Current issue: 56(4)
Under compilation: 57(1)
The size of Finnish wood harvesting enterprises has grown, and entrepreneurs have become responsible for various additional tasks, resulting in networking with other harvesting enterprises of various sizes and suppliers of supporting services, but the profitability of the wood harvesting sector has remained low. In the present study, the financial performance of 83 wood harvesting companies in Eastern and Northern Finland was evaluated, based on public final account data from a five-year period between 2013 and 2017. The factors underlying economic success were identified based on 19 semi-structured entrepreneur interviews. The Business Model Canvas framework was applied in the analyses. In particular, the smallest companies (with an annual turnover of less than 600 000 €) struggled with profitability. They showed increasing indebtedness, suffered from poor power in negotiations, had typically short-term contracts, and faced difficulties in retaining skilled operators. Most of the small companies were subcontractors of larger wood-harvesting companies. The better economic success of larger companies was likely based on their capacity to provide wood harvesting services in large volumes and supply versatile services, power in negotiations, and more cost-effective operations. The future development of wood harvesting seems to be polarised: larger enterprises are likely to continue growing, while the size of smaller enterprises has stabilised. Enhancing business management skills and practices is required in enterprises of all size groups.
The aim of the study was to update the information pertaining to mechanized tree-planting activity in Finland in 2013 and its success factors. All businesses providing a mechanized tree-planting service were interviewed and asked to describe their equipment and activities, identify critical success factors (CSFs), and suggest areas for improvement. In 2013, 31 planting machines (18 Bracke P11.a, 11 M-Planter and 2 Risutec) operated by 22 businesses planted approximately 4.7 million seedlings on 2663 hectares. CSFs included expertise of planting machine operators, high quality planting, adequate amount of work, stoniness, and removal of slash. Based on the survey, some recommendations for improving mechanized planting work can be made. Firstly, improving the cost-efficiency of mechanized planting is necessary to enhance businesses’ profitability. Secondly, worksite selection is crucial as stoniness, stumps and slash debris diminish productivity. Lastly, the popularity of mechanized planting in the future will benefit from more marketing. Many businesses were unwilling to increase the area of service, invest in new equipment, or increase the volume of planting work but they believed that mechanized planting will become more popular in the near future.