Current issue: 54(2)
Bioeconomy development will create new opportunities for firms operating in the international wood products markets, and identifying and exploiting these opportunities is emphasized as a key concept to achieving business success. Our study will attempt to address a gap in the literature on sawmill industry business development from the viewpoint of international opportunity recognition. The aim of our study is to provide a holistic description on how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the wood products industry recognize and exploit international business opportunities, and how they utilize network perspectives in this context. The subject was examined through Finnish wood product industry SMEs by interviewing 11 managers and industry representatives. The results suggest that SMEs recognize international opportunities reactively per se. Social networks formed in professional forums were an important information channel for identifying international opportunities. Through vertical business networks, such as sales agents, firms have been able to increase their international market presence and free their own resources for other important activities. Horizontal dyadic business networks were seen to facilitate new international opportunities through cooperation, while excessive reliance on vertical networks raised concerns and seemed not to be effective in international opportunity recognition. Institutional networks formed a systematic way of recognizing international opportunities, but more so at the initial market entry stage.
The use of network-based business models has been brought up as a means of creating com-petitive edge in the tightening global competition. In practice, adopting network-based models has not yet become common in the wood products industry. The objective of this study is to gain better understanding of types of network-based business models using a case study of two small and medium-sized wood industry companies in Finland (for a sake of anonymity named as A and B). The network of company A is found to consist of mostly of established actors with a new-in-the-market value creation system, whereas network for company B is more stable and has an established value system aiming at growth and incremental innovations. Both networks had experienced difficulties in finding partners and lacked some strategic resources. Via this example we wish to stimulate further research interest on the sources of network-based competitive advantage in the traditional wood product industry in a need of renewal of business models.
The amount of carbon (C) stored in wood products manufactured in Finland was calculated with the help of a model using wood harvesting statistics, product flows and lifespans in order to study how much C could be set aside from the atmospheric C cycle outside the forest ecosystem. The calculations showed that on the average 9.9 Tg C/a was in harvested timber in 1986–1991 in Finland. C emissions of timber harvest and transport were 0.1 Tg C/a. In production processes about one third of the C bound in in timber was released into the atmosphere, but two thirds was still bound in products. After 50 and 100 years, more than 40% and 33% of the C initially in products was either in products still in use or disposed to landfills. The wood product C storage was most sensitive to landfill decay rate and to the burning of abandoned products for energy, but not to the same extent to the length of the lifespan of products.
As Finland has neither coal nor oil resources, it has had to resort to large-scale imports dependant on foreign relations and especially maritime connections. When the outbreak of World War II broke these connections, the state had to institute comprehensive controls and measures to ensure the supply of fuels. The present article deals with the measures taken by the authorities at that time.
Although the danger to Finland of interruption in fuel imports had been pointed out, the Finns had made hardly any preparations to manage on their own. In autumn 1939 there was no reserve stocks and particularly vulnerable was the question of motor fuels and lubricants.
When the Winter War ended in spring 1940, it was realised that special measures were needed. A law was enacted that concerned both the revival of production and regulation of consumption. For instance, every forest owner was notified of his share of the fuelwood logging. The wood processing industry had been accustomed to maintain stocks of wood covering two years’ requirements, but these inventories, too, were depleted by 1944. The law for safeguarding the supply of timber, enacted in early 1945, invested far-reaching powers in the authorities, and the logging plans were exceptionally large in 1945-47. Controls governing forestry and the forest industry were discontinued in 1947.
In Finland it is necessary to maintain a state of preparedness. This applies above all to fossil fuels and particularly oils.
The PDF includes a summary in English.