Salli Jääskä moves her ERP knowledge from Finland to Holland

Cliff Notes Podcast 15

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While working on anther Masters and moving countries and industries from Steel in Finland to Pharma in Holland, Salli took time to talk with us.

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Salli Jääskä moves her ERP knowledge from Finland to Holland Salli Jääskä moves her ERP knowledge from Finland to Holland

While working on second Masters and moving countries and industries from Steel in Finland to Pharma in Holland, Salli took time to talk with us. Offering a guide to better implementing an ERP system by blending it to the staff processes not IT first.

An experienced consultant with implementing and integrating ERP systems to large manufacturing companies.


This episode of Cliff Notes Podcast: Lead manufacturing, host and founder of Holdingbay Tristan Bailey talks to Salli Jaaska for the Cliff Notes podcast. Salli is an MES Consultant for Pharma Manufacturing with experience from several industries (IoT, healthcare, steel service centers, shipyards) and systems (ERP, MES, PDM/PLM systems). Matching company's goals, processes to IT systems using agile and Lean principles.


0:09 Hello and welcome there for another episode of the cliff notes podcast where we ask a leader and find the way today we're joined by great PRP and expert. And you like to introduce yourself then.

0:22 Yeah, I I'm sorry. Salli from Finland. And I have worked with ERP and ME solutions for the last over 10 years.

0:30 What's your, your background and how you got into this. I originally graduated from computer science in 2007. And then worked few years in, in healthcare systems with a GE Healthcare. And then I moved to work with ERP and ME for manufacturing companies in steel service centers, and CPR. And now I'm starting a new new work. And next year in Netherlands working with me, so lotions, in pharmacy, and I, I just graduated from my second Master's in Industrial Engineering and Management, because I wanted to have more expertise also outside the IT systems. And that gave me some valuable knowledge about different manufacturing things. And also things like, and it also gave me information about manufacturing quality, and supply chain functions and sucks so that I also know that why the IT systems to do the things they do.

Okay, so your, your background, your previous companies and studies have been all in Finland, and you're now moving countries and, and and, and companies was was was brought you to this choice.

1:20 Well, of course, the market in Finland is very small, because we are small, small country and even though most of our clients also before there were foreign companies, it's also a bit more limited when you do sort of consulting work. So I thought that in a central Europe, there are bigger markets and way more better Career Career Opportunities. And I have to say that I always love to Holland as a country. So it's very nice to also see some and new features and new landscape and not there's no half of the year.

2:27 But if it still is still quite a lot of rain, I hear.

2:29 But not snowing.

2:32 I mean, you from a fairly north part of Finland. And yeah, no, it's right in the middle of the field. And so it's, it's nothing near even a door to the all capital you're moving into a new field is this.

2:48 Um, yeah, of course, I know some things when I worked in GE Healthcare, that what other regulations and how strict you have to be in it in any validation and verification x. So that part, it's not new. But of course, even even in still service centers, every company does their work differently. So every time you have to tailor the system to work with their values, and their ways of working, and procedures, and such, so that's not new, that I have to be able to modify myself and the systems for the customers. Of course, there's a lot to learn, but I love to learn anything. So that's a positive thing rather than a negative one.

3:29 And so you you consulting and then on specific earpiece immune systems, or do you work with the whatever is

3:39 in my previous work, we had internally developed system in my last company where I work for 10 years. So that was always our own system that be tailored for its customer. But now in my new job that I'm going to do in Netherlands, the company uses I think about four or five different system windows. So usually, the client has already chosen what they want to use. And then we will just tailor it and implement it and deploy it, test it for them, and train them, and so on. So they don't have to worry about all those things by themselves. And of course, always the system windows are a bit they of course, want to think that their system is the best and how to do it.

4:23 But we are like in between to look for the customer spend a bit more than the vendors this great, and what sort of scale are we talking, I mean, what size organizations is this to be, of course, I'm only starting next year. So I don't have specific information. But to my knowledge, the companies usually acquired us once. So they have many sites in different countries even. And usually, they want to have each side still working with the same tools. So they don't have to have a separate IT organisation for each side. So you usually that was also the same in my previous business, instead of service centres, if there's a large company and they haven't already have unified system, they start with one one side, and then they deploy the new system there and see what they learn and what would be done differently. And then they repeat the same same thing for the other sites later on. Of course, usually, you have to have some different kinds of interfaces, because you have different machines, and so on, it's always good to try to make them unified as possible, because then if, for example, some person moves to another side, say they already know the system, and it supports not the system. And the less you make, for example, tailoring and configuration, the cheaper the system becomes, and it's easier to operate. And so when you're working at this scale, do you see more issues with the, with how to manage the the data and the documents being used?

