A MAGAZINE ABOUT US – WE DELIVER
#2 2019 “Many underestimate me, as I don’t look like a bodybuilder” page 48
Are you kidding me? Why Nathalie just can’t stop smiling.
fantastic PostNorders in this issue: Haseeb is starstruck, Mirja raises the volume and Torbjørn gets a good grip. Plus 147 more.
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T H E C O N C LU S I O N *
>>> Per Nordberg, a logistics specialist in Örebro, inherited his sense of humor from his parents, and he always has a joke at the ready. “Being able to laugh together makes the job so much easier,” he says. Postman Nathalie Pålsson in Malmö shares jokes with the people on her round every day – including the tortoises. Haseeb Zeb optimized the process for handing over flowers to Queen Margrethe of Denmark, and compares her to the Terminator. Conclusion: If you invite your colleagues to a party, you never have to worry that it will be quiet and boring. PostNorders love to laugh. * The editorial teams draws a highly unscientific conclusion about topics that bring PostNorders together, based on the interviews in the magazine.
>>> When you were born, you only had the
equivalent of one coffee cup of blood in your body. As an adult, you have about five liters, and during a single day the blood travels 19,000 km through your body’s blood vessels. If you arranged the vessels one after another on the ground, they would circle the earth twice. Read that last sentence again, because you have probably not grasped it yet.
Where are the news sections? People by PostNord is a magazine containing stories about PostNord’s employees. If you have access to the PostNord intranet, all the latest news and information is available there. You are welcome to comment on the articles in the Yammer group: People by PostNord.
I M AG E S F R O M B E H I N D T H E S C E N E S
OSLO. Our photographer Chris Maluszynski meets a former Norwegian arm wrestling champion: Torbjørn Vollan.
VÄXJÖ. Mikaela Linnér with her horse Shadow, who did not like the camera, the flash, or the photographer.
Follow us on Instagram @peoplebypostnord PEOPLE BY POSTNORD
We work very closely with some of them and know them well. Others we might see every day, but barely know. I’m talking about our colleagues, who in the best case can be like a second family. People who can share a laugh with us or can keep our spirits up if we are having a bad day. Or who can inspire us to make small or big changes. As there are a lot of people who work at PostNord, it is not particularly surprising that we have colleagues with all sorts of interests and talents. In this issue, you can read about employees such as Iben, in Askov, who cycles 200 kilometers per week, or terminal worker Mikaela, in Växjö, who gallops through a mix of a marathon and a Formula 1 race. And Torbjørn, in Oslo, a former Norwegian arm wrestling champi- M A L I N N O R D É N on who hopes to take back the title. Editor in Chief, What fewer people might realize is the People by PostNord wide span covered by our business activities, and our collective expertise. What we achieve together during a work week includes, for example, delivering birthday greetings and outfits purchased online, as well as ensuring that important spare parts are delivered to the right place so that repairs can be made. And with the latter I don’t just mean spare parts for industrial applications, but also for healthcare providers. We make crucial contributions when blood and organs are transported between hospitals – around 30,000 transports of blood and medicines each year in Sweden alone. That is a task where we cannot have a bad day, and where every minute literally is lifesaving. In this issue, we follow the courier Mikael in Gothenburg, who haven’t had a bad day in ten years. Our business is like a machine which I feel proud to be a small part of. I’m inspired by the thought of how we all contribute and form a piece of the jigsaw puzzle in people’s everyday lives, day after day, regardless of the weather or season.
PEOPLE BY POSTNORD Editor in Chief: Malin Nordén National editors: Robert Långström (SE), Michael Kirkeby (DK), Maiju Karhunen (FI) and Sigurd Bjerke (NO). Design: Erik Westin Graphical Editor: Magnus Laupa Language Coordinator: Louise Holpp Other contributors: Eriq Agélii, Julia Spector, Bjørn Thorvaldsen, Grethe-Birgitte Friis Jakobsen, Salla Virkkunen, Malin Dahlberg, Fredrik Arvidsson Production: Spoon Printing: V-TAB Email: email@example.com
Welcome! A normal day at work really makes a difference
Lotte takes command.
Iben keeps up a good pace.
Magnus is having more fun than ever.
Abdelhad engages first gear.
36 Henri stays warm.
22 Mikael drives for life.
18 Ellen has a mission.
PEOPLE BY POSTNORD
We feature in e this issu We are interviewed:
Abdelhad Shinwari Agneta Bergström Andreas Blennestrand Anette Pedersen Anne Mette Hvid Annette Dam Berit Krange Brian Melhedegaard Cecilia Östensson Eddie Sjöberg Ellen Marie Kasin Eva Carlsson Eva Thomsson Felicia Walldén Bančić Gry Cecilie Røttereng Haseeb Zeb Henri Jaakola Iben Bekker Larsen Johnny Johansson Jonna Hameri Jonny Paulsen Jouni Pesonen Karin Estola Karolina Larsson
64 9 41 38 13 59 28 31 25 66 18 28 9 59 59 14 36 44 62 9 56 17 30 12
Kevin Nilsen 6 Konstantina Kotsiopoulou 41 Lene Reipuert 61 Lenni Pedersen 40 Lotte Vestergaard 10 Magnus Bennich 59 Magnus Wislander 49 Marko Varalahti 28 Markus Seppälä 59 Mikael Kreutz 22 Mikaela Linnér 46 Mikko Kerkkänen 59 Mirja Niva 32 Mohammad Al Rammal 41 Morten Løkås 56 Nathalie Pålsson 11 Per Nordberg 50 Pierre Nilsson 41 Pål Eier 59 Sonja Kærly 16 Thomas Persson 15 Torbjørn Vollan 48 Tord Nicolaisen Brønseth 56
We get a mention: Adnan Doush 64 Agnes Theberg 9 Anders Jakobsson 46 Andreas Nilsson 42 Anita Tjärnberg 64 Anna Bengtsberg 55 Anna-Karin Kindberg 64 Annika Lundqvist 64 Antti Niinikoski 36 Arash Kanis 48 Birgit Møller Clemmensen 61 Birgitte Jensen 10 Birthe Stock 61 Björn Lundberg 26 Camilla Andersen 31 Carl Johan Forssten 21 Cecilia Borg 11 Cecilie Steinsland 58 Dardan Ferati 42 Elin Gideskog 46 Emma Gustavsson 11 PEOPLE BY POSTNORD
Emma Thid 34 Emrah Ibisevic 64 Erik Forsberg 26 Fredrik Kreutz 26 Ghita Schultz 10 Gunder Bäck 31 Hamit Afsharm 31 Hans Kristensen 13 Hasan Alsheik Hasan Awwad64 Heidi Vibeke Kristiansen 38 Henrik Skou 10 Henric Jacobsen 61 John Terje Barikmo 21 Jane Mette Quille 21 Jess Friis 10 John Franzen 12 Joaquin Franci 26 Jonatan Harnesk 31 Julia Karlberg 64 Jørn Kollstrøm 6
Jörgen Månsson 11 Kaled Azakeer 64 Karwan Akrawi 12 Kim Salamonsen 6 Keld Lindbjerg 44 Kristina Jakobsson 64 Lars Hess 10 Lars-Göran ”LG” Svensson 11 Lennart Nielsen 31 Lone Arndal 61 Louise Lyloff 10 Lid Ashmed 46 Magnus Enerholm 55 Magnus Lovell 49 Malek Beirakdar 42 Marie Glase 64 Marie Sjöstrand 55 Martin Axelsson 46 Mattias Kenttä 31 Mehmet Øzcan 12 Melinda Andersson 46
Michael Schultz 10 Mikael Berglin 64 Mikael Liljeberg 55 Mikael Torsell 55 Mikko-Antero Savolainen 36 Mohamed Idrissi 64 Molham Molhem Mhd 64 Nadia Kim Haastrup 12 Nemania Pavlovic 64 Nils Åke Gustavsson 11 Odin Stene 48 Omar Aldammad 64 Omar Al Rammal 42 Paulius Indriliunas 64 Per Albrektsen 12 Per Alftenius 26 Per-Erik Eriksson 34 Per-Ola Löfgren 34 Peter Kjær Jensen 44 Peter Smedemark 13 Rasmus Dam Petersen 40
Rickard Johansson 31 Roger Fredriksen 48 Roy Hasselberg 21 Rune Tychsen 10 Sebastian Andersson 64 Sindy Charlotte Thomsen 40 Thomas Engström 64 Thomas Thomsen 40 Thor Åge Grande 48 Tom Wiklund 48 Tommy Blomqvist 49 Torben Pors 13 Tor Henrik Larsen 6 Tiffanie Sjøtting 10 Tiimar Haidak 6 Troels Veise 44 Uffe Mølgaard 38 Yaasin Mohamed 64 Youssef Bakran 64 Zoran Naumovski 64
MY SPOT / THE VARANGER PENINSULA
“Soothing for the soul” “IT’S LIKE I have two homes. After leaving work in Tana, I either drive home to my house in Nesseby, or I just carry on driving out to the plateau on the Varanger peninsula. I usually fish, take pictures or cycle there. Hunting for a big salmon generates an incredible adrenaline rush, and I also fish for pollock in Varanger fjord. It is a pleasure to be able to work in the midst of this wild and beautiful countryside. Being able to recharge my batteries just a salmon jump from the truck. Most of the Varanger peninsula, located on the northern tip of Norway, is a national park. During the summer, it is light 24 hours a day and at night the midnight sun creates a magical atmosphere. When I take pictures, I mainly focus on animals. The peninsula is an important habitat for
the alpine fox, but I usually photograph moose, reindeer, foxes and grouse. It is exciting trying to capture the perfect image. It is important to be alert and quick when photographing animals, and sometimes everything comes together perfectly. I have participated in some photography exhibitions with my photos from the Varanger peninsula, including at the Varanger Sami Museum. My trips to the peninsula are soothing for my soul.” KEVIN NILSEN, TRANSPORT MANAGER INTERVIEWED BY SISSEL FANTOFT PHOTO: BJARNE RIESTO Closest colleagues: Jørn Kollstrøm, Kim Salamonsen, Tor Henrik Larsen, Tiimar Haidak.
P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
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Instagram ambassadors, ballerinas and tortoises on the loose. Pick up makes quick stops around the world of PostNorders.
PostNorders share the images captured on their mobile phones. Drop us an email and tell us about your photo: firstname.lastname@example.org
Energy at the gym “I work out at the Training for Warriors gym in Vantaa two or three times a week. All the exercises are done in groups or pairs. We take a group photo after each session. As you can see in the image, there is always a great atmosphere! Everyone helps each other and there are high-fives all around after the workout. The gym sessions are the perfect complement for my work in customer service and everyday life at home with the children. I have been doing this for two and a half years, as working out in a group gives me a lot of energy. I think the exercise sessions have made me more sociable and help me create a positive atmosphere in the workplace as well.” Jonna Hameri, customer service employee, Vantaa, Finland
“We poke fun at ourselves quite a lot” They work at the same mail delivery office and share images of their everyday working life via @brevbarare and @postdrottningar. On Instagram, the mail delivery office in Tierp has become a place that affects more than just the employees who work there every day. Agneta Bergström started her account @brevbarare in 2013, to show her work via images taken from her mail van. “I was contacted by the Hållnäs heritage association, which wanted to use some of my images for a book and an exhibition. They liked my landscape photographs, which depict life in the countryside in rain, storm and shine,” says Agneta. Eva Thomsson and Agnes Theberg work at the same office as Agneta in Tierp. They are friends outside work too, and they came up with the idea to create their joint account @postdrottningar around a year ago. “I thought it would be fun to share images from my work day with both friends and colleagues. Our account is full of irony; we try to keep things lighthearted and also poke fun at ourselves and the job of a postman quite a lot,” says Eva. P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
Eva Thomsson: “We joke a lot in our posts. I took this photo spontaneously at lunch time. A queen’s crown for a mail queen. We get the most likes for posts of something we’ve baked, because our colleagues know there will be some tasty things at the coffee break the next day!”
Agneta Bergström: “A typical photo for my Instagram account. I nearly always take my photos from the mail van. This image was shown at the Hållnäs heritage association’s photo exhibition.”
TEXT: MARIE-LOUISE ARNFAST PHOTO: FREDDY BILLQVIST
Lotte Vestergaard Position at PostNord: Production Manager at the Distribution Copenhagen letter terminal. After work: Lotte leaves work at midday. She doesn’t take an afternoon nap but instead goes to bed early in the evening: “I sometimes go to the gym and work out a bit. I also play football in Vallensbæk. We have recently been promoted to the Zealand Series.” Closest colleagues: “Rune Tychsen gave me some good advice when I started my management training.” Her closest colleagues are currently Ghita Schultz, Lars Hess, Henrik Skou, Birgitte Jensen, Tiffanie Sjøtting, Louise Lyloff, Michael Schultz and Jess Friis.
