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30 Fabulous Companies Of The Year

Into The Woods: ICT Firm MHG Systems Oy Ltd Innovates to Keep Pace, Looks to Go Global

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We have a very good reputation in the market, being the pioneer of most complete, easy to use, low cost-high impact forest management solutions: Seppo Huurinainen

The capacity of digital technology to change lives, economies, cultures and societies is universally accepted. The internet and associated information and communications technologies have created digital networks through which flow large amounts of information. Unlike previous technological revolutions, information is now the central component around which technologies revolve. This results in new modes of business, communication and governance in many societal domains, including the environmental.

In light of the above mentioned, we are delighted to present MHG Systems Oy Ltd – a pioneer in management solutions for forestry and bioenergy supply chain and logistics. The firm innovates through integrating open software technology with years of field experience in the forestry and biomass business. The combination results in agile and user-friendly IT services, aimed at facilitating flexible and resilient business models in the rapidly changing business environment. Remote sensing services for forest asset management, mobile solutions and fieldwork management are at the core of our services.

MHG Systems was established in 2005 and is headquartered in Mikkeli, Finland.

Interview Excerpt: Seppo Huurinainen, Founder/CEO

Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?

I was struggling to manage my 1000 hectare of forest property in an easy and profitable way. Almost 13 years ago, the vision named MHG Systems started developing in Mikkeli, Finland to kill this problem and revolutionize the forest and biomass supply chain business through digital services. My forest property works as a ‘sandbox’ to test MHG’s ICT services.

What challenges did you face in your initial years? What can your peers learn from it?

Doing entrepreneurship is not easy and requires a lot of personal motivation and patience. One of the most important things is to continuously motivate the team and keep product and business development rolling even in constrained circumstances.

Any aspiring entrepreneur should have motivation and patience at the highest level. In early days it is normal that an entrepreneur fails in many projects/negotiations. But one needs to learn from failures and keep the courage to move on. Another important aspect is the vision. An entrepreneur should have the vision and a trust on himself/herself with a clear roadmap for both product and business development of the business. 

“Earning trust and respect of consumers all around the world is through consistent focus on delivering high quality in all of our actions.” How do you interpret this statement?

At MHG Systems, we are developing visionary services, so sometimes we face problems with some prospective clients in international markets, who are little hesitant to implement our services as they have to adopt new operational practices by throwing old and orthodox methods. But cost-benefit analysis of our services overcome this problem and makes it easy for international clients to take our solutions.  

Customer service varies, but companies can still be successful. How do you maintain your customers’ trust and loyalty?

We have a dedicated customer support team to serve our customers. The aim of the team is to deliver the best customer experience. We usually perform surveys with our customers in order to continually improve our service. We think it is essential to maintain good customer relationship to become a successful business.   

What do you feel are the reasons behind your company’s reputation?

MHG Systems is the pioneer in developing IT solutions for Forestry and Bio-energy sector. It offers full digital service from forest management to biomass end utilization.

Apart from our strong commercial operations, one thing is worth noting is our success rate in acquiring EU research projects. This proves our capability of developing the most cutting-edge ICT solutions for forestry and biomass industry. In this direction, some achievements are successful funding injections from multiple EU research projects (LogistEC, CASTLE, SLOPE & Databio projects) and EU H2020 SME phase I, in total €1M.  

How does your company contribute to the global IT platform?

We are developing novel solutions and big data services for Forestry and Biomass sector. Within the forestry sector, we are the first one to offer such kind of solutions at commercial level. This indicates we are contributing the global IT development with a focus on our target industry.

People like when companies are involved in social welfare/CSR activities, what do you say about this?

Yes, creating a positive impact in the society is important indeed. We usually conduct various forestry related educational programs to teach local foresters and students about the sustainable management of forests. Every year MHG Systems takes many students from local and European Universities to host their professional training programs as well. Moreover, we strongly ensure environmental sustainability in our daily operations. 

Do you have any new products ready to be/getting ready to be launched?

Innovation is one of the main pillars for us to stay ahead of the pack. We have embraced the value of the big data with open arms. The combination of software development and forest data from multiple sources will bring interesting new launches in near future. This includes the development of Forest big data as a service to handle distributed heterogeneous and very large data sets in forestry business, configure predictive analytics, integrating advanced visualization services as well as big data acquisition. This will enable a wide network of public and private actors to co-operate on the availability and quality of forest data as well as utilization of it in daily business and authority control operations.

As a question on sustainability, where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

Environmental sustainability is the core value that we aim to deliver through our services. Our aim in future is to digitalize forest business while making it more profitable along with tree-wise monitoring solutions (this can keep forest property in good health). Another key goal is to build and deliver a visionary Forest One-Stop solution to disrupt the forest industry, where all types of forestry data are available with just one click. Multiple forestry data linked and processed into one web-service.

The Brain Behind The Operation

Seppo Huurinainen: Seppo has more than 35 years of experience in IT and forestry business. Apart from years of experience in forest management, he has a broad academic background in GIS, IT and silviculture with 5 university level degrees. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, he held various development and research positions within the forest and agriculture industry and worked for organisations such as the Finnish Forest and Park Service, Metla, the Forestry Centre, Metsäliitto, Stora Enso, and the National Board of Education. 

“We are committed to deliver best value from your forest asset taking into account responsibility and sustainability.”