6:01 Yes, it It varies a lot between customers and countries, I'm not talking about my previous experiences, because in some countries and cultures, the users and managers, they just do what is told. But in some more free cultures and countries, when you have several sites, and they have used to be working with their own ways, that might be a lot of resistance. And I think that's the main point that they don't want to use the same documents and same things as the others. And then you have to try to find some like something in between that all the sides are happy with, and they are willing to use those things and not just continue to use their own ways of working as they did before.

6:50 With some of these companies working at more of a global scale, then cultural issues, or different in different countries, at least different become an issue with the way the system runs to them. Yes, sometimes

7:02 be because if, of course, even though the company's big beings often get personalized, so that somebody feels that this is their work. And their way of working, for example, very useful situation is that the company or that side has been using excels to runs on certain functionalities that is not supposed to be handled with a new IT system. And because the excels are usually created by someone, and maintained by someone. And of course, they are the experts, they don't want to hand out that expertise to the IT system, because then they might feel that they are left without that same responsibility. And maybe something that they are easier to be laid out after that, and so on. So they feel that maybe their work, it's more complicated, even though some other people could benefit about the unified IP. So stem, sometimes for people it's difficult to see the bigger picture, they just concentrate on their part of, Okay, now I I have to learn a new system and I have to enter something that I didn't have to do beforehand. And you have to be really careful to explain the big picture always at okay you have to enter this pump up it may be helps than other people's later on and it saves their time and it benefits the whole company and then it benefits also to you and so on. So it's a very much politics Also,

8:30 I'm where does Where does your role come in? Or has it in the past? And uh, you more analyzing or setting up the system? Are you also having to work through these issues, the sort of management or personal issues to see how you can smooth the system adoption?

Yes, I think I have been working with all the aspects because my previous company was quite small. So I had the chance to work in every aspect from requirement gathering from probably beginning and an end to the deployment and testing phases. And yes, I think the most important thing to do is to really understand the users that what have they been used to working with, like, how they, they do other things, and why they, they do the things and he said, the best way of the most, because they asked us to do it the way they do, and it's not the most efficient one. And then you have to carefully like See, see their motivation to the work and then see that how your system could be beneficial. Also, for them. That's basically also the pen name. It's not just that they have to learn something new, because many people don't like that. It's it sounds strange to me, but they are they don't like that. And they feel maybe threatened by the new users them and feel that Okay, now the robots are taking our jobs or something, something like that. So understanding the users and motivation because then you can answer to those needs and their motivation, I have a new system also motivating the and thinking of sort of motivations and needs do you think that there is this a point or you have you have noticed a point for for companies evaluating when the shift is from, say, Excel or managing their own documents to moving into any IP system? It is there a point that that can be seen, or it tends to be more to do with company scaling and other sort of external issues from from the actual management of information?

10:38 This is very important question. Because usually companies try to cope without an IT system or data management system as long as possible. And when they realise that, okay, now, we really need the system, it's often too late, because people are used to be working their own ways. And then as I told before, there comes the resistance when you are used to doing something, it's very difficult to change that instead of trying to do things correctly from the beginning. So when the company starts, they are usually small, if you have a few people, five people, and you have been working for a year or two, it's very easy to remember everything, you can ask your friend that, okay, how was this project last year? Why we Why did we do the solution? And where is this information and so on? It's easy, and then you start to hire new people, you have new projects years go by, and maybe it's five years, you have 100 people. And then you start to ask, oh, we had this project for years ago, why did they do the solution? And you don't even know that Who did that? Why? And when, and then you start to think, oh, maybe we should need some IT system where we could put these things. But then you already have 100 people and about four or five years of experience periods. And that is no way you haven't recorded that nowhere. So what do you do, you have to implement the system by it. And then you have to train all those hundred people to use it. And then you already have like, millions of different kinds of documents without any templates. And you probably suit insert those also to the system. So it's a huge work. And what I would always have from companies that even though it's easy in the beginning to just ask, ask the friend and just use your post, it's all excellent and so unusual arresting that if you want to grow, how do you want to do these things when you have grown. So when you have hot 100 people working for you, and you have been working for five or 10 years, how do you want to do these things and start to do those things that way already. In the beginning, of course, you don't have to have the IT system already in the beginning. But you need to create processes and workflows, and so on. So that when you realize that you need the IT system, you can just deploy the system and insert everything that you already have the processes, you have the templates, you have the work flows, and you just implement it system on top of that, not the other way around, that you don't have anything, you don't have processes, you don't have templates, and then you just buy the IT system and maybe hope that it creates your processes. No, unfortunately, it's not that easy. So to put this sort, create the processes and templates, and so on already in the beginning.

