Case: UPM Metsäni

An application for forest owners

Case: UPM Metsäni -mobiilisovellus
Client: UPM
Tasks: Service design, UX/UI design, implementation for iOS & Android, server implementation

Background and goals

UPM Metsä buys wood that is used as material for the company’s sustainable and recyclable products. Moreover, UPM serves forest owners by offering reliable maintenance services.

The company wanted to build a mobile app aimed at forest owners. The goal was to reach especially new and passive forest owners and raise their interest towards the value and ways to take care of their property.

In Finland, 30% of all forest area has not been properly looked after or thinned. This is partly due to the fact that 30-40% of forest owners live in cities or urban areas and are thus likely to be less informed and interested of their forests than previous generations. The mobile platform, it seemed, was a perfect way to reach this particular audience – and bring the forest closer to them, wherever they happen to be.

Before getting started, we built a strong project team together with UPM that consisted of top professionals from the the fields of service design, technology and forest management. We all shared the same mindset: the will to boldly create something entirely new.

The application

UPM devices

The result of the project was an application that offers an overview of the user’s forest and its value in an instant – all the user needs to do is to enter the identification number of their property and the built-in analysis tool handles the rest. The information includes the distribution of wood species as well as their age and an estimate of the monetary value of the forest. All this is done by utilising public data sources.

Another crucial element in the service was UPM’s expertise and customer service. The app includes an easy-to-read forest owners’ guide. Moreover, the user can communicate directly with UPM’s personnel in a handy chat. The chat window supports attachments, which makes process even smoother.

How we did it

The planning phase of the project began with a series of workshops, whose aim was to research the everyday lives of urban forest owners. Based on this, we created various profiles and customer paths, that soon revealed some of the biggest reasons to why so many individuals in our target group remain passive.

This enabled us to come up with a list of ideas for how to convert these people into potential customers. The ideas were then put into descending order based on how much real value they would provide to the users and how much they would really help them to make actual decisions on how to proceed.

After the main features were agreed upon, we began building quick prototypes of the service. By testing them we could see what aspects of our plans worked and what required more fine-tuning. The work was complemented by customer interviews that helped us make sure we were on the right track.

On the technical side we did research on open data sources and conducted various experiments to back up the designers’ work. Simultaneous focus on both UX design and technical demos made it possible to deliver the first version effectively and quickly – without making any compromises in the quality of the user experience.

UPM Metsäni is now developed further with the same agile attitude. The process is guided by the actual user feedback as well as the data collected to the separate admin view that lets UPM effectively monitor how the service is used now that it has been released to the public.

The co-operation with Taiste has been seamless and the development process was fast and smooth. They truly listen to their customers' wishes with keen ear and constantly keep us updated about everything that is going on. It has been great to see just how quickly the team familiarised themselves with the world of forestry – and combined UPM's expertise with top-notch usability.

Paula Savonen

Marketing & customer manager, UPM

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