She sought the law, but PostNord won What happened? Lotte Vestergaard was to wear a different blue uniform. LOTTE VESTERGAARD’S DREAM was to have a job that “involved an eventful everyday working life.” Police work felt like an obvious choice for her. And working life certainly turned out to be eventful. But at PostNord. “A good job can mean a lot of things, but for me personally it involves having variety and surprising challenges that have to be solved right away. That’s why I thought about becoming a police officer, but I actually get plenty of such challenges at PostNord as well,” says Lotte, who started at Distribution Copenhagen in February 2018. After just three months, she also received an offer she couldn’t refuse: to become production manager. And even though she is still undergoing her
management training, she has already got a taste of managerial responsibility. First she managed a team of about 20 people on the night and morning shifts. Then the number of employees she managed grew to over 60, and she was given responsibility for planning and distributing the daily tasks. “Unlike at Burger King, where I was a manager before I came here, my colleagues at PostNord are often older than me and they ask a lot more questions. That made me a little nervous initially. But basically everyone is friendly and helpful. They know that I’m still in training.” Her work day starts at four o’clock in the morning, and the goal is to meet the deadline at nine o'clock. By that time, all the mail should be sorted and ready, so
that the postmen can start their rounds. “I am a competitive person and hate it when we don’t achieve our goals – but fortunately we almost always succeed. If we have had to make special efforts, I sometimes buy a cake for all my colleagues as a thank you.” It was Lotte’s father who encouraged her to apply for a job at PostNord, as he previously worked there. He recommended it as a company at which you can express yourself freely and which accommodates all manner of people. And Lotte agrees with his opinion. “I really like PostNord. It is a fantastic company, and I have learned a lot here. I would like to give something back and can imagine staying here for a long time.”
P EPO E BYP O PO STNNOORRD D PEO LPELBY ST
TEXT: SARA MARCZAK PHOTO: FREDDY BILLQVIST
Nathalie Pålsson takes care of everyone in her district. Including the tortoises.
HEARTS@POSTNORD Are you good at giving that little something extra? Or do you know somebody who is? Please let us know at email@example.com
“Could I read your love letters?” “YOU CAN THROW THE BILLS away, but I want everything else.” “Could I read all your love letters then?” Nathalie Pålsson, who works as a postman in Malmö, stops now and again on each round to chat with “her” gang of pensioners. The jokes tend to be the same every time, but she is fine with that, and always jokes back. Nathalie has gotten to know almost everyone. She can ask how someone's old Labrador dog is feeling or if somebody’s operated knee feels better. “I once met a lady on the boat to Ven. We stood talking for a long time and she suddenly said, ‘It feels like I’ve met you before.’ I had known exactly who she was the whole time,” says Nathalie. Nathalie knows the names and apartment numbers of virtually all the 995 households in her district. “I’ve just picked them up while working. My colleague Lars-Göran ‘LG’ Svensson is the same, so sometimes we have little competitions. If I were to call him in the middle of the night and ask where someone lives, he could tell me the street name and apartment number.” Even though it is mainly just a fun thing to know all the names, the knowledge has sometimes helped if a sender has written the wrong street name or an incomplete address. The best thing about a postman’s job is undoubtedly all the interaction with people. And animals. “I once saw a tortoise walking along. A man said it might belong to Trädgårdspaletten, a shop in Malmö.” Nathalie picked up the tortoise, put it in her bag and rode there. “It was indeed their tortoise. They couldn’t understand how it had gotten so far, as it was apparently the oldest and slowest of them all,” she laughs. She has had less pleasant meetings with cats, who wait by the mailbox with their claws ready. Or the time she was bitten by a dog. “We both came around a corner from opposite directions and the dog got loose and bit my leg. I had to have a tetanus shot but everything turned out fine. I still love dogs, but I do flinch a little when I see a Jack Russell.”
NATHALIE PÅLSSON Position at PostNord: Postman in Malmö. Dream for the future: I studied international sales and marketing and would like to work as an event coordinator in the future. About her colleagues: It would be difficult to leave PostNord as she really likes her colleagues, such as Cecilia Borg, Emma Gustavsson, Jörgen Månsson, Nils Åke Gustavsson and Lars-Göran “LG” Svensson: “We sometimes play little tricks on each other, like filling someone’s car with balloons.” P EEO N ONRO D R D OPPLLEEBY BYP OPST O ST
To find out more about Nathalie Follow us on Instagram @peoplebypostnord
THE MEMORY / A VISIT BY THE QUEEN
TEXT: MICHAEL KIRKEBY PHOTO: KENNET HAVGAARD
A brush with royalty Presenting flowers to the queen topped meeting the Terminator. “I AM NOT the sort of person to get nervous, and I was convinced it would go well. But when the motorcycles and the big cars drove up, my heart started pounding wildly. She’s here!” It was Haseeb Zeb who was given the task of handing over flowers when Queen Margrethe visited the gigantic new parcel terminal in Køge, 30 kilometers south of Copenhagen, in May. As Gateway Manager, it is Haseeb’s job to handle all the parcels that come from countries such as Germany and the UK that are destined for other Nordic countries. There are around 30,000 such parcels to handle each day. “I had only been a bit starstruck once before in my life, when the Terminator visited Copenhagen. I stood next to Arnold Schwarzenegger when he exercised his back muscles at a fitness
center. I love working out. It provides calmness in one’s mind after a stressful day at work. That helps me to be relaxed when I come home to the family.” Haseeb lives in Ishøj with his wife and children, nine-year-old Laiba and five-year-old Ibrahim. Laiba in particular was excited before the royal visit and told everyone at school that it was her dad who would hand over the flowers. “My boss Per Albrektsen gave me the task as a reward for the effort I put into my job, and that meant a lot to me. Usually it is small girls with braided hair who hand over flowers, so obviously my colleagues teased me a bit. But it was a great honor – to be honest it was even better than meeting the Terminator.” “How does one hand over flowers to a queen? I used both my hands, to make
sure she got hold of them. We are good at process optimization here at PostNord. I bowed twice as well — just to be on the safe side.”
Haseeb Zeb Position at PostNord: Gateway Manager at the Køge terminal in Denmark. Closest colleagues: Nadia Kim Haastrup: “She is always happy and always thinks she is right.” Karwan Akrawi: “Probably my closest colleague. A role model.” John Franzen: “He always listens and provides help.” Mehmet Øzcan: “He promoted me to the position of manager and is very helpful.” Per Albrektsen: “My dear manager, who is always there for me when I need him. He is always there, 100 percent!”
Haseeb Zeb bowed twice – just to be on the safe side.
P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
PICKING A BRAIN / ANNE METTE HVID
TEXT: MICHAEL KIRKEBY PHOTO: FREDDY BILLQVIST
PostNord i Skive:
Ready for delivery “We are about 40 employees at the depot in Skive, and from here we cover both the town itself and a large geographical area consisting of villages and rural areas. All the mail is delivered from the distribution hub in Herning, so we effectively just have to load the delivery vehicles here. One of my tasks is to scan the Collect parcels and put them on the shelf in the convenience store, so that they are ready for collection – that makes it easy for everyone.” The colleagues:
Everyone helps each other “I work in close cooperation with Hans Kristensen, Torben Pors and Peter Smedemark, who also make delivery rounds. We get on well with each other and have an agreement that no one goes home until everyone is finished. At the end of the work day, we ring around asking if anyone needs help with the last items. It’s great to have such a culture of helpfulness at work.” Physical endurance:
Heading in the right direction
“It’s a great culture of helpfulness at work.” IN THE JUTLAND town of Skive, parcel distributor Anne Mette Hvid has acquired a new stop on her normal round – one of the 500 new Collect Shops (partner outlets) that are being established across Denmark in 2019, to make it easier to collect parcels from PostNord. “My Collect Shop is located in a convenience store right at the entrance to, and exit from, a ring road where people can easily stop. That is clever. P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
“I love running and will run my ninth marathon next year. Every now and then, customers who know that I run ask how the training is going. It is of course useful at work to be in good physical shape. That makes it easier to handle parcels, and I am also not too tired when I get home to my husband and three children. Although the children are now big enough that we basically just need to make sure that there is enough food in the fridge!”
I already deliver many parcels there daily.” Anne Mette has noticed that the number of parcels to nonbusiness recipients has increased. “It is amazing how much both old and young people order online. You can get anything. Fortunately, there are clothes in most of the parcels, so they aren’t too heavy. And I understand why that is the case. I also buy things online, particularly clothes — it is so easy to do now.” 13
TEXT: MALIN DAHLBERG PHOTO: MAGNUS LAUPA
3 Karolina’s dance favorites 1. Swan Lake. “Everyone has heard of this ballet. It is so beautiful and dramatic, with its black and white costumes with feathers.” 2. L a Vivandière. “A ballet in a single act. Ballets don’t always have to be long and grand.” 3. George Balanchine.“One of my favorite choreographers. His style is neoclassical; in other words, he mixes modern and classic.”
A ballerina’s tough choice “Dancing is a part of me that will never disappear,” says Karolina Larsson CALMNESS and proximity to the sea: this is how Karolina Larsson describes the biggest advantages of Vellinge, a town about 25 km south of Malmö. There she has a house, a family and her job as a postman, and at the pay desk at PostNord’s business center. She loves her job, but it 14
involved making a sacrifice. Karolina was originally a professional dancer. Her education at the Royal Swedish Ballet School was a dream come true, but after graduating she quickly realized that life as a professional dancer can be a tough career choice. “I applied for dancing jobs
and went to auditions, but it was difficult. To make a living as a dancer it is often necessary to move from Sweden,” says Karolina. Instead of a career balancing on her toes, she met a man, had children, and acquired a house in her beloved Skåne. And a job at PostNord. But she still has a
great passion for dancing. “Dancing is a part of me that will never disappear. It is such an incredibly wonderful way to express your emotions. Now I teach ballet to children and young people. It is my goal in life to pass this cultural heritage on to future generations.” P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
THE PHYSICS LESSON / SOLAR CELLS
Shining success At the TPL terminal in Helsingborg, five million cups of coffee can be brewed for free each year. All courtesy of the sun. A PERFECT BUILDING FOR SOLAR PANELS One of Helsingborg’s largest buildings, PostNord’s E6 third-party logistics terminal is partly powered by the solar panels on its roof. The panels cover a roof area of approximately 1,600 square meters and are expected to produce around 130,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. This corresponds to approximately 11 percent of the terminal’s annual consumption.
THE RAIN KEEPS THEM CLEAN
The solar panels on the E6 terminal are south-facing. They are placed at an angle that allows the rain to wash them. There is a risk that the system is covered by snow or leaves. “So we sometimes have to sweep the panels,” says Logistics Unit Manager at the E6 terminal in Helsingborg Thomas Persson.
A COLOSSAL CAFFEINE HIGH
The annual production of electricity at the E6 terminal could be used to power 700,000 km of driving in an electric car, keep a 40-watt bulb shining continuously for 375 years, or make 5,260,000 cups of coffee.
“WOULD HAVE LIKED TO MAKE IT EVEN BIGGER” “We would have liked to have built an even larger area of solar panels, but Swedish regulations mean that this is not currently possible. But that will no doubt soon change. It is in any case important to make a statement, to be an early adopter and to promote sustainable energy,” Thomas says.
TENSION IS RISING When the sun’s rays hit the solar cells, a voltage (electric tension) is generated between the front and the back of each cell. By connecting a wire between the front and the rear, direct current is formed. In order to allow the electricity to be used in the building, a so-called inverter is used, which converts direct current to alternating current.
This multiplied by 5,260,000.
A YEAR’S WORTH IN TWO HOURS “Helsingborg is one of Sweden’s sunniest places. It is also a common misunderstanding that a clear sky is required to use solar cells. It is sufficient if it is just quite bright outside,” says Logistics Unit Manager at the E6 terminal in Helsingborg Thomas Persson.
P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
Over the course of two hours, the earth receives as much energy from the sun as the entire world population uses in a year. So it is only our capability to capture that energy in a sustainable way that sets the limits regarding how much renewable energy we can use.
THE SAHARA CAN POWER EUROPE Researchers are investigating how solar panel parks can best be used in the Sahara Desert. If 0.2 percent of its surface was used for solar panels, they could provide the whole of Europe with electricity. One of the main challenges is how the electricity can be transported the long distance from Africa to Europe in an efficient manner.
