COMPANIES AND CHALLENGES
LAHTI VENTURE PROGRAM 2023 VOL. 7
Challenges to be revealed later on
LAHTI VENTURE PROGRAM 2022 VOL. 6
NP Housukauppa (NP Trousers Store)
NP Trousers is a 103-year-old Finnish clothing company. The company is focused on trousers and wants to give an easy shopping experience to customers. NP Trousers is traditional family company, known by many.
The company’s distribution network includes 10 stores, distribution partners and online store, which also targets the international market. Product development is done in Finland and manufacturing is done e.g. in Italy, Turkey and Estonia. Shopping habits have changed, people (especially young people) are shopping online nowadays.
Challenge to student teams: Today we talk about hybrid shopping experience, which is combining the best aspects of online shopping and traditional shopping in the shop/ in the mall. Teams are ask to solve how to combine the traditional shopping experience and e-commerce shopping experience in the best way related to clothing shopping, especially trousers.
Lahti Glass Technology
Lahti Glass Technology is the leading Nordic specialist supplier in the demanding field of industrial weighing and dosing systems for the glass industry. The company is one of the most internationally significant suppliers to the glass melting industry. Lahti Glass Technology offers weighing and dosing equipment, mixers and powder transport equipment, individual components, automation and control systems. Lahti’s services are plant and process engineering, start-up and commissioning support, modernization audits as well as supply of spare parts, and online support.
“From machine supplier to solution provider” How to change the image of the company from a standard machine supplier to a partner capable to solve challenging demands in glass raw material handling whether the question is about a greenfield factory installation or upgrading of an existing facility.
LGT’s offering has been formulated to contain supply of machinery or a complete batching plant or cullet return system or upgrade of those. Typically there is an extensive amount of information to be gathered before anything can be engineered and supplied. The big players in glass industry specify the demand but still there is room for clever solutions, which lead to simpler and more cost-effective solutions. The newcomers in glass industry are lost in a forest, what comes to raw material logistics and handling a glass factory. They need a lot of guidance and have a real space for value engineering until an optimum plant is created by design. Lahti experience covering apt 300 projects is invaluable and available.
How to formulate the service packages supporting our transforming message?
Offering of services to be created so that clients realize the huge benefits of collaboration in early stage of the project with Lahti. Pre-inspection, solution clinic, value engineering, basic design package, pre-engineering package, 3d-scanning service etc. may be the words describing this approach but there is the need to define the contents.
Arcos manufactures hydraulic cylinders, which are complex – oil operated, often heavy and large sized – and require special skills from the team employed as well as the facilities and tooling.
We are in process of rebuilding our operations from big picture to detail. In order to work in a safe, ergonomic and effective way, work posts need to be thought through.
Individuals working with assembly, service and/or repair for the products, everyday practical challenges are many.
Arcos wishes to design and rebuild work posts that fulfill the above positive development criteria and make the working environment more enjoyable and effective.
As output from the challenge we wish to hear ideas from the students based on their own fresh thinking as well as change of ideas with our employees.
As result we wish to see model layouts and tooling inventory for the assembly and service posts.
2021 – LAHTI VENTURE PROGRAM VOL. 5
Iitti Golf is an 18-hole golf course in the municipality of Iitti, 45 km from Lahti. There is a cafeteria and a restaurant in the area. Target groups of Iitti Golf are families, club players and players coming for special events. There is enough course capacity and free time available for a significant increase in guest players.
In addition to Iitti Golf, there is a club called Iitin Golfseura ry that promotes golf as a hobby and other leisure activities in the Iitti area.
The following services and activities are available near the golf course: hotel with conference rooms and restaurant, holiday cottages, Kymiring circuit, Kimola canal, open-air theatre (during summer) and other activities such as stand-up paddling, archery, horse riding and swimming.
Iitti Golf wishes to get more revenue from guest players outside the Iitti area. They have prepared and tested services for different customer groups. A variety of services are ready to be offered for corporate clients, companies, and organizations. These customized services are produced together with other service providers in the region.
For individual customers, they have piloted a few joint product packages with other service providers in the region. This development work now seeks final direction. It is vital to find out what services different customer groups value and are willing to pay for.
Iitti Golf needs to gain more understanding of the suitability and attractiveness of their service selections for individual customers.
– What services and activities are of interest to different customer groups?
– Are the services now available attractive, or do you need something different, something else? If so, what kind of service selections should be on offer?
– How should services and activities be offered and marketed?
– How should different customer groups be taken into consideration? For example, tourists from different countries (Finns vs. those from other Nordic countries or Europe), single players, couples, families with small children or teenager, groups of friends, work groups, young people, seniors.
