A little over a year ago Mari Pihlajamäki was facing a new situation – she was about to leave her job in a bank and start working as a Demand Planner for HKScan. The bold career change rewarded, or, as Mari puts it: “I am really pleased!” During this autumn Mari, who loves to challenge herself, has also become known for her participation in a TV show for amateur bakers.
“After graduating as a Bachelor of Business Administration I first worked in a bank. While working there, I continued my studies towards a master’s degree at the university of applied sciences and tried to figure out my next career move. When I spotted HKScan’s advertisement for a demand planner, I felt immediately that the position involving analytics and dealing with numbers was well suited for me”, says Mari Pihlajamäki.
Mari is part of a team of five colleagues, whose task it is to forecast the demand for HKScan’s meat products and ready-made meals. These forecasts are used to plan the production volumes so that right amounts of products, corresponding to demand, are brought to shop shelves at the right time.
A data processing system developed for this purpose is used to facilitate forecasts but, for example, Excel charts are frequently used, too. Also, close cooperation with the sales department is essential.
“The work is responsible and varied and involves analytical thinking – all this is a source of great joy and motivation for me. Various festive seasons throughout the year and food traditions associated with them, both familiar and newer ones, set the rhythm for our work, which adds another interesting aspect to it. And there is always something new to learn!”
Working for a big company gives you the opportunity to continuously develop your capabilities, which is naturally very rewarding for the employees.
Analytical work is balanced by freedom in exercise and creativity in baking
In her time off, Mari likes to work out at a gym, take her dog Haru for a walk or go skiing. In addition to a diverse range of exercise, baking is a leisure activity that is important for Mari – in its creativity an excellent counterbalance to her work that requires orderliness and analytical thinking.
Her baking enthusiasm caught fire two years ago when Mari, inspired by her family and friends, started an Instagram account called “Saamarinkakut”, (‘Cakes by Mari’). Gradually, the account attracted increasing numbers of followers, which fed her baking enthusiasm further.
“Cakes are closest to my heart, but I have slowly mustered up the courage to extend my repertoire to involve other baking, too”, Mari explains.
Mari confesses that she loves challenges and trying all sorts of new things. She admits to being quite competitive, so it is no wonder that last spring Mari applied for the TV show “Koko Suomi leipoo” (the equivalent of The Great British Bake Off).
“It really took me by surprise that I was chosen as one of the bakers, and I spent a while trying to decide whether I really wanted to be seen on TV. I’m glad I went along with it as it was a great new experience!”
A leap to something new rewarded
Many people were a little surprised when Mari boldly decided to move from the familiar world of banks to something new and unknown – to work for a food production company. In Mari’s opinion, the leap to something new was definitely worth taking.
“I have really enjoyed working here. I get the chance to use my analytical skills and my interest in numbers every day – and to take responsibility. Also, we have a great team”, Mari says.
HKScan is a large, international company that is on its way to developing into a versatile food firm. The company aims at carbon neutrality, and the various tasks and positions within it range from the development of responsible primary production and ethical procurement to innovative consumer marketing. Responsible products and a sustainable way of operating are a central part of the company’s business approach, and this aspect further adds to the significance of working within the food chain.
“I recommend applying for a summer job at HKScan! I personally am very happy working here.”