Fast forward for Nokia’s smart phone business


Nokia and mobility are practically synonymous. Everything about the company’s products implies and encourages life on the go, granting instant access to internet, email and, yes, good old fashioned phone calls.

From its early origins as a Finnish conglomerate making everything from toilet paper to wellington boots, Nokia has evolved into a pioneer of the brave new world of communications. Although it is a global household brand, Nokia operates these days in an increasingly competitive environment where the fast availability of cutting edge products is essential.

Finnair Cargo is a long-established partner in ensuring efficient delivery of both finished products and raw materials. Nokia’s Head Office remains in Espoo, Helsinki’s neighbour, and Salo in southern Finland is the site of a Nokia factory. Finnair’s extensive Asian and European network provides fast connections between production and the market place.

“We use Finnair Cargo to transport a variety of raw materials into Finland,” says Ram Kuppuswamy, who heads Nokia’s Salo factory operation. “They are a vital partner in our in-bound supply chain and we have close ties built over a long, successful mutually shared history.  

“Our parts come from various Asian countries like China and Korea where Finnair Cargo has developed and deployed extensive logistics capabilities,” Kuppuswamy explains. “We have shipped  quite a lot with Finnair in the last 12 months and are looking forward to growing this relationship.

“Not only does Finnair Cargo support raw material shipments; we also ship semi-finished goods shipments from our factories in Seoul, Nanjing and Beijing on Finnair. We ship our phones to customers in over 80 countries on five continents from Salo - apart from mainland Europe, we also ship into countries like the UAE, Nigeria, Argentina and USA.”

Speed is of the essence

Kuppuswamy mentions the fast lead times with Finnair direct flights as an obvious but crucial advantage. “When the material leaves in the morning from China, it will be available in the factory production line the same day evening.

“In spring 2011, there was an example with the Nokia N8 smart phone. As a result of the tsunami in Japan, we were going to run out of the cameras (with which the devices are fitted), but with the Finnair direct flight we managed to mitigate the impact on our lines significantly. If not for the Finnair logistics solution, our business would have been impacted significantly.”

In addition to the short lead times, Kappuswamy lists price, quality, availability, collaboration and security as key factors in Finnair’s favour. A no-nonsense Finnish reliability is also an underlying virtue – something that he has learned to appreciate during the year he and his family have so far spent in Finland.

“We are trying to emulate the Finnish spirit of not letting the weather stop us from doing what we want,” he laughs. “The weather is never bad, we are just not dressed properly!” 

Global connections

The key routes covered by Finnair Cargo for Nokia are Hong Kong - Helsinki , Shanghai - Helsinki, Beijing - Helsinki and Seoul – Helsinki. Finnair’s new route to Chongqing in China could also offer significant potential from Nokia’s point of view.

The company’s Salo factory is one cog in a global wheel that, at the last count, employs about 139,000 people worldwide. In 2010 the devices and services business employed about 60,000 people with 115 nationalities.

Nokia’s products have undergone staggering transformations, from the brick-like early mobiles of the 1990s to the latest elegant slim Lumia smart phone devices developed in a strategic partnership with Microsoft. The company’s stated mission remains the same, however: Connecting People.  

by Tim Bird

Published January 17, 2012

Category: Collaboration