OPPOSITES / VETERAN AND NEW ARRIVAL
SONJA 40 YEARS
JOUNI 6 MONTHS
A skilled veteran Not many people in the world have handled as many parcels as Sonja Kærly. We meet a "customs officer" in Copenhagen who has plenty of experience.
ext year, Sonja Kærly will be celebrating her 40th anniversary as a ghost hunter. At PostNord’s International Mail Center in Kastrup near Copenhagen, she helps 400 Danes get their parcels from abroad each day. “The important thing is to put the parcels in the right places on the shelves. Otherwise it’s difficult to find them again. They become ‘ghost parcels’ that live lives of their own,” says Sonja. But it is not just ghost parcels that have a somewhat different life. Sometimes there is suspicion that a parcel contains an endangered species. In such cases, the parcel is sent to Sonja or one of her 20 colleagues for closer inspection. The same thing happens if there is a suspicion that a consignment contains, for example, a Gucci bag of questionable origin. Otherwise, only parcels with content worth more than SEK 80 end up with Sonja – parcels with a lower value are not subject to customs fees. The job has of course changed quite a lot over the course of four decades. As is the case with 90 percent of the world’s workplaces, most of the change can be summarized with one word: digitalization. In Sonja’s case, this means, among other things, that all parcels are scanned, which helps considerably when storing and retrieving them. “When I started here at the customs section we recorded everything by hand. Now we just look at our tablets to see all the items that have been registered. It’s amazing. I’m not really a computer person, but it isn’t too difficult to get to know the important functions.” Another thing that has changed over the years is the number of colleagues and the tasks they do. As letter volumes have shrunk and parcel volumes increased – and also because of efficiency improvements and changed work routines – the number of employees in several functions has decreased. “But it is still the colleagues that mean the most. The sense of togetherness, and being able to work smoothly together, is a key aspect regarding enjoying going to work.” Sonja’s team consists of twelve people. The size of the group means that they know each other well and have insight into each other’s lives. They allocate and rotate the tasks themselves. Although most consignments weigh no more than a few 16
SONJA KÆRLY Position at PostNord: Handles parcels at the International Mail Center at Kastrup in Copenhagen.
kilograms, each employee moves around a ton of parcels each day altogether. And while handling parcels, Sonja walks around eight kilometers per day. “Then it is nice to be able to sit down for half an hour and do something else, such as handle a request from a customer who is trying to locate a parcel. It can be a nice challenge to find the parcel and thereby make a customer happy.” After 40 years, she is still driven by the goal of achieving good order among the items. There will be no ghosts on Sonja’s watch! And maybe that is a particularly good characteristic to have in an industry in a state of constant change? “Disorder is the worst thing I know! It would also be good to have a little more certainty about the work situation in the future. We of course have to be adaptable, but it is difficult when something new is being implemented all the time,” she says. So what about after work? Then she reads lots of books. Especially crime fiction. She sometimes gets through 80 books a year.
P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
ILLUSTRATIONS: JOHAN HÖRBERG
A motivated debutant Jouni Pesonen lives one day at a time — although mainly at night. We meet a brand new terminal worker in northern Finland.
ouni Pesonen was headhunted by his old colleague A-P Lantto. Because who wouldn’t want to have a marten at the terminal? Yes, a flexible and hard-working guy who has no problems working nights. “I wanted to make a change, so I came for an interview and got the job,” says
Jouni. He has that straightforward and no-nonsense attitude. Other people can take care of the small talk. And perhaps that is why he got into the job so quickly. “Everyone knows what they need to do. Nobody has purely dedicated tasks to do; instead we all work with everything and always help each other when needed.” Jouni started working at the terminal at the end of last year. He can already do most things, and when he is unsure there is always someone there to help. He praises his colleagues for their great memories and extensive skills. The small team at I-Logistics in Oulu in northern Finland welcomes trucks from PostNord in Vantaa outside Helsinki, and from Turku. From there, the parcels continue their journey with other trucks, and individual parcels are placed manually in the right starting box for onward transportation by van. It is physically demanding work. Jouni estimates that they handle about a thousand parcels and up to two hundred pallets during each shift. And some of the shifts are at night. “You can only manage this if you are in good physical shape. Fortunately, I have muscles of steel that can’t possibly be made any stronger,” he says and laughs. The body can cope with physical work if you take care of it. During his free time, he exercises and eats well. The night shift can be particularly tough. But Jouni manages it without any problems. He says that he can fall asleep as soon as he closes his eyes. “Although I had a different rhythm in the past, there has been no problem for my body to adapt to the new
JOUNI PESONEN Position at PostNord: Terminal worker at I-Logistics in Oulu, who works for PostNord.
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one. I sleep enough after work and sometimes a little bit extra before I work.” The work at the terminal is not just routine work. Sometimes they have a bit of an adventure when they have to sort out where parcels are to be taken with drivers from abroad. “Not all the drivers can speak Finnish or English, so we sometimes have to find other forms of communication to ensure the parcels are taken to the right place.” If the volume of parcels grows rapidly, the terminal will definitely not reduce the pace of the work. Jouni says that he has already noticed that online shopping has increased and that there are ever greater numbers of parcels on the move. He thinks that his work is stimulating. It is certainly never boring. “I take one day at a time. I hope to continue working in this area.” “Or maybe I’ll have a different opinion in one or two years,” he says with a smile.
Ellen Marie Kasin, Operations Coordinator at the Alfaset terminal in Oslo, enjoys the highlight of the year. 18
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THE MISSION / TV-AKSJONEN
THE BEST JOB
“It feels especially nice to be able to contribute to something so important, something so right as this,” says Ellen Marie Kasin. TEXT: OLA HENMO PHOTO: CHRIS MALUSZYNSKI LÉONCIE IN BURUNDI was petrified of her husband Faustin. He drank too much, beat her and pushed the family into poverty. Assumpta in Rwanda was forced to leave school when her mother became a single mother. These are just two of the 400,000 women that the relief organization Care in Norway wants to help create a new life. Léoncie now sells fruit and vegetables at the market and her husband Faustin was given help to break his socially inherited spiral of violence and oppression against women. Assumpta got help, via loans and mentoring, with starting her own hairdressing salon. There are 104 countries in the world with laws that ban women from working. That is very different from Norway, both geographically and culturally. “In my everyday work, I mostly focus on deviations, and things that have gone wrong. So it feels especially nice to be able to contribute to something so important, something as right as this. The campaign is a real highlight of the year for me,” says PostNord Operations Coordinator Ellen Marie Kasin.
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THIS IS THE sixth year in a row that PostNord is a partner of the Norwegian TV-aksjonen campaign, which is also called the world’s largest volunteer effort. By the end of Sunday, October 20, 100,000 volunteers with collection boxes will have visited 2.3 million households to collect money for the aid organization Care. The Norwegian TV channel NRK clears its normal schedule of programs for the evening. And before that, all the campaign material has to be delivered to the collection committees in 19 counties and 428 municipalities. PostNord does this free of charge. The work is estimated to be worth around half a million SEK. “We are very proud to be a part of this,” says Ellen. And before all the T-shirts, stickers, brochures, balloons and buttons end up in PostNord’s trucks for delivery to the campaign’s local offices around the country, they have to be packed. This is done by Fossheim Verksteder, which is a workplace with a difference based in the Hasle district of Oslo. It offers so-called adapted jobs for disabled people, most of whom have cognitive disabilities. ON THE MORNING in June when Ellen is visiting, Kristian Benjaminsen and André Kolstad Ryen are in
Norway’s largest collection for charitable purposes. It has been organized since 1974 by NRK with other selected organizations. The campaign is held on a Sunday in October each year.
the warehouse counting items. They pack calendars and brochures for counties and municipalities in accordance with exact instructions. Almost 500 parcels have already been transported from Fossheim Verksteder in PostNord’s vehicles, so André, Kristian and the drivers can now have a few somewhat quieter months before things get hectic again in the fall. “I really like working for TV-aksjonen. Doing the packing for them actually gives me a sense of calm. It’s quite noisy in our production department. Kristian is fortunately fairly quiet, so I like working with him,” says a smiling André. Kristian adds, “When I do the packing for the campaign, I realize I am doing something to help people who don’t even have a home.” NRK has organized TV-aksjonen every year since 1974.
Kristian Benjaminsen, Ellen Marie Kasin and André Kolstad Ryen.
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“When I do the packing for TV-aksjonen, I realize I am doing something to help people who don’t even have a home,” says Kristian Benjaminsen.
The charity organization that is fortunate enough to be selected to receive the donations each year can expect to get approximately SEK 275 million. The donations went to Kirkens Bymisjon last year and Unicef the year before that. And this year, Care will benefit from the generosity of Norwegians. The money that is raised will contribute to Care’s ongoing efforts to give 400,000 women in nine countries (Niger, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Jordan and Palestine) the opportunity to create their own workplace, have control over their own bodies and make their voices heard. In other words, these women will get to experience development and be given the opportunity to take control of their lives. And when they get such opportunities, the places in which they live also benefit, because the economy is fundamentally improved. It is like a ripple effect. And this is also the goal for employees at the growth company Fossheim Verksteder. “We offer many different types of tasks, because our employees’ individual situations can be so different. Only about half of them can read, write and count,” says departmental manager Øyvind Quist, who adds that TV-aksjonen is one of the organization’s biggest and most important tasks. AS ELLEN CHATS with André and Kristian, she is again reminded of the importance of the cooperation with both the campaign and with Fossheim VerkstedP E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
ELLEN MARIE KASIN:
We are proud to be a part of this. Ellen Marie Kasin Position at PostNord: Operations Coordinator for Logistics at the Alfaset terminal in Oslo. Closest colleagues: Roy Hasselberg, Carl Johan Forssten, John Terje Barikmo and Jane Mette Quille.
er. Before joining PostNord, she worked at a facility for people with mental disabilities, and she can really recognize André and Kristian’s sense of professional pride and joy from that time: the residents at that facility could only be stopped from going to work if they had something like pneumonia. “It would be so boring if we didn’t have any work to do,” says André. ASSUMPTA IN RUHANGO, in southern Rwanda, currently has two apprentices in her hairdressing salon. The help she has received has made it possible for her to shift her thoughts from pure survival to the same thoughts that André and Kristian have: professional pride. She wants to save and borrow more money, to be able to invest more in the salon. “I'm going to buy a generator so I don’t have to take breaks when there’s a power failure. When the power goes, so do the customers,” she tells blimed.no. 21
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KEVIN CURTIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
TRANSPORTS THAT SAVE LIVES
If the flow of blood transports stops, modern healthcare collapses. If Mikael Kreutz stops, someone could die. TEXT: MALIN DAHLBERG PHOTO: NICKE JOHANSSON
“IT WAS A REAL SHOCK” AT 10:06 AM ON OCTOBER 22, 2015, a 21-year-old man enters the Kronan school in Trollhättan. He is dressed in a homemade uniform with a black coat, a black painted army helmet on his head and a mask on his face. He is holding a sword. He starts his planned attack in the school’s cafeteria and then searches corridor after corridor for more victims. Before being shot by police at 10:16 am, Anton Lundin Pettersson has killed three people in what is described as one of the most bizarre and bloody attacks in Sweden’s history. PostNord’s courier Mikael Kreutz hasn’t yet heard about the incident when he receives a call about an urgent transport to Trollhättan that is required. The Norra Älvsborg County Hospital needs blood. A lot of blood. Urgently. Mikael is at Sahlgrenska University Hospital when the alarm sounds. He goes to the transfusion medicine department, which has swung into action, and signs for three bags of blood. Normally, if a transport is a real emergency, PostNord’s courier P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
can request a police escort, but this time all the police are already on their way to the scene of the crime. Mikael realizes how serious it is, jumps into his vehicle and follows the police along the 70 km route. He soon drops off the first of many blood transports in Trollhättan that day. “We rarely receive information about what has happened and should handle all transports the same way, but I quickly realized this was something extraordinary. And my heart sank when I heard about the school attack on the radio. It was a real shock.” MAY 2019. It is a gray, cloudy Wednesday in Gothenburg. Mikael is sitting in the blue courier van that he has driven for ten years. He is one of around 70 drivers who carry out medical transports for PostNord on behalf of the Västra Götaland region. In addition to blood, these include various types of test samples, medicines and medical aids that have to be transported to and from hospitals and patients. Organs for transplants are also sometimes transported. The agreement covers around 30,000 transports per year, which may need to be carried out at any time of day, any day of the year. 23
A stop at the blood donor center at Frölunda Torg. Mikael Kreutz receives the day’s donations from Johanna Kjällquist.
PostNord’s traffic management team takes the calls during the day, but during on-call periods Mikael and his colleagues talk directly to the customers and distribute the assignments among themselves. “It might sound like a lonely job sitting in a van all day, but I always have contact with someone via the headset. I’m often on a conference call with four or five of my colleagues. We help each other find the way, or let each other know about traffic jams,” says Mikael as he rolls past the emergency room at Östra Hospital and on to Queen Silvia’s children's hospital. A box of dialysis fluid needs to be taken to one of the care wards. The corridor smells of linoleum and hand sanitizer. Mikael knows his way around very well and quickly heads to the elevators. “There aren’t many corners and little rooms in the hospitals in the region that I don’t know about,” he says as he pushes the button for the third floor.
