Photo: Saku Ruusila/Riveria, Valtimo

When a possibility to join FOBIA project came along, the project team at the Riveria’s Valtimo School of Forestry was especially excited about the international opportunities it offered.  As training Manager Mikko Saarimaa describes:

– We have developed a skills survey and a training on systematic working methods for forest machine operators. We aim to increase the drivers’ efficiency with this approach. This, in turn, has a positive impact on the profitability of enterprises. Thanks to FOBIA, we can test our concept in Scotland, Ireland and Sweden.

The results of the skills survey are compared with the current qualifications of a forest machine operator.  As Mikko Saarimaa continues:

– Many drivers have worked in this field for many years, and every now and again it is good to evaluate your working methods. In some cases, the effects of up-dated working methods have been significant.

This is how it is done: An operator’s work is recorded on video.  Both positive and corrective feedback is given to the operator, and alternative methods are suggested for improvement. Next, the operator practices a new and more systematic way of working. This, too, is recorded, and it is easy to compare the two methods. The harvester’s system reports provide valuable data for this exercise as well. The results can be rewarding, as Mikko Saarimaa knows:

– Operators usually see the difference in results and are willing to change their working methods. The challenge comes with maintaining new practices because it is so easy to fall back to familiar habits. I believe our methods have a lot to give to small businesses that work as a harvester – forwarder chain, and we also offer advice on how to fully benefit from the harvesters’ digital systems.

– For us the most rewarding moment is when, inspired by the training, a company decides to starts a long-term development of their business.


Text: Anu Ruusila/Cordial Communications Oy