CASE: Everyone can MAKE a difference
The year 2010 was marked by tremendous progress for Alma Media’s initiative system, known as Pearl. I was proud to see unit after unit become enthusiastic about coming up with ideas and the opportunity to influence the entire Group’s development. In 2010, a total of 2,522 Pearl initiatives were made by 579 different employees or groups of employees at Alma Media.
During the year, there were also two sessions of Pearl coffee breaks in all business units. The sessions are designed to introduce the idea generation process and the Pearl system to all employees. Pearl’s user interface was improved based on user requests and now features, among other things, an easy-to-use “thumbs up” system for showing support for ideas. All ideas are visible to all users on Pearl, as I am a firm believer in ideas and initiatives improving when they can be commented on and refined further. Ideas also seem to tend to give rise to other new ideas.
Various business units organised campaigns to seek ideas for developing the Group company in question or its products. Campaigns were also used to, among other things, find a name for a new printing machine project, eliminate time wasters and find ideas for brand development. A campaign is an effective way of providing direction for idea generation and inviting all employees to participate in the process.
Among the many initiatives already implemented are an idea for improving print quality at the Rovaniemi printing facility, an idea for improving the flow of information in Aamulehti’s editorial office and organising the sorting of bio waste in the Siperia building. The year also saw the creation of a number of new product ideas, many of which are still in development and may be implemented in 2011. In my view, the main challenges for 2011 are to better refine the ideas we receive and to keep encouraging the generation of good ideas.
CASE: Perseverance Beats the Cold Finnish Winter
When I started working for Aamulehti at the turn of the millennium, Tampere was in the middle of a prolonged snowstorm. I nearly lost hope then, wading through knee-deep snow with more constantly coming down. I returned home with an extra 40 copies of the newspaper in my hand. I had failed to deliver the newspapers to all the subscribers I needed to. My girlfriend helped me find the lost mailboxes.
The following morning I decided that newspapers or storms would not get the better of me. Perhaps I possess some of the same guts and perseverance that Finns are known for. Now I feel that I want to keep doing this as long as my body holds up.
I have been working as a substitute deliveryman for Aamulehti, in what is now known as Alma Manu, for a little over 10 years. That’s almost the entire time I have lived in Finland. I am originally from Uruguay, but I have spent a lot of time abroad, sailed the seas as a sailor and toured the world as a musician. Over the years, I grew tired of travelling and hotels. It’s important to have a place to call home.
Getting a job as a newspaper deliverer for Aamulehti and Alma Manu wasn’t too difficult. A friend of mine saw the job advertised in the paper and suggested that I should apply. I called Aamulehti, was invited for an interview and soon began working. A Finnish company hiring a non-Finnish-speaker who has lived here for only a year is not something that should be taken for granted.
As a deputy deliverer I have become familiar with both Tampere and the neighbouring areas. I take my hat off to those delivery personnel who ride a bicycle all year round. I myself drive a car. My work is very independent. I like not having anyone breathing down my neck and being my own boss.
Alma Manu has quite a few English-speaking deliverers, at least here in Tampere. In addition to my delivery duties, I teach other English-speaking deliverers how to use the electronic delivery book and help new deliverers to get to know their routes. I’m not sure why they specifically gave that assignment to me. You’d have to ask the bosses, but at least it adds a nice bit of variety to my work.
Alma Manu Oy