Viking Malt, Osuuskauppa Hämeenmaa, Muovijaloste Oy, Ilme Oy
Luhta Sportswear Company, LähiTapiola Vellamo, Wipak Oy, Oilon Oy
VIKING MALT CHALLENGE FOR LAHTI VENTURE PROGRAM
Challenge: Viking Malt is looking for a more sustainable solution to deliver malt to our customers in a package that is easy to use and has an appealing design.
Viking Malt is a leading malting company in Northern Europe and a world-leading producer of speciality malts. We have malthouses in the Baltic Sea area in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania and Poland that produce 600,000 tonnes of malt annually. Over 60 different types of malt are shipped to as many as 65 countries around the globe. We service many of the world’s largest breweries but are also strong in supplying craft brewing.
Most of the malt is shipped in bulk containers but almost all malt for craft breweries is sold in 25 kg sacks, typically made of polypropylene or polypropylene-polyethylene plastics. The sacks are filled either with intact or crushed malted grains that should be protected against moisture, but the sacks should also tolerate moderate impact and light cuts resulting from logistics and handling at the brewery. Typically, the malt bags are palletised on 1,200×1,000 mm pallets with 4 bags in a layer, totaling 500-1,000 kg depending on the number of layers. Malt pallets should be compact and maintain their form to allow efficient logistics. Currently, the pallets may lose form in the logistics chain, requiring more space than what would be optimal. Eventually, the empty sacks are typically disposed by the breweries as energy waste.
The challenge for the students in Lahti Venture Program is to reduce the environmental impact of our small-volume packaging. This goal could potentially be reached in many ways: though the form and material of the packaging is not restricted, it should be easy to handle manually by brewers, durable enough, cost-effective, compatible with high throughput automatic packing and stackable on pallets. The total life-cycle of the packaging should be considered, and even new waste management strategy for the current packaging could make an impact. Finally, the packaging should not only be practical but also attractive, as we want our customers to be proud to have Viking Malt at their brewery.
OSUUSKAUPPA HÄMEENMAA’S CHALLENGE FOR THE LAHTI VENTURE PROGRAM
Challenge: Creating a customer acquisition concept around making young people customer-owners of a cooperative
Customer acquisition is a strategic focus area of every successful business, and as a business that seeks to advance we are constantly looking for more potential customers and customer-owners. The purpose of this project is to create a customer acquisition concept for Osuuskauppa Hämeenmaa, with the target group consisting of young people aged 18 to 25 in particular.
Young people are already consumers of the services offered by the cooperative, but customer-ownership does not yet speak to them to a significant degree. This customer group is important to our business, and we also consider them to be viable customers in the long term. They still have the most significant purchases of their lives ahead of them.
The starting point for this project is to determine how customer acquisition can be carried out in a way that pleases and interests this target group. Which media and situations would help us reach our target group the best, and how? What are the things that speak to them? We hope to gain answers to these questions from the perspective of young people themselves through this project.
MUOVIJALOSTE OY’S CHALLENGE FOR THE LAHTI VENTURE PROGRAM
Challenge: How to develop the service experience of customer companies in a customer-oriented manner while taking into account changes in the industry’s operating environment.
Founded in 1949, Muovijaloste Oy is a forerunner in multicolour-printed plastic packaging. Muovijaloste is still steered by the traditional values of a family business: a focus on the customer, high quality, a forerunner’s expertise and reliability. Muovijaloste is committed to the principles of sustainable development. All of our packaging materials are food-grade and suitable for either incineration or recycling. We are part of the chemical industry’s Responsible Care programme, a global voluntary initiative aimed at sustainable development. This is the most long-standing and well-established programme of its kind in the industry.
Now the company is seeking new inspiration for its operations and a boost to its sales. Muovijaloste wants to develop a service package to be offered to customers that will support the company’s acquisition of new customers and drive long-term customer commitment. The aim is to stand out from the competition primarily through the offered customer experience and quality of service.
Muovijaloste’s customers consist of food industry companies that use Muovijaloste’s products as part of their own products. The customers’ needs differ considerably depending on the size of the company, and expectations regarding access to information and the digitality of the purchase process, for example, vary significantly.
ILME OY’S CHALLENGE FOR THE LAHTI VENTURE PROGRAM
Challenge: How can we help bring together trainees and organisations and improve the job-seeker experience?
Ilme is a marketing and communications office operating in Lahti and Tampere providing everything a company might need to stand out from the competition. Ilme offers services for a wide range of needs, from ideas to implementation. The objective of the services Ilme provides and everything it does is growth, of the business and the working community.
Ilme attributes its success to its personnel, and day to day operations at Ilme are guided by how the employees feel at work. The company offers employees opportunities for growth and development both as individuals and as communities, and the company tries to make each day at work significant. The company welcomes new trainees on a regular basis, but the ways in which it looks for new talent are varied.
“Sometimes trainees contact us, sometimes we advertise positions and sometimes potential trainees are recommended to us. Unfortunately, our busy working schedule does not leave very much time for finding trainees.”
