My first year as Category Analyst – Elin Lindqvist

Looking for new business opportunities in sourcing, to ensure that you have the best negotiation position, was something Elin quickly learned in her new role.

One year has flown by very quickly, and I have almost not had the chance to reflect on my first weeks at Orkla until now. Although this was not my first job after university, but my second, I knew that I was still quite fresh out from University and had a lot to learn. I was, however, very excited to take on new challenges within purchasing at Orkla.

My first week actually started with a conference in Tallinn, where I met the entire team who were normally located in four different locations. This was an excellent opportunity to get to know everyone and to find out more about what everyone was working with. It was also a chance to learn more about the overall targets and strategy going forth. In Tallinn we visited Kalev, which gave me good insight into one of Orkla’s businesses and where I learned more about their chocolate production. This was quite exciting for someone like me who absolutely loves chocolate and even more so since I later found out that I was going to work on a chocolate sourcing project.

Responsibility from day one

During my second week, I sent out my very first tender request after introductions from my colleagues, and in a short time, I learned (almost) everything there was to know about the dairy market. It was exciting to jump straight into analysis and negotiations after just a few weeks, to get a first insight into the dairy market and to learn more about Orkla’s sourcing process while on the job training. Since I was working in close collaboration with my responsible colleague during this first tender, I could always ask her about any uncertainties I encountered, such as questions about handling data and feedback approach. Together we were able to complete the contracts as planned. Following tenders on this portfolio I handled on my own, which was a result of the on-the-job-training approach. The results of the project were identifying new business opportunities, and as an aftermath, I got to work on my first business case, which later led to savings.

Steep learning curve

In the past year, I have learnt a lot from my practical experiences, as I got responsibility from day one in parallel with coaching. This resulted in a steep learning curve. One of my challenges at first was that I often underestimated how long time it can take to prepare for a tender or learning all about a new portfolio when you are doing it for the first time. However, you soon realize that the next time it will be much quicker, and you can improve the set-up based on your practical experiences.
The wide variety of projects this first year is something that I have really appreciated, as I got to work with both commodities as well as more specified raw materials, which demands different approaches. The most fun part was when I got to work with some of our largest tenders for additives, where I learned more about negotiations and stakeholder management from my colleagues and from the challenges we faced. Today, I am working with this category in a new team, only I have more responsibility.

Besides the learnings this year, I have great colleagues who are open to interesting discussions, which from time to time provide me with new insights to projects, but also widen my overall understanding of Orkla. Most importantly, though, we have fun together.

Working with the entire value chain

As a large FMCG company, Orkla can offer exciting opportunities across the value chain, which I found appealing when first applying. For me, Orkla’s Nordic origin was also important since it influences the management culture and way of working. Such as maintaining its local brands and supporting employee development. Moreover, being part of the central function for a diversified group of companies on a new strategic path, offered me exciting challenges. It was the combination of working with strategic purchasing, business improvements and change management together with driven and helpful colleagues in a result-oriented climate, which really triggered me about this job.

The first year has been truly exciting and challenging for me both professionally, but also personally, and I look forward to taking on new challenges going forth.