My first year as Project Analyst in Production Strategy and Development – Magnus Lantz
Imagine being told on your first day, that your office is actually at one of Orkla’s many factories and not at Orkla’s HQ. Getting to know our products, processes and people face to face has given Magnus first-hand knowledge of Orklas’s business. Read more about Magnus’ first year as Project Analyst at Orkla.
When I look back on my move to Oslo and the expectations that I had of my job, I see that they were quite balanced. As a student it’s normal to be confronted with something entirely new and challenging in the form of courses and the like, but this was something different – I would now be given responsibility. But I had no idea how much responsibility was involved.
The first thing I learned was that my real office was not at Orkla headquarters, my workplace was in actual fact out at the factories where Orkla’s products are manufactured. Already on the second day I was sitting in a car on my way to one of our factories to participate in an improvement project and see our employees’ actual situation. The following week, I joined the project that was to become my workplace for the next year.
Working close to people
As an Production Strategy and Development Analyst you work on projects, usually with one or two other consultants. My first project was at a factory in Norway where my assignment was to increase the factory’s competitiveness. This meant that every day I had to deal with the factory’s challenges, both those facing the operators and the ones confronting the management team. The most exciting thing about a project like that is that you work close to the people concerned and are able to see how our products are made.
Imagine yourself listening to employees talking about their everyday work situation and the possibilities and problems that they have, what would you think? My reaction was ”What can I possibly do to help?”, but after a great deal of support from my co-worker consultants regarding problem-solving and positive thinking, I plunged into the work. When you succeed in improving competitiveness and at the same time give the employees an easier workday, it gives you a very good feeling.
Development and structure
If I were to sum up the year, there is only one word that describes it: development. The fact that I could spend one day out at the factories and the next at the office working on reports for presentation at management team level. Working in such a dynamic environment has helped me develop professionally, but also as a person. One thing is clear, Orkla doesn’t forget how you’re doing. Even if your professional role is challenging and you have to meet considerable demands, both your bosses and co-workers think about how you are doing and getting along in private life.
The biggest lesson that I’ve learned in the course of this year is that structure is your best friend in everyday life. When you work with many different people and tasks, it’s important to keep track of what has to be done and when. Next, I can say that I now have a much better understanding of production and have built up self-confidence in my work. Remember the first thing I thought at a meeting with a factory employee? ”How can I possibly help?” has now been transformed into ”this is going to be fun and how can I best go about this”. This development process began already on the second day in my role when I was confronted with reality at the factories and the day-to-day situation that I was going to work in. I greatly appreciate the strong support I receive from my colleagues who help me with everything from organising my day-to-day activities to relaxing when I’m not at work. Working as Project Analyst is fun and challenging, but above all it’s highly educational. When you’re out working on a project, you get closer to your colleagues and learn how to give each other the support you need to achieve the goals you’ve set.
Working with products that we see every day
I chose this profession because I’m a person who is attracted to new challenges. A new country, my first job and a role that I was not used to performing. For me, Orkla was and is interesting because we work with products that we encounter every day, everything from the herring we eat at Midsummer to the liver paté on our sandwiches and the paintbrushes we paint our houses with. You should take a look in your refrigerator or cupboard and see what you have at home. If you count the products manufactured by Orkla, you’ll realise what a large part Orkla products play in our daily lives and that insight alone made me want to start working and continue to work for the company.