LIFESAVING LOGISTICS THE FACT THAT people voluntarily donate blood is not just important, but lifesaving. So says Stefan Jakobsson, Head of Department at GeBlod at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, who has the task of recruiting blood donors and supplying the hospitals with blood. 24
There aren’t many corners and little rooms in the hospitals in the region that I don’t know about. “Modern healthcare can’t work without a supply of blood. That’s why it’s important that we also have smoothly functioning logistics,” he says. PostNord carries out several different types of blood transports for the region. They consist primarily of the scheduled deliveries from GeBlod to the hospitals’ labs and blood storage facilities. In addition to these, there are emergency orders between the hospitals in connection with operations, deliveries of babies and trauma cases. But to emphasize when something is really serious, there is a third level, called red alert. “An example of when these transports really make a difference is if we receive an urgent order for platelets, which are needed for cancer treatment. In such cases, P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
It must never take more than 60 minutes from order placement to delivery of the blood bag. It often takes a much shorter time.
Blood transports in Gothenburg
The pace of the job is high and new assignments are constantly coming in on the couriers’ mobile phones.
a seriously ill person is waiting for a transfusion. Such deliveries can be a matter of life and death,” says Stefan Jakobsson. On the receiving end is Sara Keshavarzi, Head of Immune Hematology at Sahlgrenska. She is responsible, among other things, for providing the hospital with blood components, such as erythrocytes, plasma and platelets, which are indispensable for daily medical care. “Most operations require blood components to be available. If a patient starts bleeding suddenly, they won’t survive without them,” she says. In addition to receiving the scheduled deliveries from GeBlod, her unit also orders emergency blood transports, which places high demands on PostNord. As confidentiality rules apply, drivers must never leave the blood bags unattended. They have to take the most direct route, without detours or breaks, and hand over the blood in person. Each delivery must be traceable and receipt acknowledged by signature. Not a single drop of blood can go missing. It is a tough assignment, but Sara is pleased. “We have a great collaboration with PostNord. They P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
PostNord’s courier operations have provided healthcare transports for the Västra Götaland region since 1999. The assignment comprises approximately 30,000 transports per year and can involve local, national and international transports. The emergency transports may be required on any day of the year and at any hour of the day. In addition to blood, transports can involve medicines, patient aids and hospital food, as well organs and test samples. The person responsible for this side of the business is Cecilia Östensson, Production Area Manager in Gothenburg. “There is a sense of pride in having this assignment. Everyone, from the traffic management team to the drivers, understands what a responsibility it means. The region often also emphasizes how important these transports are in the healthcare process.”
take us seriously if we remark on any aspect of the delivery, and the drivers are nice and service oriented. It should not be forgotten that they are an important part of the healthcare system.”
STAY CALM MIKAEL KREUTZ RUNS into the blood donor center at Frölunda Torg and comes out with a bright red bag that needs to reach Sahlgrenska University Hospital within 60 minutes. He is well aware of the high requirements specified in the agreement with the Västra Götaland region. All PostNord couriers are trained in GDP – good distribution practice – which deals with how to handle medicine transports in terms of time, temperature and hygiene. The drivers keep daily temperature logs to show that the temperature in the transport has not been below the 5 degrees or above the 25 degrees stipulated as thresholds in the agreement. The transports are controlled via a GPS positioning system, but Mikael 25
Who can donate blood?
Many people can give blood, but not everyone is allowed to be a blood donor. Sometimes you have to wait or temporarily stop donating, for example, if you have been traveling abroad, gotten a tattoo or been sick. This is to minimize the risk of the recipient receiving infected blood. To donate blood you have to: • be aged 18—60 • be healthy • weigh at least 50 kilos • have a valid ID document
Position at PostNord: Drives a courier van in Gothenburg. All the drivers are subcontractors who own their own vehicles but work exclusively for PostNord. Closest colleagues: Per Alftenius, Erik Forsberg, Joaquin Franci, Björn Lundberg and Fredrik Kreutz. Other interests: Is heavily involved in the Swedish ice hockey league (SHL) and works with, among other things, inserting graphics and statistics for TV broadcasts on TV4.
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The drivers may never leave the bags unattended and receipt must be acknowledged by signature. Gun-Britt Hansen at the transfusion medicine department receives the delivery.
Kreutz and his colleagues have acquired the most important knowledge as a result doing the work. “Good local knowledge is an absolute must. When every second counts, you don’t want to have to waste time checking addresses and finding your way in hospital corridors. We have to know exactly where we’re going and how to get there.” AND IT IS important to stay calm. Once Mikael has had his morning coffee and done his first scheduled rounds of the day, he has no idea what will happen next. An emergency transport with a red alert status can mean driving at full speed to Malmö with a medical instrument that is required for an operation. Or transporting a blood sample from a person with a suspected ongoing heart attack that has to reach the lab within 25 minutes, otherwise it will be unusable. Other times, he has to sit outside an operating room, sometimes for several hours. “Operation calls and says, ‘We’re going to do a biopsy on a suspected cancer. We’ll be making the incision in one hour. Please get here!’ When I’m finally given the sample, I’m well aware that there’s a person on the operating table who needs an answer, and that it’s my responsibility to ensure it arrives as quickly as possible.” IT IS QUITE clear then that people with this job have to enjoy never knowing what the next day will look like and have to appreciate the challenge that such P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
Your blood’s amazing journey
A newborn baby has about the same amount of blood as fits in a coffee cup. Adults have around five liters of blood in their bodies. During a single day, the blood travels about 19,000 km through the body’s blood vessels. If you arranged the vessels one after another on the ground, they would circle the earth twice. The role of red blood cells (erythrocytes) is to transport oxygen to the cells and carbon dioxide from them to the lungs. Adults have about 25 trillion red blood cells. White blood cells (leukocytes) are part of the body’s immune system. Only a few percent of the white blood cells are in our blood vessels; most are in the body’s tissues. Platelets (thrombocytes) are cell fragments that help stop bleeding that originates from blood vessels.
tight time schedules involve. And have the courage to do everything required to ensure the transport arrives. And accept that there was no time for a proper lunch that day either. “Ha ha, yes, that is indeed the case. I have to be a bit creative with food sometimes,” says Mikael as he turns in to Sahlgrenska. It is time to hand over the red blood bag to a nurse at the transfusion medicine department. A ping on his phone indicates the arrival of a new order. Before Mikael Kreutz gets out of his van he says, “I really love my job. No two days are the same, but above all it feels like I’m doing something important. I know we’re just a small cog in the healthcare chain, but I’m still very proud to be part of it.”
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A vast and tricky market How PostNord works with medical transports in the Nordic region. And how the company aims to grow in the future. SEK 10 BILLION. That is the potential size of the logistics services in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector in the Nordic region. PostNord currently has about 10 percent of that market. Eva Carlsson’s team at PostNord’s Customer Concept unit has just carried out a review of the market. To obtain a better overview, they have divided it into three segments – public sector, distributors and e-retailers. “We looked at the type of Eva Carlsson companies that exist, who their customers are and what products they offer. Based on that, we talked to the Swedish Medical Products Agency and interviewed experts and logistics managers. This has helped us understand the needs, and made us aware of the regulations for the transport and storage of medicines in particular,” she says.
To achieve this goal, PostNord Finland has acquired vehicles that can maintain a temperature of between 8 and 25 degrees, regardless of whether it is 30 degrees or minus 30 degrees outside, which is one of the international requirements for transporting medicines. A challenge in Finland is the long distances involved, which make transport more difficult. But Marko points out that it is important that all citizens have access to functioning healthcare services, whether they live in growing urban areas in the south or far up in the north. “In the transport chain, we have to take responsibility and keep all our promises. Although it is not always a matter of life and death to get a delivery there on time, it can have a huge impact on the customer.”
Medical transport is an important and exciting market with great potential for increased growth. ing temperature-sensitive products, which involves training employees, monitoring transports and checking that vehicles and containers maintain the right temperature. “We have specialized drivers for our medicine transports, and we automatically receive alarms if deviating temperatures are measured or other operating problems occur,” says Berit.
THE REVIEW OF the Nordic market provides a clear picture of what PostNord can do for the industry, according to Eva Carlsson. “In the public sector, tendering procedures POSTNORD NORWAY CURRENTLY has two that are often quite complicated are held. There THE MARKET HAS very different characterismajor customers in the field of e-commerce for are only a few providers that can do this, and tics between the various Nordic countries. In we are one of them.” medicines, and will also start distributing Denmark, as in Sweden, there is the Facility E-commerce relating to pharmacy products is Service – which certifies employees to take care medicines for one of the three major wholesalgrowing rapidly. The digitalization of the county ers in the country, Norsk Medisinaldepot. of transports and mail sorting for medical councils is also an opportunity through which “Medical transport is an companies – but otherwise PostNord, with its unique geographical coverage important and exciting market healthcare transport is a relatively with great potential for increased in the Nordic countries, can take market share. unexplored area. In Finland, on “Many county councils are now building growth. It is a customer group the other hand, initiatives are their own e-commerce portals, through which that requires great precision, being taken in this area. which means that PostNord has to patients can order aids and consumable “The aim is to become the focus on quality at every stage of materials for home delivery. Given the sparsely most sought-after provider in the populated areas in the northern parts of distribution,” says Key Account Finnish market,” says Marko Sweden, Norway and Finland, we should Manager Berit Krange. Varalahti, who is responsible for PostNord Norway has created a definitely be a candidate for providing these logistics services in the healthcare Marko Varalahti nationwide system for transport- services.” area. 28
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Check out the top winter tips Follow us on Instagram @peoplebypostnord
The Guide WINTER IS COMING PostNord employees know more about Nordic winter than most people. Here is their guide to staying warm when the temperature plunges.
Karin, a postman in Kiruna, provides a guide to PostNord’s winter uniform.
Henri knows all about the quirks of the Finnish winter. And the country’s inhabitants.
When winter is at its most bitter, it is Brian who decides whether or not the mail can be delivered.
Anette, a postman on Jutland, has cycled into North Sea headwinds for 33 years.
North of the Arctic Circle, you can sometimes experience a blue natural phenomenon: Mirja.
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Lenni Pedersen, an operations coordinator in Esbjerg, prefers to sweat rather than freeze.
Cold facts Karin Estola, a postman in Kiruna, reviews PostNord’s winter uniform.
WINDPROOF HAT Knitted hat with a windproof membrane. There is also a headband and a hat adapted for bicycle helmets. Based on feedback from postmen, a balaclava and a polar neck tube are also now available. Karin says: “It’s great that they added the balaclava and the neck tube. Because I live where the wind really hurts your face. However, the hat doesn't really work for me in Kiruna. It doesn’t quite fit properly and is too synthetic. I don’t like the design either. I would have preferred it in a single color.”
VARIANTS OF GLOVES
WATER-REPELLENT JACKET The collection also includes a warm vest with a water-repellent surface layer, quilted with polyester wadding. Karin says: “It’s good to have laces and touch fasteners at the sleeves because it’s awful to have gaps in your clothing. It never snows straight down in Kiruna. For the same reason, it is good that the sweaters are longer at the back, so you can tuck them into your trousers. A good hood for when you have a window open in the van. An outer shell, vest and layers work better than a thick winter jacket if you have to move around a lot.”
TROUSERS WITH LINING The basic trousers are also available in a lined version. By removing the turquoise hems and unfolding them, the trousers become four centimeters longer. The winter range also includes thermal trousers and shell trousers. Karin says: “It’s good to have reflectors. It’s good to have pockets for small things because the clothes are like the postman’s office. I would have liked to have some kind of drawstring or touch fasteners at the ankles for walking in snow.”
There are many different models, such as acrylic fingerless gloves, leather or synthetic gloves or a warm-lined textile glove with a fold-down upper. Karin says: “It’s good to have options! Fingers are difficult regardless of the gloves that are used, as having a good grip is very important.”
TRAFFIC-FRIENDLY REFLECTORS “We’re out and about in traffic a lot, which means we have to fulfill various requirements. Our trousers all have two reflective stripes in silver with black spots,” says Eva Westin, who is in charge of PostNord’s profile clothing. Karin says: “Reflectors are great, especially in the Arctic night.”
FUNCTIONAL SHOES The black boots are available in various models – with or without lining and with a high or low shaft. Truck drivers must wear safety shoes with toe caps and nail protection, in accordance with the health and safety requirements for people who handle heavy goods. Karin says: “They work well. Make sure to have extra wool socks. Also, use indoor shoes when you are inside so the boots are not sweaty when you go out on your round.”
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15 KARIN’S TIPS WILL KEEP YOU SAFE AND WARM THIS WINTER 1. Avoid having any gaps in your clothes. 2. Use indoor shoes when inside and winter boots outside. 3. Have multiple layers. “In winter, I have three or four layers, from underclothes to additional outerwear. Down vests and softshell items are popular at our mail delivery office most of the year. They make it easier for us to move around.” 4. Fingers are difficult regardless of the gloves that are used, as having a good grip is very important. Take extra pairs on your round. Sometimes you can have merino liners inside the gloves with rubber grips. 5. Tuck your trousers into your shoes. 6. W arm your fingers using the fans in the delivery vehicle or on radiators in stairwells. 7. Take care with your skincare products. Some of them may freeze on your face. 8. Adjust your pace so that you don’t get too sweaty or too cold. Take big steps and do some “mini gymnastics” on stairs to increase your circulation. 9. Flex your toes. 10. K eep your vehicle in a good condition. It isn’t good if the fan or lights stop working when it’s cold and dark. 11. Eat a proper lunch and snacks between meals. You get hungry and tired faster when it’s dark and cold. 12. Have a good thermos and a cup of coffee in your vehicle to help keep your morale up and warm your hands.
