More investments in industrial attractiveness and operational reliability
The crises have weighed heavy on the economy. Still, the situation of the industry and the supplying technical trade look good so far.
Companies are investing in new production, which shows in the sales of machine tools and compressors, for example. Here the machines’ energy efficiency and electricity consumption have become key selection criteria. Therefore, the outlook for engineering works and mechanical engineering remains good. Furthermore, new energy solutions, especially the growing use of wind power, also increase the demand for Finnish industry and related technical trade.
Thanks to increased order volumes, the situation is expected to remain good until the end of the year. However, next year is still subject to speculation due to the developing recession.
Supply chain disruptions have challenged the Just-in-Time delivery model.
The coronavirus, Russia’s offensive warfare in Ukraine, China’s corona lockdowns, and numerous logistical disruptions have increased the need to grow reserve stocks in supply chains. Returning to the old normal is not likely for some time. We are inevitably moving from Just-in-Time logic to Just-in-Case logic; hopefully, the shift is temporary. Delivery times have become somewhat shorter for components and production supplies, although availability still varies greatly, and delivery times still extend long into next year for some products. Companies are actively seeking new procurement channels, and there are also signs of production returning to Europe, more now than before.
The central challenges relate to the availability of raw materials (steel and chemicals), machinery, and components – and increased prices.
For Finland’s security of supply, we must understand how severe our shortage of manual labourers is.
A significant challenge focuses on professionals with vocational training. In the industry and technical trade businesses, this can be seen as a lack of workers such as installers, welders, machinists, and mechanics. However, realising this is not enough – we must take all sorts of action to ensure that Finland does not stop in its tracks.
We must place a higher value on vocational know-how and its teaching. Also, schools require more freedom to organise study places more flexibly and increase their intake. SMEs, in particular, have noticed that the resources provided by educational institutions are needed in teaching at the workplace. We need more support for apprenticeships. The number of young people and the working-age population is decreasing in Finland, so we also need workers elsewhere. Thus, the means-testing for labour immigration should be discontinued quickly.
Author: Managing Director Markku Uitto, The Association of Finnish Technical Traders
Technical trade includes importing and selling products required by the industry and construction, such as raw materials, parts, components, accessories, machines, and systems, as well as delivering solutions and services related to the above.
The Association of Finnish Technical Traders is an organisation that oversees the interests of technical trade in Finland and aims to promote the market and smart regulation. The association comprises about 400 businesses in the field and four member associations. The association’s member companies’ sales totalled 11.4 billion euros in 2021, covering about 85 per cent of the entire field. The member companies employ more than 20,000 people.