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June 5, 2009

Inside the Nokia N97 factory tour

SALO, FinlandFactory visits aren’t usually high up the agenda for us at Conversations, but when the chance came to visit the facility responsible for bringing the N97 to life came up, we simply couldn’t turn it down. Carita did the decent thing and trekked over to Salo to shoot the footage and check out how it all works. The early start wasn’t an issue with the opportunity ahead of her of seeing the first N97s rolling off the production line. Stepping into the Salo facility was like stepping into a whole new world – the platform 9 and a half of mobile phones.

Packed with cutting edge kit, much of the Salo factory is out of bounds. With tight security, waving a camera around wasn’t the best thing to do, but thankfully we got the full backing and support of the man responsible for physically bringing the N97 to life, Mikko Ristola. With the slinky moniker of Lifecycle Demand Supply Network Manager, Mikko demonstrated the production process. Salo takes the components built in Beijing and does the final assembly of the device, before taking care of packing and shipping.

Once assembly is complete, and the device is boxed up alongside the myriad cables and manuals (the N97 box is one of the smallest I’ve seen, for such a big device – about the same size as an N85 box) it moves into the logistics centre. About five per cent of the devices produced get diverted to QA for final checking. There the sales package is opened and checked and a series of tests done on the device to ensure quality is where it should be. The other 95 per cent get put through X-ray to ensure all the elements are in place before they’re moved to the truck.

Every device is scanned, checked and documented before it leaves. Carita was hoping to see a few spare pallets sitting around which she could bring back for Conversations readers, but alas it wasn’t to be. Sorry guys, it seems there’s a waiting list in each of the 75 launch countries so all the ones being made are already spoken for.

We at Conversations were really pleased to get the opportunity to see inside the production of one of the most important, and impressive, devices to ever come out of a Nokia factory. It seems you were too, with over 85,000 views of our factory tour video since we published it on Tuesday. Here it is again if you haven’t seen it. And, let us know what you think about this kind of insight – would you like to see more of it?