“The mail must go through – but safety first” Brian Melhedegaard is the occupational health and safety representative at PostNord in Gladsaxe. When winter is at its most bitter, it is he who decides whether or not the mail can be delivered.
13. Enjoy beautiful skies in the winter night! 14. Keep a shovel in your vehicle. 15. Be in a cheerful mood and greet oncoming traffic. Having good “mental warmth” helps.
Position at PostNord: Postman in Kiruna. Closest colleagues: “We really stick together at the mail delivery office so I’m close to everyone, but for example I talk a lot with Gunder Bäck; I go running with Rickard Johansson; I talk about death metal with Mattias Kenttä and plan happy hour sessions with Jonatan Harnesk.”
“The letters have to be delivered – regardless of the weather, is what we say and that is almost always the case. We’re tough, but of course it has to be safe to send our mail vehicles and bicycles onto roads. I have the last word on the matter, but the management and I are always in agreement with each other. Safety always comes first.” So says Brian Melhedegaard, who is now in his 13th year as the representative among his colleagues for health and safety at PostNord’s large Gladsaxe hub distribution center, on the outskirts of Copenhagen. “I like chatting with people and that’s very useful when I deliver parcels.”
Position at PostNord: Driver and occupational health and safety representative in Gladsaxe in Copenhagen. Closest colleagues: Camilla Andersen, Hamit Afsharm and Lennart Nielsen. “Lennart and I are very similar in a number of ways. We’re the same age, our wives are the same age, we have good conversations and we’re both very interested in cycling. It couldn’t get any better,” says Brian.
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ARCTIC ASSIGNMENT North of the Arctic Circle, you can sometimes experience a blue natural phenomenon that sounds like rumba: Mirja Niva. TEXT: SARA MARCZAK PHOTO: FREDRIC ALM
Mirja Niva was out on her daily postman round of 240 kilometers when she saw something big and black on the road. She thought, “What on earth is that?” and then saw that it was a bear. That is not unique in Pajala — what is more unique, on the other hand, is what happened when the bear saw Mirja’s vehicle approaching. “It somehow thrust its back paws forward and began to roll like a ball. It was very special,” says Mirja Niva. Perhaps it was the approaching winter that put nature in a spin. The coldest work day Mirja has experienced was minus 52 degrees. Her manager thought she shouldn’t go out, but she did her round anyway. She doesn’t mind the cold. Quite the opposite, in fact. “I’m basically never sick. I think the last time was in 2000,” she says. That is good, as the nearest potential substitute is 110 kilometers away. And maybe the secret behind her good health is indeed the cold climate. There is certainly plenty of time spent in the fresh air and countryside, both during and after working hours. Mirja loves winter and sometimes heads out to go cross-country skiing at 10 pm. First a loop with the snowmobile to make the tracks. Then she puts on her skis and headlamp.
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I called Eliasson’s wholesaler store in Karesuando and asked if the tractor could help me.
3 MIRJA DELIVERS mail 250 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, to the 400 households in the village of Kätkesuando in the Pajala area and around the villages in Karesuando, where she herself lives. Along slippery roads on the border between Sweden and Finland, you can see Mirja’s blue mail van swish back and forth during a few hours each day. Outside it is calm and quiet, but in the van the music is so loud that Mirja can barely hear the phone ring. She sings as she does her rounds. “I love music, especially when the volume is pumped up! Between 12 and 1 o’clock I tune in to Finnish radio, when they play a lot of cha-cha and rumba, and then I switch back to Swedish radio again. Nobody can hear me so I can sing as much as I like.” Mirja has worked at the mail delivery office in Karesuando since 1989. She initially sorted mail, and there were seven employees then. Her husband Bengt was one of them. She is on her own there now — and she loves it. She meets her colleagues once a year, at the Christmas dinner. “My husband was the village postman, but when he retired early in 1996 I took over the round. I love this job; every morning I think, ‘Yes, the mail is all mine!’ It’s almost like having my own company, as I do everything.” MIRJA’S MANAGER Emma Thid is based in Kiruna. They talk on the phone. Her colleagues Per-Erik Eriksson and Per-Ola Löfgren are in Vittangi. She takes it very easy on the roads, as that is an absolute must. Not least because of all the wild animals she sees through the windshield. She sees moose, reindeer, hares and forest birds on a near-daily basis.
WINTER TIPS FROM MIRJA 1. Shoes in the van Always have a winter jacket and winter shoes with you. It is important to have warm shoes, in case you get stuck.
2. Thermos with something to drink Take something hot with you in a thermos, like soup, coffee, tea or hot chocolate; the main thing is that it’s hot.
3. Cardboard behind the radiator Cut out a piece of cardboard and put it behind the radiator, so the coldest air doesn’t get into the van. “I once swerved into the ditch to avoid a reindeer. It was OK, as were the van and I. As I sat there waiting, the reindeer keeper came along on his snowmobile and asked where his reindeer had gone. He didn’t ask how I was as I sat in the ditch, though. But then I called Eliasson’s wholesaler store in Karesuando and asked if the tractor could help me.” Mobile phone coverage has improved. At most, you may have to walk a kilometer to get coverage if the car breaks down in a location without a signal. Mirja may not be a role model when it comes to handling the cold. She hardly dares to admit what she wears, even on an ordinary winter day when it is minus 20 to 30 degrees. “I don’t usually have the underclothes. I usually just have my fleece jacket, which I really like. And I usually just wear ordinary sneakers, although I do have winter shoes with me in the van in case I get stuck somewhere.” Except for the times Mirja has gotten stuck with the van on her round, she is rarely
still. Her husband often says she is like the Duracell Bunny. When she is not working at PostNord, she is doing something with her cabin village at home, which is open throughout the year. And whenever she gets the opportunity, she goes to the dance club in Kittilä, in Levi, 160 km from home. “I’m one of those busy bees who is always doing things. And there is so much to do up here. Like fishing, riding snowmobiles and skiing. And I love baking flatbread.” In addition, she is politically active and is a member of the board of the utilities provider Tekniska Verken in Kiruna. Fortunately, she is both an evening and a morning person, and says she does not need more than five hours of sleep each night. Her favorite part of her round is always in the small shop in Kuttaine, twenty kilometers south of Karesuando, toward Pajala. Mirja delivers bread and mail and is always offered a cup of coffee and a sandwich. “I can always take a breather there for a little while; it’s like my coffee break.” IF SHE WANTED TO, and had the time, she could take many more coffee breaks during the round. Many of the households consist of elderly people who are completely dependent on Mirja’s mail deliveries. Many of them do not even have a computer and it is questionable whether or not they could even continue living there without the mail delivered by Mirja, which quite often contains vital medicines. “Many of them want to invite me in for a coffee and sometimes I even get cakes, flowers and gifts. Now and then I get a message that says ‘You’re the best’ and a heart on my phone. That really means a lot to me and keeps my motivation high.”
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Position at PostNord: Rural postman at the mail delivery office in Karesuando. Interests: Runs a cabin village, bakes, dances, picks berries, listens to music and sings, is politically active, skis and rides snowmobiles, and loves to be out in the countryside at all times of the year. “Sometimes I arrange accommodation and food for people who take snowmobile safaris from Kiruna.” Closest colleagues: Per-Erik Eriksson and Per-Ola Löfgren in Kiruna, and her manager Emma Thid: “We talk loads. At least once a week.”
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“The north involves long distances, which means the plows don’t always clear all the roads quickly. It always adds extra spice to the distribution process if the plow hasn’t been there yet,” says Henri Jaakola.
Position at PostNord: Business owner and truck driver at H. Jaakola. Has driven as a sub-contractor for PostNord Finland for eight years. He is in charge of a number of PostNord’s scheduled transports from Vantaa in the south to Oulu in the north. Colleagues at PostNord: Mikko-Antero Savolainen and Antti Niinikoski.
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“THE WHITE FUR OF REINDEER MAKES THEM DIFFICULT TO SEE IN THE SNOW” Henri Jaakola knows all about the quirks of the Finnish winter. And its inhabitants. TEXT: MAIJU KARHUNEN PHOTO: ANTTI J. LEINONEN SUMMER NIGHTS ARE PERFECT for driving big trucks. Especially in the north, when the nights are bright and the sun can shine around the clock. That’s the opinion of Henri Jaakola, who drives many of PostNord’s transports in northern Finland. But the situation is quite different in winter. “In winter, there is more than enough darkness to make up for the summer season. There aren’t many hours of daylight each day,” he says. Finland consists of about 70 percent forest, with 168,000 lakes. Parts of the country are north of the Arctic Circle. When Henri leaves the terminal in Vantaa, outside Helsinki, he can start in a temperature of five degrees with water splashing from the tires, and end up in minus 30 degrees in Oulu in Ostrobothnia, 600 km to the north. “You need to have good equipment and be prepared for different temperatures.” In addition to the darkness, weather conditions can vary from slippery ice at zero degrees to heavy snowfall or minus 25 degrees. And the difficulties caused by the snow do not end when it stops snowing. The banks of plowed snow can make the roads narrower and impair visibility considerably. Henri says none of his transports have been stopped by the weather, but there have been delays. “When visibility is bad and road conditions are poor, you slow down. You adjust to the situation on the road and don’t do anything too hastily. I always tell my drivers that if there are poor road conditions then we shouldn’t rush.” Henri also emphasizes that although he drives routes he knows well and knows all about the quirks of winter weather,
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other drivers he encounters on the roads are not necessarily as experienced. And as you get further north it is not just careless drivers that you might meet. Henri comments that reindeer on the roads are a problem, especially in winter, as it is difficult to differentiate their white fur from the surrounding snowy landscape. Despite all the challenges, Henri likes winter, and a little preparation goes a long way. For example, he makes sure he has enough clothing with him to ensure he would not freeze if he ran into problems and had to wait for help in the cold. “And good winter tires are an absolute must.”
3 HENRI’S TIPS FOR DRIVING IN WINTER 1. Don’t stress Slippery road conditions, banks of plowed snow and poor visibility mean that you should take it a bit easier. Better to be a bit late than to have an accident.
2. Bring a lot of clothes Not on you, but with you in the truck. If you break down in minus 25 degrees you need to have extra clothing.
3. Keep winter tires on Make sure you have good winter tires, especially if you are driving in the north.
Position at PostNord: Postman in Hirtshals, Denmark. Closest colleagues: “I appreciate my daily chat with Uffe Mølgaard. My favorite colleague is Heidi Vibeke Kristiansen, who always has a smile on her face and is happy to help. Unfortunately, we don’t meet as often as we used to, when we worked together more.”
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THE WARMTH OF HEARTS Few people know headwinds as well as Anette Pedersen does. She has battled the elements for 33 years. So it’s lucky that hugs exist. TEXT: MICHAEL KIRKEBY PHOTO: FREDDY BILLQVIST
THREE TIMES A week, Anette Pedersen gets on her bike and pedals down the long hill to the parking lot at the harbor in Hirtshals where her work day starts. It takes 10 minutes in a headwind. And there is always a headwind. The wind comes mainly from the west in Denmark, perhaps most of all in Hirtshals, a small fishing and ferry town just southwest of Skagen, which is home to 6,000 residents and countless seagulls. There is nothing here to slow the wind as it comes off the North Sea. When tourists flock to the wide sandy beaches outside the town in summer, the wind provides a pleasant cooling effect. But in winter, the wind tears mercilessly through marrow and bones. AT NINE O’CLOCK, Anette arrives at the parking lot and unlocks the white container that constitutes her “post office.” Here she has her electric mail bike, uniform and other practical things that she needs in her job as a postman in Hirtshals. On Wednesdays she delivers mail in the western part of the town, on Thursday she works in the southern part, and on Fridays she is in the eastern part. On Mondays and Tuesdays she works twenty kilometers from the coast, at PostNord’s distribution center in Hjørring. It covers the entire area from Skagen in the north down to Aalborg in the south, and from the Kattegatt in the east to the North Sea in the west. A few minutes after Anette, Uffe Mølgaard arrives in the mail vehicle from Hjørring with the day’s mail, and they always have time to exchange a few words P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
3 ANETTE’S BEST TIPS FOR WINTER CYCLING 1. Walk Get off your bike now and again and walk. It helps to move around more.
2. Windproof Wind tears away the warmth – make sure the wind does not get through your clothes.
3. Warm up If you get too cold, walk up and down a staircase for five minutes to warm yourself up.
about the weather. From the container, they can look down toward the harbor and the flags fluttering in the wind in front of the North Sea Center and Skaga Hotel. And by looking upward, they can see if a blue sky or dark clouds are waiting over the sea and heading toward them. “The weather is incredibly important for my work day as a postman on a bicycle. It determines whether I get a lovely day or a day during which I have to battle the elements. Yesterday it rained from beginning to end, and on days like that there is no one to say hello to on the streets. In such situations, I just get my head down and finish the deliveries,” says Anette. THEY ARE USED to the wind in Hirtshals. During the 33 years that Anette has worked
as a postman, there are only a few times when she has failed to complete the round due to the weather making it impossible to stand upright. During the winter, she can normally keep the wind, and thus the cold, out by wearing a wind or rain jacket on top of her big PostNord jacket. “But sometimes you freeze no matter what you’re wearing, and then my best advice is to keep moving. I also get warmth from all the people I meet on my round. We usually stop and exchange a few words. And there is one woman who always wants a hug. So we give each other a hug. That’s also a way of keeping warm.” NOW AND AGAIN, Anette thinks that she should arrange a huge party and invite everyone who she usually meets on her round. “It’s just a thought, but I'd love to get to know them a bit more. I only know them from the two minutes that we stand and talk, but lots of them have really made an impression.” When the work day is over, Anette bikes back up the hill again. It’s a bit slower in that direction, even with a tailwind. Back at home, her nine-year-old daughter Louise and her husband Keld have returned home from school and work. After dinner, Anette likes going for a walk with Bosco, the family's eleven-year-old Labrador. But then she’s exhausted. “I’m out in the fresh air and I don’t sit still for long from early morning until eight o'clock in the evening. So once I sit down on the couch I’m usually out like a light. But it is a good sort of tiredness.” 39
LENNI’S FIVE WINTER TIPS Lenni Pedersen, postman and operations coordinator in Esbjerg, prefers to sweat rather than freeze. 1. Distract yourself “When the weather starts to turn bad in the fall, I have a little trick you can use: I quite simply think of something else. It might be my children or what I’m going to do on the weekend. That helps me distract me from the cold. And it actually works surprisingly often.”