13:39 So when you realise you need the system, maybe after you have 10, 2030 people, it depends on how complicated project you have, then you can just start to work on the IT system on top of your existing things that makes sense. So built building the IT system to support the the flows and the processes that you have built up, rather than trying to fit to, to a system that wasn't designed for you. Yeah, because

14:12 if you start the other way around, it's really difficult when people are used to doing things their own way. So you have to do everything at once you have to create the processes, you have to create the templates, you have to train the people, you have to motivate them to use the system. And then you have to deploy the system and take it into use its way, a lot of things to be done at once. Instead, if you already start in the beginning to do things systematically, and create a template, when you do need some document and create workflows, even though there would be only five or 10 people using it, you can do it very lightly. You don't have to have any is all procedures or soft spot, think about the future, if you want to grow, you have to do it also, in the being you'll have to think about in the beginning to does this come back to the foot you your thesis, some of your research, does this come back into this area, too? Yeah,

15:09 it definitely showed me that it's not the problem only in the companies that I with the companies I've been working it's a common problem. Because everywhere in the literature also it was said that it's common that companies thing an IT system as a saviour, they were in Finland, we have a saying living like peaks in the field, like people are doing things they like, and nobody has any common procedures. And everybody just does what I want to do this this way. And then my pal wants to do another way. And it's okay. Okay, in a small company, that's nice.

15:48 I've definitely seen sort of workshops and shop floors, that you can see the difference between as you put it, the pigs in the field, doing what they like, and the nice ordered division lines and process control that does actually make people feel more comfortable and, and, and know where things are. And less accidents, it helps a lot of health and safety and stuff. And I can imagine this with with where I work with with with data and the way that you've been speaking about it to that having these processes actually let people relax into the process and get on with their work instead of having to change and relearn things much later. But maybe this was this was also an area you've you've looked at with your thesis and what what was this one?

16:38 Yeah, and it's very common, according to the research is that companies being the IT systems, so Saviour, and then they just think, okay, now we buy the system, and it fixes everything. And often companies just do that they buy the system and the poor windows, try to fit it to the non existent processes and workflows. And then oh, my God, the project phase, it's more expensive, it takes time. And in the end, it didn't help the company because the IT system cannot create your processes. It cannot create your closet cannot motivate your workers. So often, companies put way too much like hopes for the IT system to be the saviour because maybe they don't know what to do. So leaving that somebody if it gets us by this solution, but in real life face would first pick all the own internal work to fit to the processes and such and then just use the IT systems to automatically size those functions.

17:50 So you can't automate this is something you don't have, you can't you can't do it to make people a little bit maybe a little bit you could say if this this sounds familiar, am I respected person that follow his works in the analytics. The data analytic space Avinash Kaushik point was, if you want to spend on an analytic system, so, a data management system, you should spend 10% on the product and 90% on the the staff who understand it to give you the value from the data, this the stuff will give you the value not the tool, maybe this is a little bit like what you're saying with this, that the tool is not the whole value. Yeah, it's Apple must be led by people.

Yeah in my work, I did my thesis work I created released for a company that what should they look for what and what should they do beforehand, before they can select and deploy product data management system. And the outcome was that as he was at probably 90, or even 95% of the work is done before you can even select the system as you can select the system if you don't know your needs, and you don't know your needs, if you don't have the processes, procedures, and the strategies and so on, if you don't have a, for example, a product strategy, how do you know what kind of products that you will have in a product sample in five years, and if you don't know that, how can you create a system that supports you creating those products. So it goes very deep, because deeply in the even the company strategy to know that what kind of system you need. And then on top of that, selecting on the system, it's, it's like 5% or 10% of the total work.

And so to just move on from the sort of adoption and could you talk maybe a bit about the, the successes, or maybe some, some small areas of things that you have seen benefit and, and work better by using these systems.

