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Sales Manager Mikko Jylhä, who worked at Nordkalk for a long time, retired in the end of April. His successor, Mika Erkkilä started at Nordkalk last autumn so that there would be enough time for Mikko to transmit his knowledge and expertise over to Mika.
Mikko tells himself how it was done:
“Along time ago, when I started in my first permanent employment, my then supervisor had planned a two-week induction training programme for me. It was a detailed plan for where I was to go, who to contact, what to make myself familiar with and so on. After these two weeks, it was much easier for me to start the actual work. A few months later, a fellow student of mine started in the same company, but in a different unit. When we once met at the HQ, I asked him about his induction training. His answer was concise: “There’s the phone, there’s the bathroom”. Well, it did look like that too had been enough to get started with.
Over the years, I have changed jobs and had different kinds of induction training. When I started at Nordkalk as Sales Manager in Ostrobothnia in Finland some 20 years ago, I had, thanks to my previous work experience, already rather a good knowledge of the branch and even knew most of my future customers. However, Sales Manager Mikko Lauronen spend good many days touring the area with me visiting some of the key co-operation partners. Mikko had had my job five years earlier, so he could give me some valuable practical tips.
I took this advice to heart.
When an acquaintance of mine, a Regional Sales Manager at Kemira, heard that I had started at Nordkalk, he gave me a good piece of advice: “Be yourself, don’t try to be like Mikko Lauronen”. Mikko was kind of a legend in the trade; he knew everybody and everybody knew him. I took this advice to heart.
Last autumn, I got to train my successor Mika Erkkilä. Mika too, has a long experience in the agriculture sector, so he knew the basics well. Together, we have visited most of the distributors and the long drives between visits gave a good opportunity to go through the market situations in the different localities and the factors affecting them. We also visited the different Nordkalk production plants along the way. Mika got to visit also different events directed to contractors and our end customer, farmers.
Mikko Lauronen at a fair in 2004.
I often say that in our business, the soil improvement lime or agrilime business, there are few products and they are simple, but many customers, who are not simple. Despite the digital era we live in today, I still believe in the personal contact. The number of agricultural shops is going down, but not that much that the two Nordkalk sales representatives could visit them too often.
Some rascal of a co-operation partner said that our transition period is too long; I have time to teach Mika all my bad habits. With the customer field being so vast and having numerous functions and locations of our own, the long transition period gives the newcomer time to think of good questions.
I hope I have been able to give Mika a lot of facts, but let him draw his own conclusions. Thanks to his long experience in the field, I am confident that he can find his own way of doing things.”
Nordkalk is the leading limestone company in Northern Europe. We deliver essential raw materials to numerous industries, and our solutions contribute to clean air and water as well as productivity of agricultural land.