Position at PostNord: Postman and operations coordinator in Esbjerg, Denmark. Closest colleagues: Rasmus Dam Petersen “is focused and always in a good mood. It’s infectious!” Thomas Thomsen “is Mr. Reliable and has a great sense of humor,” and Sindy Charlotte Thomsen “is helpful and always has a twinkle in her eye.”
2. Remember the rubber bands “Esbjerg is by the North Sea and it is often windy, especially in winter. We’re used to it. What others call a storm, we call a stiff breeze. But if you’re not careful, the mail will blow away. So you should always remember to have lots of rubber bands with you.”
3. Reboot the body “A long, hot shower after work does wonders during the cold part of the year. It’s like a reboot for the body. I like to spend at least a quarter of an hour in the shower. That counts as a long time when you have small children – certainly in my wife’s opinion at least!”
4. Eat hot soup “We have a big soup factory here in Esbjerg that makes a lot of different flavors, so we have everything we need. My personal favorite is the curry soup.”
5. Play board games “Our family likes playing traditional board games. It’s a nice thing to do together when it’s dark outside. That can warm you up, too.” TEXT: MICHAEL KIRKEBY PHOTOS: CHRISTINA SIMONIA
Curry soup provides warmth on cold days, says Lenni Pedersen.
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Mohammad Al Rammal refills the bottle machine that changed everything.
THE MAGIC MACHINE Bottles were flooding the warehouse and employees were struggling. But the solution was as brilliant as it was innovative. TEXT: ANDREAS UTTERSTRÃ–M PHOTO: MAGNUS LAUPA
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“I USED TO carry each bottle as if it were a little child,” says Konstantina Kotsiopoulou. “But you get used to it.” Konstantina is a warehouse official and one of the people who usually refills the bottle machine. Don’t let the down-to-earth name fool you. The machine in question changed everything at PostNord’s TPL warehouse in Jordbro, south of Stockholm. Or, more specifically, the brilliant idea that resulted from the machine. So let’s start at the beginning.
increase in the handling of wine and liquor bottles. The bottles came from all over the world to the warehouse in Jordbro. They were stored on regular shelves before being packed and shipped to the Systembolaget stores and restaurants. “During what I call the ‘depression periods,’ like November for example, there are a lot of strong red wines. Around the New Year, deliveries of champagne increase and in summer there’s a lot of rosé,” says Regional Manager Pierre Nilsson.
EACH YEAR, POSTNORD TPL in Jordbro handles approximately 870,000 liters of alcoholic beverages. It’s a staggering figure, but that’s what happens when you have large wine and liquor importers as customers and thus handle a significant part of Systembolaget’s product range. The work process is now very smooth for the employees, who vary in number between 80 and 150, depending on the season. But that was not always the case. They faced a major challenge twelve years ago. The acquisition of new customers resulted in a significant
THE LOWEST SHELF was a few decimeters above the floor and the highest about two meters above the floor. The employees went around with carts and picked the orders manually. But that method had reached its limit and was not optimal in terms of ensuring a healthy working environment. “It took a very long time and we started to think about how we could make the work more efficient,” says Pierre. So a brainstorming meeting was held. In addition to Pierre, the meeting included Production Manager Dardan Ferati and Production Leader at the time Andreas Blennestrand. Expanding the premises would be expensive and there was not much space left on the site anyway. Such an approach would also not solve the inefficient method that was currently in use. They asked themselves the same question that many people who work with logistics ask: How would the Germans do it, given their reputation for efficiency and delivery certainty? But when they read about
THE ROBOTS CAME UP SHORT Robotic trucks, or AGVs (automated guided vehicles) to give them their proper name, were tested at the third-party logistics warehouse in Jordbro. They are often an effective alternative for moving pallets from A to B. But in Jordbro, the employees were quite simply better at this. Or as Regional Manager Pierre Nilsson puts it: “The AGVs weren’t really right for us because we also have more than 90 regular trucks in action on each shift. So the robotic trucks were in the way quite often.”
The team at PostNord TPL in Jordbro. From left to right: Omar Al Rammal, Dardan Ferati, Pierre Nilsson, Konstantina Kotsiopoulou, Andreas Blennestrand, Andreas Nilsson, Mohammad Al Rammal and Malek Beirakdar.
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One bottle machine – three meters wide and eleven meters high – has become six over time. Each machine has space for around 16,000 bottles.
various German solutions, they didn’t find any smart outside-the-box innovations that they had not already thought of themselves. The solution turned out to be in the warehouse already: the spare parts machine. Toshiba Tec was a major customer at that time. There were storage facilities for both TV sets and smaller spare parts in Jordbro. To be able to handle the orders for cables, rolls, USB sticks and all the rest on regular shelves, 100,000 storage places would have been required. PostNord TPL Region Stockholm therefore purchased a spare parts machine in 2005. It can access 200 storage spaces with the help of built-in lifts, and employees do not have to go to the individual shelves themselves. “So why not use a similar machine to sort bottles? When we started talking about it, we felt confident that it would work,” says Pierre. But a few issues had to be resolved. TOSHIBA’S SPARE PARTS were stored in small sheet metal trays, which were not suitable for bottles of wine and liquor. The solution consisted of rectangular compartments made from corrugated cardboard, a material that protects bottles if they fall. In addition, the supplier Weland Lagersystem had to make some height adjustments, so that the bottles would fit into the machine. Then there was also another challenge: was the floor at the warehouse sufficiently even? This was an absolute necessity given that the machine was so big and heavy. An uneven surface could cause tension in the automated functionality and, in the worst case, result in production stoppages. The supplier went to Jordbro to take a close look at the floor. P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
“It turned out to be perfectly level, so it was no problem to just get started,” recalls the production leader at the time, Andreas Blennestrand. A new spare parts machine, or automatic warehouse machine as it is actually called, was purchased and put into service in 2008. Andreas remembers when he first saw the spare parts machine that had been turned into a bottle machine. The shelves on which the wine and liquor bottles had previously been stored had been dismantled and replaced by an impressive machine, with a width and depth of three meters and a height of eleven meters, which could hold about 16,000 bottles and handle about 3,500 each day. “The result was so tangible. It was amazing to see it in action,” says Andreas. Another five machines were purchased during the following years. If the warehouse in Jordbro was a football team, the bottle machines would be like a midfield that makes the play flow. ONE OF THE employees who works with the bottle machine on a daily basis is Mohammad Al Rammal. He has worked at the warehouse for eight years. His brother and a friend of his are now also work colleagues. “It’s an enjoyable job and there is always something to do. Everything works well and it isn’t too stressful,” he says. The bottle machines have been incredibly valuable for Regional Manager Pierre Nilsson. “The work is now more efficient, which saves money and resources. The working environment has also become better,” he says. “When we stored the wine bottles on shelves they became dirty and we had to go around and dust sometimes. Everything is clean and tidy and employees do not have to stand on pallets to reach the top shelf.”
PostNord TPL in the Nordic region Sweden 21 warehouses, in Stockholm, Norrköping, Jönköping, Gothenburg, Ljungby, Helsingborg and Malmö. A total of 550,000 square meters of warehouse space. Sales SEK 2,200 million. 2,200 employees. In addition, 76 000 square meters of warehouse space will be added in 2020.
Finland Three warehouses, in Helsinki, Lahti and Turku. A total of 80,000 square meters of warehouse space. Sales approx. SEK 125 million. 140 employees.
Denmark Two warehouses, in Copenhagen and Køge. A total of 45,000 square meters of warehouse space. Sales approx. SEK 65 million. 70 employees.
Norway No TPL activities at the moment.
They have their job and they have their passion. Those two things are both nonnegotiable, for better or worse. Meet the PostNorders who combine work with a high-pulse leisure time.
Chasing golden moments
There are times when Iben Bekker Larsen feels she can lift from the ground. “WHAT DO I think about while I’m on my bicycle? Sometimes I just clear my head of thoughts. Other times I feel a little sorry for myself because my legs feel so exhausted. But there are also wonderful moments when I get a real high and feel that I am full of energy and can fly and do anything. Then I have wings on my legs.” Iben Bekker Larsen knows what she’s talking about. Almost every week, she spends at least ten hours powering along on her ultra-lightweight Orbea carbon fiber racing bike. She also uses her philosophy from cycling in her family life and when working at PostNord: To get as far as possible and achieve success, you need to expend your energy the right way. IBEN’S GOAL IS to cycle 10,000 kilometers during the course of a year. And she doesn’t just eat up the kilometers in her spare time, as she has two jobs at PostNord. She is a Sales Area Controller, but two years ago she also became responsible for the PostNord Velo corporate network. Numerous company managers based on Jutland and Zealand meet there every week to cycle, eat and network. “Several of our largest customers, some of 44
our salespeople and a few members of the top management are usually there. The members pay their own costs, and everyone takes it seriously. We don’t just bike for fun, but train hard. “It is my responsibility to ensure that everything runs smoothly in terms of the practical details, and that feels like a big responsibility with a network that has 100 members. If I feel stressed there is nothing better than getting outside and breathing fresh air.” IBEN LIVES WITH her husband Morten and their ten-year-old daughter Emma in the little town of Askov on southern Jutland. From their house they enjoy sweeping views across the flat landscape. It is also there that she usually exercises in her spare time. “I like to cycle on rural roads at least three times a week, and preferably more. Sometimes on my own, sometimes with Morten. It was because of him that I became interested in cycling four years ago.” “We both work full time, so it’s also a way for us to spend time together. While Emma is playing with her friends, the adults take a bike ride. That’s how we do it. And then, later, all three of us spend quality time together.”
Recovery is part of all training programs. For Iben and her family, this often takes place on the couch with snacks, homemade pancakes and tasty chocolate. When calories have been burned, there is space for a few treats. “Some planning is required to ensure that I have time for my job, family and exercising. I am good at making use of the time available to me, but I have to admit that I sometimes don’t have time to do everything. I just have to accept that that is the case sometimes. I work out inside on my exercise bike during the winter, which makes it easier to find the time to exercise in the evening.” WHEN CYCLING ALONE on flat stretches, Iben likes to maintain an average speed of 28 to 30 kilometers per hour. If she cycles in a group, which reduces wind resistance, the speed should be higher. The slowest stretches are on the slopes around Vejle in East Jutland, where the average gradient is similar to that of the famous mountain Alpe d’Huez, which is well known from the Tour de France. “It certainly feels like that at least. But instead of taking hours to reach the top, it’s more like a few minutes.”
Iben Bekker Larsen Position at PostNord: Sales Area Controller and responsible for the PostNord Velo network. Closest colleagues: “I am part of a team of nine people in Sales Operations, Team Data and Process in Copenhagen. I work closely with so many people, so it’s difficult to pick just a few. In the PostNord Velo network I often cycle together with Peter Kjær Jensen, Troels Veise and Keld Lindbjerg.”
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THE THREE ABOUT ADRENALINE
“We don’t just bike for fun, but train hard,” says Iben Bekker Larsen. P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
THE THREE / ABOUT ADRENALINE
Mikaela Linnér Position at PostNord: Terminal worker in Växjö. Closest colleagues: “My colleagues Melinda Andersson, Felicia Walldén Bančić, Lid Ashmed and the group leaders Anders Jakobsson, Elin Gideskog and Martin Axelsson mean a lot to me. It is obvious that the terminal is new, as all ideas are welcome and everything is so modern and new. Everyone takes good care of each other.”
