John Deere drives with Finnish innovation

John Deere relies on the Finnish technology and innovation environment. In the 2000s, the company has invested more than EUR 30 million in its forest machine factory in Joensuu, Eastern Finland. According to Factory Manager Janne Haapasalo, quality and know-how are the key reasons for John Deere to invest in Finland.

 

“At the turn of the millennium, Deere still had a number of forest machine factories around the world. When the company acquired a Finnish company Timberjack, the decision was made to concentrate the production of cut-to-length forest machines in Joensuu. Since 2000, the design and manufacture of Deere’s cut-to-length forest machines has thus been mostly in the hands of Finns,” says Janne Haapasalo, Factory Manager at John Deere Forestry’s Joensuu factory.
Currently John Deere employs in Finland close to 700 people at John Deere Forestry Oy, which manufactures forest machines. Since the establishment of Timberjack’s forest machine factory in 1972, John Deere has produced more than 25,000 forest machines in Finland.


According to Haapasalo, Finnish know-how is valued at Deere’s HQ: “The level of basic education in Finland is high. Deere’s other factories do not have access to workforce that is as highly trained. The Americans working in Joensuu have said that it’s easy to start cooperation with new people here, as you can always rely on them to have done the groundwork properly.”

 

Attracted by know-how and risk-free infrastructure

 

In Haapasalo’s view, John Deere Forestry is a fairly typical example of a foreign production investment in Finland: “Because Finland is known as a technologically advanced country, similar examples are quite common in the engineering industry. Production-wise, the two main reasons for this are quality and know-how. Engineering products, such as forestry equipment, forklifts and special engines made in Finland are of extremely high quality.”


Janne Haapasalo further emphasizes that Finland’s attractiveness is also increased by the fact that the country’s infrastructure is less risky than that of many other countries competing for the same investments.


Investments in growth


In 2012, the company invested around EUR 8 million in a new assembly hall in its Joensuu factory and in the automation of the production of frames and loaders. In 2013, Deere was granted around EUR 2.5 million in investment aid by the Finnish government for ongoing and future development projects at its Joensuu forest machine factory. The construction of a supplier park near the factory site began.


The 12,000-square-meter Green Park, located in Joensuu, is the result of cooperation with the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and the city of Joensuu. A number of the Green Park’s companies are connected with John Deere’s production. The land is owned by the city of Joensuu, which has cooperated closely with John Deere Forestry Oy for many years. The company is the second largest private employer in Joensuu.