Picture: Jarkko Rikkonen was the main responsible product developer for the cold cuts that  are now produced in Mikkeli, Kristianstad, Halmstad and Jelgava.

Cold smoked pork loin, air dried ham and dry salted bacon – they all are Nordic Butcher products that call for craftmanship and high knowledge of meat origin, so they are definitely leading the way straight back to HKScan’s roots. This is what HKScan’s Product Development team, Charcuterie, wanted to reach when starting the product development work. Team, consisting of six professionals from Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Poland, was set up in June 2017. All six professionals have extensive knowhow in meat product processing, but they are specialized in different areas.

“Same consumer needs arise across different markets, so we developed products that would serve all. We have made products within the same concept, but the products can be different in Finland and Sweden, says Carina Lauer, Project Manager and Product Development Manager of Team Charcuterie.

Five countries, numerous ways of communication

According to Carina Lauer, it’s important to involve all team members straight from the beginning. “It’s the best way to get people committed”, she points out.

So, what happens when true professionals in different areas of meat production come together? With the help of Skype meetings, they started developing a brand-new concept, and Nordic Butcher was born.

Open communication is key to success: the whole team gets together at monthly Skype meetings, where, for example, also marketing and other planning take place. Totally new ways of working together was found too, including for example a joint digital workspace.

Interestingly, not all team members have met in real life to this day. But it won’t slow these experts down, as there are many means of communication – smaller meetings are held, and daily phone calls, emails and other messages do the trick.

“It’s important to talk to each other. One phone call might last just ten minutes but it’s much better to call than wait with your question for one big Skype meeting”, says Lauer.

Success: Massive consumer demand

Most importantly, customers have found Nordic Butcher products. They sell well, which is naturally the best indicator for Lauer and the whole team. Actually, products were so popular that it created a bit of a challenge right after they were launched:

“Products were sold more than we thought so they ran out of stores immediately. Production time took 10 weeks in one of these products, so we couldn’t give the customers all they wanted. That was a big hassle”, Lauer says.

Luckily, production capacity was quickly increased. Other minor challenges have been solved, thanks to open communication.

Project result: Warm spirit, One HKScan

In Lauer’s opinion, the project has increased not only the team spirit of Team Charcuterie but also other parts of HKScan.

“We’ve got to know many colleagues from different countries, also outside of this team. It helps a lot when you know who to contact in different situations. You just pick a phone and ask”, Lauer says.

The work of this international team is still on-going. So, who knows, what comes next?

“They are working hard, and we cannot wait to launch some other products in the future.”