19:56 Yes, even though I said that there's usually some resistance between the workers, it depends on the company, for example, I used to work with some small steel service center in film, and it was a family family origin company. So all the not all most of the employees were the family members of the owners. And they were really motivated using the system. And for example, beforehand, they always print it all the quotation and orders and so one day they move the printed papers in the soft floor. And of course, you can imagine in a steel service and it's not always so clean and my nice to move on papers and make a dirty and they couldn't see the orders. And they lost the parts and they lost lost the remnants and the material us it's was poor, because they didn't know where the material is. And some steel products are really expensive. So if you have a expensive plate missing, it might cost thousands of euros, if you have a big plate of expensive material. And then they deploy the earpiece system. And they ultimately size basically everything from quotation calculation to nesting the part into the plates and all the inventory and material following and sets and they were really happy with the solution. Because they face so every plate and remnant in their stock. And they could use it and they didn't have to order more material, because they knew that they already saw it in the in the shop floor, and so on. So the bottles really success and they really like to use the use the system and it gave them a final sales finance health benefits. Because they could use the material and they could make the orders much faster. And they could automatically send them to the customers. And they even took, they created another land in the same city, they did, they have had first one because the

22:03 the business was way better after implementing the system. And I think they are still nowadays very happy with it. I think they deployed it like eight years ago, it was one of my first projects. But here again, the main point was the motivation, they are very motivated, and they knew that it would benefit them. And as you stand past tailored for their needs, and so they get the most of the benefit from it.

22:30 And you you were involved with the implementation or the the rolling out of this from the beginning from gathering requirements to see how they want the system to work. And then configure writing it and then deploying it and rolling out and thing taking it into us and also with the customer service later on. Because there's always something you have to fix later on when they actually use the system. And so

22:54 when do you have any just as we sort of finish up here a little bit is, do you have any sort of takeaways, little pieces of advice. So maybe a lesson that you've learned along the way that you'd like to share for other people looking to take on an earpiece system or improve the one that they already have? Well,

23:13 I say, whew, first of all, always know, what are your needs. And don't concentrate only on the core of your products. Because some sometimes or even often companies think of the product data, just the sketches and like the core beta, the heart data, but you have to remember that also all the specific cases and requirements and why you did this, why you did that when you did this, it's also important data, because afterwards, you have to be able to know why certain decisions were made, so you can deploy and benefit from them also in the later projects. And second advice is, I think I'm just repeating myself. But if you have a starting company, a small company, always see yourself in after five or 10 years and start to work on things the way that you can work the same way after white five or 10 years, don't rely on that, but works with five people that it works with 50 or 500 people it doesn't it usually doesn't so see the future and prepare yourself and your company for the future where there would be 100 or 1000 people and start to deploy those kind of procedures and things in the early of the beginning so you don't have to do do that huge it implementation and everything Everything is done from the beginning when when you realize some morning that Okay, now we need the system that's too late to it already. In the beginning, do you

24:56 have any way that people can can follow you worker and I'll be able to read read more that you have published after this the show is published?

25:08 Yeah, I have a LinkedIn account you can find it probably with my name is Sally Yes, cabbage is very difficult. So it's "s a l l i, j a a s k a "

25:18 and I have written a few articles about this product data management and related things and I'm also going to write some shorter version of my faces also to my LinkedIn account because the thesis is confidence also I can't populace it all but I will use the main points to so the companies can read it and see if they have the similar needs as my case company to deploy product data management system how could they do and what are the things they do from the beginning starting with a strategy to the selection and deployment of the product at the money Spencer's then so that they can look forward to like an executive summary coming on your LinkedIn that that'd be great.

Well, thanks for joining us today again, and I'll publish your your details in the in the show notes for people to follow to Yeah, thank you. I will be happy to have followers on LinkedIn contacts. So please feel free to send me contact weakness. I will accept every one of those

especially new in the sort of farmer area and the and the data management area as you you move on to your your new and you start in Holland.

26:34 So good luck. Thank you.

26:38 Thank you for joining us for another episode of the cliff notes podcast. I love to hear feedback.

26:43 And if you'd like to get in contact with a guest on myself. You can message me on twitter at @cliffnotespod or on As always, please like, share and subscribe to this show on iTunes and see you next time. But we can see how people are using digital technologies to move manufacturing forward.

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