Logging on: Tradition and innovation in Finland

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Juha Vidgrén - Chairman, Ponsse, Forest machinery manufacturers, Finland

Ponsse is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of forestry machinery. What Einari Vidgrén started as a one-man-band in the 1970s has now grown into  a global business exporting to 40 countries, and with 77% of its revenue made overseas.

The company has made its name at the high-tech end of the industry, specialising in machines that can fell, process, and cut a tree to specified lengths before it even leaves the forest. There is also an emphasis on sustainability, with significant investment in new engine technologies, fuel economy, recyclability and the ‘remanufacturing’ of used components. 

Juha Vidgrén - Chairman, Ponsse

Juha Vidgrén - Chairman, Ponsse

Digital technology has been big news in forestry too – the newest logging machines make full use of information technology and Ponsse has taken the lead in ensuring that the company stays ahead of the game. The company has been using on-line technology since 1997, when the first data transfer from forest machinery to the office was made. And an example of how the company studies the use of digital information is their ‘Hack a Harvester’ event, with young tech enthusiasts invited to stress-test the IT driving Ponsse’s machinery. This didn’t just help Ponsse get a better grasp on cyber security issues for the sector, but allowed the company to brainstorm the opportunities for the sector in digital, mobile, and remotely managed technology, with some of the brightest brains in the field. An initiative like this proves invaluable to a company which itself makes the software and hardware used to run its engine management systems.

PwC Global Family Business Survey 2016

Interview with Juha Vidgrén, Ponsse, Finland


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Some aspects of the company, however, have never changed: like its culture, its values, and its commitment to customer service. Einari built the business on a relentless focus on his customers’ needs: “The best specialists are the machine operators. It’s important to listen to them: they have always been my best source of new ideas.” Ponsse’s new ‘Scorpion’ harvester recently won the Best of the Best award in the Red Dot design competition, and is a perfect example of how customer feedback has driven their product R&D and innovation.

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