A passion for riding Equestrian Mikaela Linnér trains and competes with three Arabian thoroughbreds. Result: “complete harmony.” LIKE A MIX of a marathon and a Formula 1 race, but on a horse. This is how Mikaela Linnér describes the endurance riding discipline. The power of the horse’s muscle mass in a rhythmic gallop becomes her power, and together they compete as a unit. “There is complete harmony when everything goes as it should,” she says. Mikaela was three years old when she first sat on a horse, and she started having lessons at a riding school when she was five. Since then she has always had horses in her life. She now trains and competes with three horses, two of which are her own. The Arabian thoroughbreds Peach Passion, Le Shadow and Isa have taken turns winning the Swedish endurance riding title together with Mikaela. “It is of course tough and a lot of work, but I love being out in the countryside all the time. On days when I feel a bit down I can always get in a good mood by going to the stable and feeling a soft muzzle against my cheek; I just immerse myself in that.” TAKING CARE OF and training three horses on a regular basis requires meticulous planning and rigorous discipline. Training sessions can last for several hours. Competition courses are divided into different stages, so that the riders can plan for calm sections and conserve the horse’s energy. It’s not entirely unlike working in a terminal. When Mikaela is not riding or doing extra hours in a dog and horse supplies shop, she can be found on the in-channels at PostNord’s new parcel terminal in Växjö. “I work at PostNord between 5 pm and 9 46
pm every evening. This makes it possible for me to also spend time riding. I can be flexible during the day, to also focus on my riding career. And in winter, it’s nice to be able to train during the day and avoid the need for a headlamp.” It is certainly quite busy, and the two worlds sometimes overlap in terms of requirements. “Just as at PostNord, a life with horses requires a lot of planning and structure. I realize several times a day that I am thinking about logistics at the stable. Can I take the bridles with me when I go and muck out, and thereby save a bit of time? It’s a habit I’ve acquired from my work, but it suits me as a person because I want to squeeze in as much as possible during the hours of the day.” AND SHE IS certainly good at doing that. But, just like working at PostNord, riding is so much more than solo performances. The horse trainer, fitness coach, horse masseur, fellow riders, mom, dad, brother and her friends are the people who help make it possible for life on a horse to be a lifestyle rather than just a hobby for her. And she appreciates the team spirit at PostNord as well. “I will probably always work with horses in one capacity or another, but it can be useful to combine the equestrian life with a completely different job. At PostNord, I get energy that I take with me to the stable, and I think that is a must for maintaining my passion for riding.”
Gallop with Mikaela Follow us on Instagram @peoplebypostnord
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“I work at PostNord between 5 pm and 9 pm every evening. This makes it possible for me to also spend time riding,” says Mikaela Linnér. P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
THE THREE / ABOUT ADRENALINE “A lot of people underestimate me, as I don’t look like a bodybuilder,” says Torbjørn Vollan.
Torbjørn Vollan Position at PostNord: Logistics Operator at the Alfaset terminal in Oslo. Closest colleagues: Arash Kanis, Odin Stene, Roger Fredriksen, Thor Åge Grande and Tom Wiklund.
World Champion, from Japan, in the second round. “I thought he would rip my hand off – I was in pain for several hours afterwards.” Torbjørn’s girlfriend at that time didn’t like the fact that he trained with other women at the club, so he stopped competing after the World Championship. In due course he moved to Lier, west of Oslo, got married and began working at PostNord as a logistics operator. “A couple of years ago, an old clubmate got in touch and asked if I wanted to go and watch the Norwegian Championship. It made me realize that I really missed it, so I talked to my wife and told her that arm wrestling used to mean a lot to me. And she encouraged me to start doing it again.” So Torbjørn was back in business and is now an active member of Jølster Handbakklubb. He lives in Drammen and trains in Sandefjord, eighty kilometers to the south. “It involves quite a bit of driving, but it is worth it. My ambition is to be on the national team again.”
Strong arm tactics Torbjørn Vollan can beat everyone, except Japanese and schoolgirls. 36 YEARS AGO, Torbjørn Vollan was
challenged to an arm wrestle. By a girl in the sixth grade – one year older than him. “Oh, come on,” replied Torbjørn. He shouldn’t have done that. Or should he? “I took a beating. I’ll never forget it. It was really embarrassing then, but now it’s just a funny story to look back on,” he says. And 15 years after the loss in the school corridor, Torbjørn Vollan became Norwe48
gian Champion in arm wrestling. “I worked for many years on the quayside in Ålesund with unloading and loading boats with fish, and have always enjoyed testing my strength against others. I did wrestling when I was a teenager.” WHEN TORBJØRN BECAME Norwegian Champion in 1998, he was sent to the World Championship in Thunder Bay, Canada. He was knocked out there by the eventual
OVER THE LAST two years, Torbjørn has lost 20 kilos. He weighed 97 kilograms and “everything was a struggle.” He has now cut out bread, pasta and potatoes from his everyday diet and replaced them with salad, vegetables, meat and fish. But anything goes on the weekend. It is also noticeable at work that he is in better shape. “Everything is easier now. I always think about how I hold each parcel, so that I exercise my wrists, forearms and biceps at work.” And the 13-year-old schoolgirls have now been replaced by men at the pub weighing 100 kilos. When people hear that he trains for arm wrestling, many of them want to test their strength against him. “A lot of people underestimate me, as I don’t look like a bodybuilder. I like winning against the really big guys. The most important thing in arm wrestling is to have a strong wrist; if that is weak, it doesn’t matter how much muscle you have.”
Learn to arm wrestle like Torbjørn Follow us on Instagram @peoplebypostnord
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TEXT: NICLAS GREEN PHOTO: NICKE JOHANSSON
GOALS / MAGNUS WISLANDER
MAGNUS WISLANDER Job: Production Manager at PostNord Sweden in Gothenburg, expert commentator on Radiosporten and assistant coach of Redbergslids IK in the handball league. Wow: Selected as the world’s best handball player in 1990 and the best player of the century in 1999. Wants to thank: “There are a few PostNord employees who really helped me find my feet when I returned from Germany, such as Magnus Lovell and Tommy Blomqvist. They supported me in that way, and basically headhunted me.”
“I need to have that competitive aspect” Can you have any goals left when you have been named best in the world over the last hundred years? Of course – there are seconds that can be saved and cars that can be wrecked. THE WORLD’S BEST handball player, Magnus Wislander, takes a deep breath and looks at the clock. How much longer is left? After two World Championship golds, four European Championship golds and three Olympic silvers, he knows that there are small margins between success and failure. It is perhaps the 19th time of 25 that he glances at the clock to see how fast it is going. This is quickly followed by the 20th. And the 21st and the 22nd. It’s looking good! They’ll do it. The mail rounds are quicker today than they were yesterday. Magnus smiles as he remembers. “I don’t work as a postman anymore, but when I did there wasn't a day that went by without me looking at my watch 25 times. I need to have that competitive aspect,” says Magnus, who now works as P EEO N ONRO D R D OPPLLEEBY BYP OPST O ST
Production Manager at Hisingen in Gothenburg. Magnus Wislander’s career, featuring 13 championship medals and the title of the 20th century’s best handball player, is unparalleled. He stopped being a postman when he moved to the German club THW Kiel. But after twelve successful years abroad, the Wislander family chose to move home to Sweden again in 2002. He returned to PostNord soon after that. His international breakthrough came during the 1990 World Championship, when Sweden took gold. Magnus scored six goals in the final, against the Soviet Union, and was a gold-medal hero. “I haven’t watched the game again afterwards, but I remember quite a lot about it. Although you move on as well.
The game is over, the party has finished, time for the next game. That is one of the explanations for why my career lasted so long. I have an understanding family and was lucky to avoid injuries, and I focused on the game when it was time to play – I wasn’t nervously fidgeting for several days before it.” After retiring as a player, Magnus became a coach. He is currently assistant coach of the club Redbergslids IK in the Swedish handball league. “I work hard to ensure I don’t have any time left over, so I have started competing in banger racing as well. It’s the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever done.” Are you just as competitive at that? “No, definitely not…but of course I want to do well!” 49 49
“Nobody has seen me in tights”
There are a lot of superheroes, but there is only one Superman. Or two, if you include Per Nordberg.
TEXT: NICLAS GREEN PHOTO: MAGNUS LAUPA
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I IT WAS DURING a visit to a customer in central Sweden – somewhere between postcodes 69 and 71 to be a bit more exact – that the nickname appeared. His colleague Rikard Nilsson suddenly described Per Nordberg to the customer with just a single word: Superman. And it stuck. “It just popped out as we were talking to the customer. I never really understood how or why or what he meant by it; it basically came out of nowhere. But I can confirm that he has never actually seen me in tights,” says Per Nordberg with a laugh. And PostNord’s logistics specialist from Örebro laughs a lot. His colleagues testify that, despite the lack of a blue leotard and red cape, he is a greatly appreciated employee and a colleague who can always crack a joke. “I inherited my sense of humor from my parents. Being happy makes the job so much easier and enjoyable. Laughing together means a lot.” But just having a sense of humor doesn’t make a superhero. As a logistics specialist, he assists those with more general skills and has considerable expertise regarding large shipments, which he is more than happy to share. And that is perhaps part of the explanation for his moniker. 52
“My ears are probably bigger than my mouth,” says “Superman” Nordberg. P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
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â€œBeing happy makes the job so much easier and enjoyable. Laughing together means a lot,â€? says Per Nordberg.
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“I don’t have different personalities professionally and at home. I’m the same in both environments.”
“I try to see solutions. I don’t say no if someone needs help, even if, in some cases, that may result in stress and a lack of time for something else. I certainly don’t know everything, but I’m very familiar with some parts of the PostNord universe.” He gets a little self-conscious when his nickname is brought up. “That’s just how I am as a person. I don’t do anything special, I just do my job.” HIS COLLEAGUE RIKARD Nilsson doesn’t agree that Per “just does his job.” There are good colleagues, and there are good colleagues. Per most definitely belongs to the latter category. “Yes, he has an incredible customer focus. He is knowledgeable, has good business skills and is always smiling. He is also helpful, professional and always there for colleagues and customers. And he is really strong,” says Rikard. The appreciation is described with a variety of names. When we talked to his closest colleagues, another name popped up: The part-load oracle. “Ha ha. The part-load oracle? I haven’t actually heard that one before,” says Per Nordberg. “But that’s true, I do sell a lot of part loads.” When we talk about part loads we mean large shipments ranging from a size of more than 2.5 tons up to full trucks. What is special about part-load shipments is that they are transported directly from the sending customer to the end customer, without going via a terminal. “I have worked with that for many years, both in Sweden and on the continent. So of course, I know quite a bit about it.” SOMETHING THAT PER often mentions is balance. The balance between being professional and having a good laugh. Between listening and talking. And, more specifically, a balance in the flow of goods. P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
Per Nordberg Position at PostNord: Logistics specialist at the groupage cargo terminal in Örebro. Closest colleagues: Rikard Nilsson, Magnus Enerholm, Marie Hallin, Mikael Liljeberg, Marie Sjöstrand, Mikael Torsell, Anna Bengtsberg and others. “There are a lot of us in a big open-plan office.”