We say that Lahti Precision “Defines the Future of Weighing”. During the last years we have positioned to be a world leader in fast growing digital mobile weighing service called mScales. This combined with innovative weighing and dosing technology for various industries have given us an excellent position in being in front line of industrial weighing services also in future. Lahti Precision has history of over a century and our 85 experts are continuing this in the developing company.
Food industry has been relatively weaker industry area compared to many others and Lahti Precision has not been able to achieve that good market position in that. In some cases, it may be a question of technology but often that the large global companies will come to Finland and supply the whole entity including the weighing equipment and services.
How could Lahti Precision improve its positioning in food industry through different business development actions? The group need to analyze whether the company’s offering and the customers’ expectations meet by the best possible way? What matters are important for the food industry companies today in doing buying decision and is this reflected from our marketing and offering? The group should also think about which kind of business model could be the best working today.
From Lahti Precision point of view all possible ways are free to use from desktop studies to food industry presentative interviews.
Do you recognize some new possible business possibilities in the food industry suitable for Lahti Precision considering the company’s technology and competences? Concrete recommended actions in areas of marketing, sales and business development for improving the market share and/or creating new business in food industry.
2020 – LAHTI VENTURE PROGRAM VOL. 4
Accountor specialises in software solutions and outsourcing services for financial and HR services. The group employs about 2.350 experts in seven countries. Our mission is to help our customers use the possibilities of modern technology and digitalization in their everyday work. The group’s headquarters is in Espoo, Finland. In addition to Finland, we operate in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Russia and Ukraine. The turnover of the Accountor Group was 245 M€ in 2019.
Accountor operates in traditional industry and business environment, where the new generation is entering the markets and working life. From a company perspective, the challenge is to ensure attractiveness among the new generation of job seekers and professionals in the future.
The challenge is to provide understanding about the future competitive advantages in the employer markets and to find possibilities and ways for Accountor to achieve and remain them. Further, the challenge is to provide understanding how the next generation of job seekers values different work-related elements and how Accountor can communicate and present their values and culture. Based on these, the challenge is to increase understanding of future recruitment processes and how they will reach professionals.
What a future recruitment campaign could be like – proposal for content, language, and channels.
Ferroplan Oy is Finland’s leading company for planning and manufacturing conveyor solutions designed for handling piece items and bulk cargo. We supply different conveyors, such as belt conveyors, chain conveyors, roller conveyors, trough-belt conveyors and screw conveyors. In addition, Ferroplan offers solutions for solid waste management and always ensures the maintenance of its equipment with FerroCare.
Ferroplan FerroCare offers 3 maintenance-related services to its customers:
1. Maintenance survey
2. Maintenance service (contract, on-call, modifications)
3. Spare part sales
Maintenance services and spare part services have a life long history in the company, but maintenance survey is a new part of the service process. Maintenance surveys basic function is to make maintenance proactive and make sure that a technology solution of Ferroplan or other conveyor line is working without no sudden and time consuming stops to the customers production or other processes. And when the company promises to provide “Ferrari-class” solutions, that solution is a combination of a high class equipment and high class maintenance service. We have now a need to define and visualize the core values of the survey to the customer and our company. We want to make sure that our customers get what we promise.
The groups need to explore conceptualizing of services especially from the industrial company point of view in B-to-B -business. We need to see how it would be best to offer and deliver the benefits of our survey to our customers. We need help to the following tasks:
1. Visualizing our current survey process to a clear blueprint linked to the whole service process of the company
2. Explore new opportunities to deepen the service survey process to the next level
3. Productization of the maintenance survey into a clearer, value adding part of the whole service package, from the perspective of both the customer and the company
The solution is not just visualizing the current survey, but to give us new perspectives to develop it further as a crucial part of the hole Ferro Care service package. For example in a format of Service Design Blueprints. But content before the format.
Sinuhe is a Finnish private family owned bakery. Sinuhe bakes in Lahti and delivers to 1100 custromers each week. The company also has 7 cafeterias/lunch restaurants and employs around 130 people directly. Turnover was about 16M€ in 2019. Sinuhe specializes in sourdough baking and avoids using additives in its products.
Young people (aged approx. 20-30 years) in Finland do not have a sufficient awareness of the Sinuhe brand and its offering. This is partly because Sinuhe is not currently active in social media.
The groups will develop a social media marketing program for Sinuhe. This will involve identifying the social media channels with which Sinuhe could best reach the target group of young Finnish people. Furthermore, the groups will identify, which unique attributes of the Sinuhe brand and its products are valued by this target group (i.e., “Points of Difference”) and develop a brand positioning, which will serve as the basis for marketing communications in the chosen social media channels. Based on this, the groups will develop recommendations for the content that Sinuhe could use in its social media marketing.
