"Travelling is rough but it’s rewarding to see the world and meet new people."
Service tasks take you around the world
Olli Mähönen has been with Raute for nearly 5 years and has recently transferred from Raute Kajaani to Raute Pullman in the United States’ beautiful Pacific Northwest.
How did he get started in Raute?
Olli’s story starts in high school. Both of Olli’s parents are entrepreneurs, so Olli had an “automatic job placement” in high school and through college. He worked for his father as an electrician, for his mother in the catering business, and as a staff sergeant after his military service. He developed his electrical knowledge and customer service experience during those early days, skills essential to his current role.
While studying abroad in Germany, Olli fell in love with travel and decided to find a job including international experience. Raute service positions are based around travel, and since veneer graders are used all over the world, international experience is a job expectation.
With these foundations and goals, and with his four-year degree in Electrical and Automation Engineering from the University of Applied Sciences in Kuopio, Olli started to look for a job.
While Olli worked on his thesis, a classmate posted a Raute career link in their WhatsApp group. At first, Olli thought he would have to move nearly 500 km to Nastola for the job, so he wasn’t interested. But as he continued to look, he found a Raute position in Kajaani, roughly 40 km from his childhood home in Vuokatti, Sotkamo. This allowed him to live in Kainuu and be close to his family, so Olli applied.
Olli started his Raute career in May of 2018. After nearly 9 months in orientation and training, Olli traveled to complete his first solo startups. Since then, Olli has continued to grow in his knowledge of the company, the equipment, and the industry.
What are Olli’s tasks?
Olli’s tasks revolve around veneer grading equipment, specifically the Veneer Visual Analyzers and the Veneer Moisture Analyzers. Tasks include commissioning new equipment, maintaining existing equipment, advising and training customers, troubleshooting, software testing, and sales support. During service calls Olli helps customers understand grading possibilities, evaluate upgrade options, and inventory their spare parts.
Historically, all new installations were done in person, but the coronavirus shutdowns forced Raute to invent creative solutions.
When Olli couldn’t travel to a customer site in Japan to install a new Veneer Visual Analyzer – Composing, he worked from Finland to complete the first ever 100% remote startup. He spent many long days from August to October of 2020 video chatting with the Japanese engineers to help them install, mount, and wire the machine; show them how to tune the equipment; and train them how to use it.
In early 2022, Olli moved to the United States where he continues his service tasks with North American customers. He works primarily in mills dedicated to LVL production and plywood manufacturing with the Veneer Visual Analyzers (formerly known as the VDAs) and the Veneer Moisture Analyzers (formerly known as the DMAs and MVAs). The Veneer Visual Analyzer processes high-speed photos to determine each sheet or panel’s visual grade. The Veneer Moisture Analyzer measures and grades each sheet’s moisture content before it moves on in the production chain.
These scanners grade veneer more quickly, accurately, and consistently than a human could, allowing the mills to reallocate their resources to increase their profits and productivity. A visit from Olli or another service person increases the scanner’s value as Olli tunes and calibrates it, maintains it to avoid downtime, and teaches the mill employees to enhance grade thresholds.
What is Olli’s favorite part of the job?
- The combination of customer service and technological expertise, and
- The variety of tasks. The service position provides both office work and fieldwork, so every day is different. “Travelling is rough but it’s rewarding to see the world and meet new people.”
Started at Raute 2018
Bachelor in Electrical and Automation Engineering