At UPM, like in many other workplaces, daily work and collaboration routines have been challenged by COVID –19. How the suppliers have tackled this challenge was discussed in two roundtable discussions with a group of our suppliers. Suppliers represented various industries, but they all are labour intensive and visit customers regularly despite the pandemic. The discussions were organised by our sourcing, responsibility and Occupational Health and Safety teams together.
The focus of discussions was on employees’ health and safety and thanks to small teams, the spirit was open and “learning from others” minded. All participants joined from their home offices which made the events even more cosy. Also, the planning of these events proved to be smooth and easy since people were able to join online, and no travelling was needed.
We discussed quite many different topics during the sessions; how to access risks, how ensure travellers’ safety during business-critical travel, how to run daily protective measures in different operations, to name a few. Various approaches that were presented by participants resonated well in the audience and generated further ideas that were discussed and noted down to be taken to own activities.
It seemed that the practical approaches in different companies varied a lot, but for all the safety of employees was the priority number one. Also, the importance of timely and accurate communication was highlighted by all participants.
We tested this approach now with COVID-19, but we see a lot of opportunities for discussing any other current, value-adding theme with our suppliers in the future. Based on the feedback, these discussions were very much appreciated, not only due to getting new ideas, but also because it was easy to join and contribute to this important theme. So, we welcome this kind of collaboration and hope that it will be new normal.
Merja Partio, Director, OHS
Kimmo Ståhlberg, Director, Supplier quality and sustainability