Now, the advertising agency is looking for input from students to solve its recruitment challenges.
“We hope that the student team will be able to come up with a solution that brings organisations in the creative industry together with trainees without geographical restrictions, restrictions related to personal relationships or other limitations. We hope to utilise recommendations and word-of-mouth within various channels more efficiently and we want to improve the company-specific job-seeker experience. We hope to be able to launch an operational model or process that could be productised for utilisation by other operators in similar fields.”
COMPANIES AND CHALLENGES 2017
Luhta Sportswear Company
Challenge: We are looking for concept ideas for our Torstai brand’s new men’s sportswear collection that is built on ethical arguments. The distribution of the collection will mainly be through digital channels.
Torstai is the world’s first sports brand to have a Fair Trade collection. Now Torstai wants to create a men’s sportswear collection (clothing, footwear, accessories) that is built on ethical arguments and complements the existing women’s collection. The distribution of the men’s collection should mainly be through digital channels (Luhta’s own webstore/customers’ webstores and platforms) with a creative and interesting communications emphasis on the ethical arguments.
The students’ task is to create a concept collection (moodboard, technical flats, material and colour suggestions) to be used as the design basis for the actual collection, as well as a suggestion for a supporting marketing and sales concept.
Challenge: LähiTapiola is introducing a new virtual service to Prisma hypermarkets that allows the customer to take care of their insurance affairs while going to the shops. We are looking for concrete suggestions on how to get customers to use the service.
LähiTapiola is introducing a completely new virtual service with the aim of giving the customer virtual access to services even when sitting on the sofa at home. The goal is to develop a personal service completely compatible with face-to-face service, but taking place via tablet.
There are still a lot of customers who are wary of using online services via computer or mobile devices. However, almost all our customers frequent the Prisma hypermarkets of our strategic partner S Group and welcome the opportunity to take care of their other affairs as well while in a Prisma. For this reason, there have been LähiTapiola service points at Prismas for providing service in acute issues and for pre-arranged appointments. The difficulty in this, however, is the cost of providing the service with a service advisor available during Prisma opening hours. For this LähiTapiola is introducing a new solution: we will bring to the Holma Prisma in Lahti a cube with built-in technology for the customer to contact our service advisor via video connection. This way we can continue to guarantee customers the opportunity to take care of their insurance affairs personally while doing their shopping.
The challenge for the students is how to get the customers to venture into the cube and press the button. During the pilot, we have noticed that when the customer receives guidance on how to use the new technology, there may be initial nervousness, but as soon as the service advisor appears on the screen, the customer relaxes and is very happy with the service afterwards. The students’ task is to design an easily approachable and exciting user experience and customer interface: how to attract and direct customers into the cube, how to market it and how to introduce LähiTapiola services to the customer inside the cube. The suggestion may include a design for the visual appearance and functions of the cube. The students will have the opportunity to interview customers and test their solutions during the project.
Challenge: We are looking for new solutions, technologies and ideas for recycling plastics. The ideas can be related to enhancing the collection of plastics or to new ways of utilizing the collected plastics.
Plastic as a material still suffers from the image of being unecological. From Wipak’s perspective, this has an effect on our image as an employer and on the attractiveness of the industry. However, the fact is that the packaging industry using plastics is constantly developing and searching for new, more environmentally friendly solutions for using and recycling plastics.
The separate collection of plastics in Finland started in 2016. Nevertheless, most of packaging continues to end up in landfills or energy production. The students’ task is to come up with new, innovative solutions for a more effective collection of plastic packaging and for new, higher added value products made of recycled plastics. Possible directions for development include new communications and marketing concepts, technological solutions and uses for plastics. Products made of recycled plastics may be developed for Wipak’s use, which would require observing the high hygiene standards of the industry. The students are also free to develop new products for other uses.
Challenge: We are looking for new channels and business models for the consumer sales of ground source heat products of tomorrow. What will be the sales strategy for HPAC products in the 2020s?
At the moment, Oilon serves consumers mainly through retailers (plumbing stores and ground source heat retailers). Oilon receives requests for quotes directly and quotes are given through the plumbing stores as a turnkey solution including the well and the installation. Plumbing stores also get inquiries about ground source heat products and they offer consumers one-stop solutions with a content similar to Oilon’s. Ours is a very traditional business and retailer relationships are typically long and based on mutual trust. New products are often introduced through a single retailer. The challenge in this for Oilon is that a valuable value-adding factor is relinquished to someone outside the company, leaving Oilon without a direct channel to the customers.
Oilon’s goal is to broaden and diversify its range of sales channels, with the help of digital channels, for example. At the same time, there remains the need to hold on to the company’s present, more traditional retailers, who are still of irreplaceable value in the business. Oilon cannot simply bypass the existing channels in selling its products and installation services. The challenge for students is to find a way for getting these many different sales channels and service models to work together. Are there, for example, new digital solutions available for this? The students’ task is to come up with new business models, service concepts and solutions for the sales of ground source heat products and installation services, while observing the prerequisites described above.