 

Emission reduction – mainly through electrification – is high up on the agenda in the transport industry.  

While electrification is crucial, it is important to look at all the emissions generated by the whole value chain. A shift from another flooring material to plywood can be an important step in reducing the entire carbon footprint of a trailer.

 

“Our product binds three times more carbon than we release during its production, so it’s a great alternative from a technical as well as from a sustainability point of view,” says Salmikuukka. 

For the many trailer manufacturers who already use WISA plywood for flooring, the main added value lies in the transparency that UPM Plywood offers. The third-party verified emission calculations show the emissions of WISA plywood’s entire life cycle from forest and production to use and end of life. 

When companies in the transport industry start to think about their scope 3 strategy for indirect emissions in the value chain, UPM Plywood has a lot to offer.  

“We have already made the calculations; our emissions are low, and we are constantly reducing emissions in our supply chain. Our promise ‘Engineered to accelerate your success’ extends to how UPM Plywood helps customers reach their greenhouse gas scope 3 targets.” 

Working towards common goals 

The success of WISA plywood in vehicle flooring cannot only be attributed to products such as WISA-Trans Mk2, WISA-Wire and WISA-TopGrip, loved for their strength, durability and technical performance for decades. The success is also about the trust earned through years of committed, long-term relationships with customers.  

“In some ways, we live in a world that emphasises individualistic values, and this is also reflected in business life. We ask, ‘what’s in it for me?’ when perhaps the more correct question would be ‘what’s the total value for this cooperation?’,” Salmikuukka describes. 

As complex – but important – concepts, such as the circular economy, evolve, a new level of collaboration is required, she stresses. “We must deepen the partnerships with our customers. We have a strong common agenda, and its importance will grow in the coming years.” 

 
 
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