Ms. Mari Horttonen started as Black Bruin’s Purchasing Manager on August 10. ”Seppo (Black Bruin’s Managing Director Seppo Koiranen) made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” says Mari with a smile on her face. Mari had been working for leading tractor manufacturer Valtra for 12 years, the last 5 years as Purchasing Director. ”A very interesting time with the challenges of a big international organization,” she says and continues: ”I felt an urge though to change to something a little bit smaller, something where my own input would be seen more clearly. I guess I also just felt I’d given that one company all I had to give.”
One of Black Bruin’s current strategic objectives is to streamline its organization and processes. This also applies to the procurement function and probably also to the number of suppliers.
Mari explains this from her point of view: “I have listened enthusiastically to the Black Bruin department heads, what kind of ideas, strategies and tactics we follow towards our end customers – what we promise them and what we want to offer. Everybody totally agrees that although procurement is a back-office function directly serving internal customers, we must always keep the end customers firmly in sight. And of course we want to be a sought after customer for all our suppliers.”
Mari says it is her job to find ways to make the supply chain more efficient: “We try to avoid sending one piece back and forth. Suppliers and partners who can serve us diversely, so that we would get a component from behind just one door, are what we need. This obviously challenges the suppliers we currently work with to be able to handle all work phases, but I believe that is healthy, too.”
For Black Bruin, just like for any other leading technology company, one of the basics is to always keep the promised delivery times. Reliability of delivery and competitive pricing are important and, of course, quality. Those are the three main elements for the suppliers. This same principle obviously applies throughout the supplier chain. One element must not be overemphasized at the expense of others. In a global economy it doesn’t matter where the components are purchased.
In Mari’s words: ”Although the domestic content in Black Bruin’s products is currently relatively high, we may consider purchasing components from a lower-cost country, outside Central Europe, if we get the logistics costs and quality right.”
TCO must be kept constantly in mind, and that is not just euros but also reliability, quality and availability. It is the combination of these that determines how Black Bruin sources its components. Mari continues: “Additionally, what we value a lot in our suppliers is agility and flexibility, just as we are towards our customers. We offer them solutions that fulfil their needs exactly – and fast.
Black Bruin does not have a so-called number one or appointed supplier but the same rule holds as in most other companies, namely that 20% of the suppliers deliver 80% of the supplies. Black Bruin has, however, spread the risks so as not to be dependent on one supplier for any given component. Black Bruin’s own machining function is also very flexible and can help and replace possible deficits in the supplier chain.
COVID19 has luckily not prevented Mari from getting acquainted with her job and her colleagues. She praises the Black Bruin team spirit and has felt welcome from the first minute.
Mari lives in Jyväskylä with her 2 children, a daughter aged 15 and son aged 20. She volunteers with an exchange student organization, interviews willing host families and also acts as a support person for international exchange students coming to Finland. Her voluntary work is much inspired by her own positive experiences as an exchange student in Indiana, United States.
Mari’s other hobbies are sports oriented. She uses her brand-new electric bike on her way to the Black Bruin office, goes to the gym and does a lot of yoga to find tranquility to counterbalance her hectic work life. In the summer, she attended her first yoga retreat, which took place in an old boathouse. ”A sunny lake view and some swans came to say hello to us,” remembers Mari with another nice story: ”When they said I would be able to do a headstand or a handstand after a few lessons, I thought I had come to the wrong place. But isn’t it great to notice that we can all always learn new skills.”
Welcome to our team Mari. We all look forward to working with you!
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