KIP Association celebrates its ten-year journey

Golden Test Tubes were awarded to Vesa Pihlajanmaa (second from the left) and Ulf Borg. Harri Natunen is not pictured. The awards were presented by the Chair of the KIP Association Board Stefan Brännkärr (left) and Board Member Olli-Matti Airiola. Photo: Jorma Uusitalo
Golden Test Tubes were awarded to Vesa Pihlajanmaa (second from the left) and Ulf Borg. Harri Natunen is not pictured. The awards were presented by the Chair of the KIP Association Board Stefan Brännkärr (left) and Board Member Olli-Matti Airiola. Photo: Jorma Uusitalo

The Kokkola Industrial Park Association, which operates at the Kokkola Industrial Park site, celebrates its tenth anniversary. The association was founded to promote the appeal of the Kokkola Industrial Park as a location for companies and organisations, and to improve the overall opportunities for business operations at the site.

“Kokkola Industrial Park has been a success in many ways but, in order to ensure its future success, we must continue to grow by working towards improved productivity and finding new ways to progress”, says Tuomo A. Rytkölä from Triangle Partners Oy who acted as a consultant when the association was founded.

According to Rytkölä, the KIP Association was founded at a time of major transition; the local plant managers’ came up with some visionary plans in response. These plans were implemented by OnePoint, Boliden, Fortum and then OMG Kokkola Chemicals.

“The Kokkola Industrial Park is the result of an evolution which was shaped by various ownership structures over the previous decades. This coincided with global changes in the industrial sectors forcing plant closures, even in traditional forestry towns. The plant managers in Kokkola understood that they needed to act quickly to find ways to unite the industrial park operators, in order to avoid the situation causing division”, Rytkölä explains the reasons that led to the foundation of the association.

Inspiration was taken, for example, from Industriepark Höchst and BASF’s Ludwigshafen industrial sites in Germany.

High level of expertise, improved safety

One of the main factors in the success of the Kokkola Industrial Park, in Rytkölä’s view, is the high level of expertise at the site. He points out that the current production processes in the basic industrial sectors incorporate many smart and high-tech elements.

“The level of education and training among the KIP companies’ staff is astonishing. The companies make use of some very successful continuing and further education programmes, and the educational institutions in the Kokkola region have considered the needs of the local industries with regard to the courses they offer. In Finland, the increasing significance of the knowledge and skills held by basic industry staff has largely gone unnoticed by the general public.

The high level of expertise on offer here is the only possible explanation as to why it is profitable to ship raw materials from overseas and then sell the manufactured products at competitive prices to, for example, the Asian markets,” says Rytkölä highlighting that the strength of the Kokkola Industrial Park is specifically based on the operations of the KIP companies.

The Managing Director of KIP Service, which provides services at the industrial park, and a Member of the KIP Association Board Olli-Matti Airiola says that, thanks to the association, many companies have discovered the benefits of a common operating culture.

“For example, shared operating policies can significantly improve the safety of the site. Through the work of the KIP Association, we have been able to share good practices not only in terms of safety solutions but also on environmental matters”, Airiola explains.

Three Golden Test Tubes awarded by the KIP Association

The first three Golden Test Tubes for contributions to the Kokkola Industrial Park were awarded by the KIP Association at its tenth anniversary celebration. The award winners were Harri Natunen, Vesa Pihlajanmaa and Ulf Borg.

When Natunen served as the President of Outokumpu Kokkola Zinc Oy and later as the Director of Boliden Kokkola Oy, he was the driving force for deeper cooperation between the Kemira and Outokumpu sites in 2004. As a result of this development, the Kokkola Industrial Park Association was founded in 2006.

Vesa Pihlajanmaa was involved in generating new service business for the Kemira site during a time when the ownership of the Kemira Kokkola plants was being restructured around a decade ago. He also played an active role in the founding and the initial stages of the Kokkola Industrial Park Association.

Ulf Borg had the perfect lookout post at the Kokkola Industrial Park when he worked as the head of Fortum’s Kokkola power plant. At that time, Borg was key in bringing the spirit of cooperation to the KIP site and served as the first Chair of the KIP Association between 2006 and 2008.