The product development team serves as a link between wishes and implementation

Riitta Ahokas applauds the good team spirit that allows room for creativity to thrive. The top professionals create a relaxed and happy atmosphere. ‘When we come up with good ideas, it is definitely possible to implement them with this team. A good sense of humour and respectful behaviour are also some of our team’s strongest points,’ says Ahokas. ‘I really enjoy working at Koskisen. You will always get answers for your questions, and you get to challenge yourself as much as you want,’ Ahokas continues.

Opportunity to grow and learn

Eemi Valjakka has been working in the product development team as the panel industry product manager for two years, but Valjakka has worked at Koskinen for a total of eight years. Valjakka is a Wood Technology Engineer by training. He began his career at Koskinen in production and transferred to shift work temporarily before taking his current position. According to Valjakka, the best thing about this work is that he can work with everyone throughout the production chain. 

‘The product managers are a link between the production and the sales, and we’re in touch with the whole organisation. We also deal directly with the largest customers,’ Valjakka explains. 

Asko Viili has worked at Koskisen for five years. For the first two years, he worked in plywood production. Viili, who has a degree in Material and Wood Technology Engineering, works as a project engineer. 

Both Valjakka and Viili know what it is like to grow into one’s work position in house. For example, according to Viili, a familiar production has made product development test runs easier. Valjakka agrees. 

‘This place allows you to grow into your position. It’s easy to be involved in production when you know the people. I think one of the best things is being able to work with everyone throughout the production chain.’

Every day is different in the product development team

In the everyday product development work, there are rarely two days that are exactly the same. Among other things, Valjakka and Viili’s work involves researching the needs and new features the clients have requested. If the idea seems plausible, it is possible to try it out in production right away. At times, laboratory work is involved. Product development is varied, and for the most part, the development projects do not follow the same pattern. 

According to Viili, his work has many positive features. ‘Personally, I enjoy it when my work is varied and I get to try new things. It is always rewarding to come up with a success. The work has a lot of connections to other operators within the company and our team has extensive experience. You could almost say we know everything about anything,’ says Viili. 

According to Valjakka and Viili, working in the team requires the worker to get along with other people. ‘Stress and pressure resistance are also important in this work. You must know how to organise and prioritise,’ says Valjakka. ‘And with product development tasks, you’ll also need to be self-motivated if you’re going to know how to find project ideas,’ Viili concludes.

International reach is always present

As part of the product development team, it is possible to take avail of various opportunities: becoming part of an international network and meeting clients, providers and researchers. ‘And of course, it’s possible to learn everything about panel production and use – and even become an expert,’ says Riitta Ahokas.

Andreas Strauch is one of the important links. For the most part, he works remotely from his home office in Northern Germany, unless he is visiting Finland or on one of his numerous visits to providers in Central Europe or at industry events looking for new ideas. 

Strauch has worked at Koskisen for nine years and enjoys the freedom his job allows and the community that Koskinen provides. 

‘It’s always possible to make a call if I have something to ask, or if I need new ideas. There is a lot of knowledge within the company, and it is possible to get an answer about something immediately – for example, if a solution has already been implemented. I really like working at Koskisen. I guess we northern Germans are as calm as you Finns,’ Strauch says.

The Koskisen product development team, led by RDI Manager Riitta Ahokas, consists of product managers Päivi Andersson, Heidi Pesonen and Eemi Valjakka, project managers Maria Routo and Andreas Strauch, and project engineer Asko Viili. (In the photo, from the left: Eemi, Maria, Riitta and Asko)