Knowledge-driven leadership

Vaasan Ltd bakes results with knowledge

Vaasan Ltd is a Finnish bakery company that operates also in the Baltic countries. Vaasan has been baking in Finland since 1849, which makes it the second-oldest bakery and the oldest nationwide bakery operator in Finland.

Vaasan Ltd is part of the international bakery group Lantmännen Unibake, which is part of the Swedish agricultural cooperative Lantmännen – owned by 25,000 Swedish farmers.  Lantmännen is one of Europe’s largest groups within the bioenergy, machinery, agriculture, and food sector. Together with Lantmännen Unibake, Vaasan Ltd focuses on R&D and sustainable development by taking responsibility for the entire value chain from field to fork.

The product range of Vaasan Ltd consists of bread and other bakery products. “We are very proud to bake Finland’s most popular bread, Vaasan Ruispalat.” Other well-known brands include, for example, the popular oat bread Vaasan Kauratyynyt and Vaasan Taika. However, making bread is not a game of luck: instead, knowledge-driven leadership penetrates the entire Vaasan Ltd organisation from strategy to supply chain, all the way to business forecasting.

“Our strategies are built on knowledge and market estimates. The chosen objectives steer all our operations, which, in turn, are implemented by all Vaasan employees in all company functions. The Sales and Operations Planning process gives structure to all our activities all the way from product development to commercialisation, production, and logistics. We use the more operational survey data, for example, to evaluate the activities of the sales sector and to fine-tune our customer-specific strategies”, Minna Cousins, Commercial Director for Vaasan in Finland, lists the different uses of data.

In collaboration with Innolink, Vaasan Ltd carried out a knowledge-driven leadership project that evaluated the operation of the sector and was derived from the company strategy. The goal of the project was to analyse the added value created by Vaasan Ltd at the commercial interface. According to Minna Cousins, the collaboration gave Vaasan Ltd excellent building supplies and step marks for improving the company operations, and for implementing a renewed service model that has already been in place for some time now.

“Our collaboration with Innolink yielded a fresh new way of reviewing our performance at the commercial interface. We found it particularly valuable that Innolink offered sharp opinions and questioned the operations of Vaasan Ltd in just the right places. The renewed business model is generating double-digit growth in the selected channels”, Minna describes the achieved results.

Indeed, the systematic and comprehensive way that Vaasan Ltd utilises data is a textbook example of how knowledge used wisely can lead to concrete successes that are in line with the company strategy.