The solution will be a set of concrete recommendations about the social media channels and content that Sinuhe should use in its marketing to the target group of Finnish people aged approx. 20-30 years.
2019 – LAHTI VENTURE PROGRAM VOL. 3
INFORMATION ABOUT ECOPAL:
Ecopal Oy company is specialist in real estate energy efficiency solutions supporting circular energy economy. Our speciality area is heat recovery from wastewater. We deliver factory-made Ecowec hybrid heat exchangers and complete Ecohybridi systems ready for installation to property owners and contractors.
Ecopal needs to find the focus for their business and their marketing strategy.
Ecopal has excellent products. Challenge is to find the right market areas and targer groups for their producsts.
Solution should highlight the advantages of Ecopal’s products and services. Target groups are identified and the groups have their individual marketing strategies.
HÄMEEN KAUPPAKAMARI / HÄME FINNCHAM
INFORMATION ABOUT HÄMEEN KAUPPAKAMARI / HÄME FINNCHAM:
Häme Finncham plays a significant role in promoting interests of the commercial and industrial companies within the regions of Päijät-Häme and Kanta-Häme in Southern Finland. Häme Finncham has approximately 1000 members.
The low commitment of the members of the Häme Finncham in its activities is a problem`. Majority of them, apart paying the membership fee, remains passive. Members would benefit from collaborating within the network, taking advantage of the export advice and the international Finncham network etc.
How to activate and motivate the current members to participate in activities, and to take the full profit of the membership?
Identify the core benefits and make them visible to the members. The solution may include the benchmarking of the similar Chams for example in Sweden or other European countries.
JK PRO COACHING
INFORMATION ABOUT JK PRO COACHING:
JK Pro Coaching operates in coaching working with both individuals and larger entities. The company offers an extensive contact network and expertise in areas vital for building a sport ecosystem such as coaching, equipment and infrastructure. At the moment, JK Pro Coaching is focusing heavily on developing a culture and conditions for Nordic ski in China.
The company is involved in a ski tunnel project for a mall in China. In addition to sporting and coaching content, they have been asked to design content for the general public – a theme park for kids and adults, where one can get top-notch coaching or just have fun in the snow.
Create content and business model for a snow world in the ski tunnel. What is interesting for general public in China and how to make that profitable?
A well-rounded concept for a snow world that has both appeal to potential customers and promising revenue model.
INFORMATION ABOUT SOLITA:
Solita is a digital transformation company driven by data and human insight. We create culture, services and tech solutions that help us reinvent businesses and society for the better. Our services range from strategic consulting to service design, digital development, data, AI & analytics and managed cloud services. The net sales (pro forma) of the company amounted to EUR 76 million in 2017. Established in 1996, Solita employs more than 750 digital business specialists in Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Germany. Located in Helsinki, Lahti, Munich, Oulu, Tallinn, Tampere, Turku, Stockholm, around 700 employeess out of which 300 in both Helsinki and Tampere.
Agile way of working requires close collaboration, team work, trust and transparency. Solita also puts a lot of emphasis to the wellbeing of employees, which is regularly discussed as one of the topics in the agile teams.
The biggest challenges for employee experience in multisite and virtual teams come from the daily communication and the barriers for ad-hoc discussions. The barriers are related both to technical environment as well as to people’s habits and ways of working.
Solita is looking to support agile working methods and improve employee experience in multisite teams and virtual ways of working.
The solution should raise up ideas for new ways of communicating over the obstacle of physical location and in some cases sharing same time. The solution can include artefacts, ways of working, interfaces, equipment that help the agile team in working in in virtual environment.
INFORMATION ABOUT VUOHELAN HERKKU:
– Gluten-Free bakery was founded in 2003
– Is the leading producer of gluten-free fresh bakery products in Finland
– Produces gluten-free breads and rolls, sweet pastries, deep-frozen products, cookies and flour mixes
– Exhibits a turnover €8,6 million (2018)
– Provides employment to approximately 80 people
– Has nation-wide operations in Finland
Customers see Vuohelan Herkku’s gluten-free products suitable for persons with coeliac disease or allergic persons only. Gluten-free products are also considered tasteless. Gluten-free products could, however, be an option for other (health-oriented) people as well.
The current gluten-free product brand needs upgrading. The product could also be something new and innovative. What could it be? What are the current and future trends in gluten-free markets?
To develop new ideas for the gluten-free products based on the future trends. Perhaps something new, more than just a gluten-free bakery product
2018 – LAHTI VENTURE PROGRAM VOL. 2
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.
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.
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.
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.”
2017 – LAHTI VENTURE PROGRAM VOL. 1
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.