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Close cooperation with Finnair for over 30 years
It was in the early 1980s when Finnair ordered headrest covers for airplane seats from the founder of Fiblon, Pertti Ekberg. Pertti was not satisfied with copying old models, and instead he developed a new solution for attaching the covers tailored specially for Finnair. That innovation was the start of a close cooperation, which has lasted for more than three decades and over a change of generation.
In accordance with their mission, Fiblon have acquired in-depth knowledge of Finnair's business and its catering services. Fiblon personnel are regular visitors at Finnair to see how the production chain works. Listening to employees and seeing how the products are handled in practice has given rise to several new ideas.
Close collaboration is only possible when there is trust on both sides. Inko Jansson, in charge of materials management at Finnair Catering Oy, is appreciative of Fiblon's proactive style. "You can tell that a clear factor in Fiblon's business idea is listening to the customers and making them the priority. I appreciate the fact that things are not just talked about, but sorted out. If something is impossible, you should also say so directly, and nothing should be left hanging in the air. There aren't too many suppliers around who are like that," says Mr Jansson with gratitude.
Finnair Catering has encouraged Fiblon to take part in product development and Fiblon has made numerous suggestions on their own initiative for new products and new practices. "Even though the products themselves are straightforward in one way, Fiblon's product development is very proactive. They are also able to respond to our wishes really quickly. Innovation is one of Fiblon's great strengths."
Management of the logistics chain ensures cost-effectiveness
Fiblon supplies Finnair with headrest covers for seats, numerous different types of napkins, and tray cloths. The volumes for these products are huge, so it is essential to optimise the logistics chain for reasons of overall economy.
All the products, packaging and logistics are tailored to meet Finnair's requirements. Product packaging is developed continuously, which helps increase the smoothness of the logistics and also eases the task of the final users. "Fiblon has taken on a lot of the responsibility for the whole process. From the supply chain aspect, it is an enormous help when the order lots and transport are optimised. These are big volume products - we are talking millions of units annually - so uniformity in the goods flow is crucial," states Inko Jansson.
In addition to Catering, when required, Fiblon is in direct contact with the Finnair department in charge of visual design, so that the appearance of the products matches the Finnair brand. In the latest brand renewal, Finnair's F logo was revamped on the headrest covers etc.
"Headrest covers may be small but they are something very visible inside the plane, so we wanted the new logos on display immediately. We got them from Fiblon almost on the fly."
An important feature of Fiblon's mission is taking the environment into account in every stage of production. At Finnair Catering they are also environmentally aware. "We are putting more and more emphasis on environmental matters and our aim is for as much of the products as possible to be recyclable. Fiblon provides us with plenty of information on the materials and printing chemicals and how they are used. They are also very in tune with the times on these matters," states Finnair Catering's Inko Jansson.