“As one of the leading companies in the global paper industry UPM has an advanced management style and comprehensive experience in industrial production. Our business relationship gives us an excellent opportunity to develop our own practices as well,” says Mr Meng Xiang Feng from Asian Sage, the owner and CEO of the company.
Asian Sage manufactures blade devices, dewater and sealing elements, fibre reinforced products and composites like fiberglass and carbon fibre. The company started its co-operation with UPM at the Changshu paper mill in 2008 and since then it has become the main supplier for UPM in this field in China.
Mr Meng welcomes UPM’s well-designed audit process that has helped Asian Sage to improve management systems and increase production efficiency.
“We have been able to strengthen our relationships with our employees throughout the course of developing the work environment and reforming our social benefit system. Thanks to the audits, we have also managed to strengthen our position in environmental and social issues.”
The main targets of the audits are to improve company management and the quality of products but also to make improvements in health and safety of employees and social and environmental responsibility.
Petri Riihinen, Quality and Supply Development Manager at UPM confirms that the target is to continuously improve relationships with suppliers. “So far, unsafe working practices such as lacking personal protective equipment or excessive working hours have been the most common findings in the audits,” he notes.
Normally, suppliers are willing to improve their operations independently but UPM is also providing help for the companies.
“This development brings along mutual benefits for both partners but also for employees and for the society in general. Such positive and continuous improvement strengthens the relationship and co-operation between all parties.”
Local suppliers are capable of providing their products and services at more competitive prices compared to international operators. “However, we have to give suppliers guidance on our high standards and work together to meet them,” Riihinen concludes.