“It’s an interesting challenge to identify needs and the right balance. When I’m with a customer, I check to make sure there’s balance. When we send trucks down to the continent, we want them to be filled with goods on the return journey as well,” he says. MAKING A VISIT to a customer with Per Nordberg is always a special experience. Not just because he is always in a good mood, but also because he always focuses on the customer’s best interests. “It is great to have Per on customer visits, because he is a great listener. Not at all like a salesperson, if it’s acceptable to say that?” says another colleague, in passing. Per just laughs again. “That’s true, my ears are probably bigger than my mouth. The old cliché that the Lacoste crocodile is the salespersons’ logo probably doesn’t work for me. I think I’m a
good listener.” Per’s manager Marie Hallin considers that to be his great strength. “He is fantastically focused and very attentive to customers and colleagues. Per is helpful, friendly and gentle in interactions with people,” she says. “He has extensive expertise in primarily heavy logistics, and he contributes a lot to his team by spreading and sharing that knowledge. Per is, quite simply, a greatly appreciated employee and colleague.” But is there a difference between Per Nordberg at work and Per Nordberg outside work? Not really, in his opinion. “I don’t have different personalities professionally and at home. I’m the same in both environments. I’m sometimes told I’m too nice and that I never say no. But I actually do say no. And I tend to be overly optimistic about time, which I’m told at home as well. I never arrive late for meetings, but I do sometimes arrive just in time. Fortunately, my wife isn’t like that.” SO WHAT DOES a Superman do in his spare time? Clean up Metropolis? Write a few articles for the Daily Planet? Nope. “I compete in enduro motorcycling, at an enthusiast level,” says Per. He has ridden in five classics, including the Gotland Grand National, but draws the line at the Novemberkåsan. “That one is a bit too tough for me. I’m over 50, after all, and I only started doing this eight years ago. But it’s a lot of fun and great exercise. In particular the Gotland Grand National is enjoyable and tough. Doing as many laps as possible in three hours is hard. I ought to drive a bit more often, to be honest, so that I can stay in shape. “But it’s a good way to relax.” Even Superman needs to recharge his batteries sometimes. 55
The great turnaround If you say “Black Friday 2017” to Tord Nicolaisen Brønseth, his face will go pale. Fortunately, things have changed. A lot. TEXT: OLA HENMO PHOTO: CHRIS MALUSZYNSKI
TODAY THE PROCEDURES are
like a well-oiled machine. But things were a little different two years ago. Everyone admittedly knew that online shopping and the associated home deliveries would really take off in conjunction with Black Friday 2017. But no one was prepared for the volume increase that actually occurred. Tord Nicolaisen Brønseth, transport manager for home deliveries, grimaces and groans when he thinks back to the chaos at the PostNord terminal at Alfaset in Oslo, where home deliveries only had an area of about 1,500 square meters at that time. “We thought we were well prepared and that the volume would be about twice that of previous year, but it was much, much more. The result was that we had too little space to be able to take care of all the parcels. And with only four bays available for the trucks, it still didn’t help much that we had almost 40 drivers working,” he says. THE EMPLOYEES AT the terminal only had time to carry out a rough sorting of the parcels into piles – west, north, south, east, Oslo – before the drivers who were queuing up outside were called in, one by one, to fill their trucks and then drive away without a proper delivery route having been defined.
“We didn’t have the capacity to arrange a time for delivery with the recipients, so they were not always at home when we arrived. That resulted in us not being able to deliver parcels, which led recipients to complain about missed deliveries to vendors, who then sent out new goods. So it just became a vicious circle, with more and more parcels. “One customer who had ordered Adidas clothes received four deliveries of the same item – and we had also been there three other times without being able to deliver, because he wasn’t home,” Tord says with a forced smile. Jonny Paulsen was one of the frustrated drivers during those days and evenings. “I’ve tried to suppress the memories of it. It was a nightmare. We queued up outside the loading bays, and it was late in the evening by the time the parcels that were to be transported had been loaded.” WHILE TORD, JONNY and their colleagues did their utmost to keep on top of things, angry PostNord customers were causing a storm on social and traditional media outlets. “Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, but this is terrible,” said one man to the Dagbladet newspaper after waiting 22 days to receive an order from the pharmacy. Another customer complained about the conflicting information he had received regarding the location of the toilet seat he had ordered. The Norwegian “Din side” consumer website reported that at one point there were 184 people in the telephone queue and a hold time of 100 minutes for PostNord’s customer service.
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Tord Nicolaisen Brønseth Position at PostNord: Transport manager for home deliveries at the PostNord terminal at Alfaset in Oslo. Closest colleagues: Jonny Paulsen, Cecilie Steinsland and Morten Løkås.
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“Everything works brilliantly now. We were worried about Black Friday last year and were mentally prepared for the worst, but it went really smooth. Tord is from northern Norway, and neither patience nor diplomatic language are classed as the most characteristic features of people from there. Angrily, he demanded changes from management. “I told them in typical northern Norwegian fashion how hopeless the situation was and that we had to have more floor space. Otherwise I would rather quit the company.” What did the managers say? “They let me have my say, because they realized the situation I was in and that it was impossible to cope with the tasks. They said that all I could do was to do my best.” The managers weren’t pleased either. Operations Manager Morten Løkås says that he had not experienced a worse situation in his 15 years at PostNord. “It was a real blow to our motivation. We worked almost around the clock, and I even thought about taking my sleeping bag to work with me. But everyone was still very dissatisfied, and rightly so.” SOMETHING HAD TO be done. Fortunately, everyone at PostNord understood that the home deliveries section needed to be given a lot more space. The search for new premises with sufficient floor space thus began, and in August 2018 Tord, Morten and the rest of the co-workers moved into almost 4,000 perfect square meters next to the E6 highway at Lørenskog. There are no fewer than 10 loading bays there for vehicles. The move happened just in time. It is not just that customers are ordering more and more goods online, which means that PostNord now makes on average more than 1,000 home deliveries every day from Lørenskog. They also order much larger quantities. On the day we visit the terminal, PostNord has just received 2.7 tons of wooden flooring for home delivery to a customer. But such deliveries are no longer a problem. “Everything works brilliantly now. We were worried about Black Friday last year and were mentally prepared for the worst, but it went really smoothly. We had complete control and all the feedback was positive,” says Morten. Driver Jonny Paulsen agrees. “There is no comparison. It’s a completely new and better world.” THIS IS ALSO NOTICEABLE from the customers’ reactions. When we listen to the daily driver meeting, 58
The driver Jonny Paulsen has witnessed a drastic transformation – from chaos to complete control.
Tord tells us about complaints and praise he has received in recent days. And it is mostly praise. “The postman who delivered the parcels helped me carry them up to the fourth floor without an elevator! An unexpected and very welcome additional service,” was what one customer wrote. “Called and said he was running late. Kept me informed about when he would arrive. Kind and friendly,” was what another customer said. “Extremely good service,” was the feedback from a third customer. Perhaps you would like to do the driving yourself sometimes, so that you can experience all the satisfied customers firsthand? “That’s not possible, unfortunately. I don’t have a driver’s license,” says Tord. P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
SURVIVING THE BIG FINISH The period between Black Friday and Christmas is when everyone at PostNord really shows what they've got. Here are some of the measures that are being taken ahead of this year’s volume peaks, as well as some survival tips from colleagues. TEXT: OLA HENMO
Digital equipment does the job More efficient sorting in Turku PostNord is preparing for the increased pressure on its business operations during the peak season by implementing two improvements in 2019. In Turku, investments are now being made in a more efficient sorting machine, which can handle 5,000 parcels per hour. “For example, the sorting machine gives us better control over the parcels that arrive in Turku and allows us to handle the detailed sorting at the Markus Seppälä other terminals,” says Operations Development Manager Markus Seppälä. Another measure that will make things easier during the upcoming period is the relocation of terminal activities in Vantaa. The logistics services relating to healthcare have moved from the terminal on Träffgränden to the terminal on Tjänstevägen, which is one and a half kilometers away. “New equipment that is specially adapted for that type of transport is available there, and the change will result in greater handling capacity being in place at the terminal on Träffgränden, which will be needed during peak periods.”
“It is important to have a sense of humor” Mikko Kerkkänen builds large display solutions at Träffgränden in Vantaa and he knows how it feels when there is a real hurry. During the peak season, he and his colleagues build thousands of Christmas displays for store windows. “The work is sometimes stressful, because I have major responsibility for the display solutions at three different customers. Everyone really has to give their all,” says Mikko. Mikko Kerkkänen But it is also enjoyable working during the peak season, as the days simply fly by. Mikko also emphasizes the importance of being able to laugh. “I always try to have a sense of humor in all situations.” Mikko recharges his batteries by being out in the countryside, which he warmly recommends to others as well. “When I walk through the countryside, I become calm and can stop thinking about work.” P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
During the six weeks before Christmas, PostNord Norway handles 30 to 40 percent more parcels than the annual average. “The past three years have been extreme. On some days we have been 110 percent above the normal level for the period. It’s a real challenge. If all the customers demanded to receive their parcels on the following day, the system would collapse,” says Head of Production DevelopPål Eier ment in Norway Pål Eier. For Christmas 2019, PostNord Norway will open more distribution points, and in particular upgrade technical and digital equipment, such as installing new floor scanners, making improvements to IT infrastructure and providing system support in production. “The new equipment will give us a completely different level of stability. By having two hand terminals, for example, the distribution points will be able to handle much larger volumes.” Ensuring a good dialogue with customers is also important. “We differentiate between private customers and business customers, in order to be able to produce the right volumes at the right time. Customers perceive that as good service.”
“Keep an eye on your blood sugar level” Gry Cecilie Røttereng knows all about handling frustrated customers in the approach to Christmas. “During the most hectic period, I often start my work day a little earlier than usual, or at least make sure I don’t start late. A bad start to the day generates stress,” says Gry. She also gives a lot of thought to what she eats in the run-up to Christmas. Gry Cecilie Røttereng “For me, it’s important to eat fruit and vegetables throughout the day, so that my blood sugar stays at a good level.” But with good planning, the number of frustrated customers decreases every year. Customer Service in Oslo tries to get as many of them as possible to make use of the chatbot. “The Customer Service staff then takes care of the more complex issues,” says Gry.
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Stress test for reducing stress In order to be better prepared for Christmas 2019, a number of terminals in Sweden have been subjected to stress tests. By simulating volume peaks and deploying as many employees as if it were the peak period, the capacity of the sorting machines and how well the work goes under maximum load have been reviewed. “I had the idea prior to last year’s peak. We have prepared ourselves better as a result of Magnus Bennich these tests. We check what we can produce at each terminal and where we need to implement further measures,” says Senior Operations Developer for Production Development Magnus Bennich. The same types of stress tests have been conducted at all the terminals. In addition to regular staff, there are around 25 extra employees and 10 to 15 observers, who note what happens and then suggest improvements. “Some of the terminals approach this as if it were a World Championship final, with an attitude of ‘let’s break some records!’ But the most important aspect is to show that you can attain a smooth and high tempo, which you can maintain for a whole season.”
“Being kind and helping others is energizing” Felicia Walldén Bančić started working at the newly opened parcel terminal in Växjö on November 1, 2018. Just under a month later, the Black Friday parcels flooded in. “Everybody was new so nobody knew what to expect. We had heard about the large volume increase, but it’s impossible to imagine until you’re in the midst of it. It was obviously stressful, but I felt that most of the people were curious Felicia Walldén and motivated. We really went for it.” Bančić The capacity test conducted at the Växjö terminal in May showed that the whole team is better prepared this year. “Everyone knew exactly what to do at the right moment. The structure is also generally better throughout the entire terminal, and we are making small improvements all the time.” Felicia’s best survival tip for peak 2019 is to take care of yourself and others. “It’s a demanding job and it’s noticeable when you haven’t slept or eaten well. I always have something in my pocket that I can eat or drink. I also believe in being kind and helping others, because it energizes you. Sticking together is the best way to survive.” P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
Christmas throughout the year The period between Black Friday and Christmas is still the most stressful time in Denmark. But in recent years there have also been other periods during the year when the volume of parcels is almost as high. “In January, during the sales, we also have large quantities of parcels. Many people also exchange their Christmas presents. After Easter and the other public holidays in the Lene Reipuert spring, work can also get quite hectic,” says Head of Parcel Operations Lene Reipuert. “However, the Christmas season is still top of the tree, and we prepare carefully for it. Because, at that time, it is really important that sorting and deliveries go according to plan so that the customers’ parcels really arrive on time. “During the weeks leading up to Black Friday, we are extra vigilant about quality variations and their causes, so that we can fine-tune the ‘engine’ before it is put into top gear again. “The employees are also especially pumped up during the Christmas period; it is really special for everyone. Immediately after Christmas, we go through the lessons we have learned, and start planning the summer vacations.”
“Humor is the perfect release” “When there’s a lot to do, we try to keep up people’s spirits in the office a little bit extra. It is highly recommended. Humor is a perfect release in stressful periods, such as when Christmas approaches.” So says Annette Dam, who, together with her colleagues Birgit Møller Clemmensen, Lone Arndal, Birthe Stock and Henric Jacobsen, works in the staffing coordination department at the Danish Country Office at Hedegaardsvej 88 near Annette Dam Kastrup Airport. “We are quick to bite back, and can be quite ironic and also a bit sarcastic. It means a lot for job satisfaction to not just sit and look at a screen all the time. The person who has been here the shortest time has been here for 19 years. That says a lot about job satisfaction.”
Now & Then PUNCH CARD VS. OMNICHANNEL
From printing press to 3D technology PostNord Strålfors celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Did you know that the company once outperformed the American giant IBM? THEN Tage Carlsson started a printing works in Ljungby, Småland, in 1919. Tage and his brothers changed their surname to Strålfors.
When Tage’s son-in-law Göthe Parkander took over the business, he was convinced that punch cards, a storage format used before the widespread use of computers, were the future of the company.
When Göthe wanted to take out a loan, the banks did not understand his idea. He therefore used his own money to buy a punch card machine from the United States.
The punch card machine was the hottest innovation of that time. It can be said that it laid the foundation for the modern Strålfors. The company even outperformed IBM in the field of punch cards.
By 1988, Strålfors had produced 31.5 billion punch cards. When computer technology became better developed, Strålfors began to manufacture personalized bank checks.
*EDI = Electronic Data Interchange. Transfer of information such as inventory balances, orders and invoices.
In the late 1980s, Strålfors became a pioneer again, with its EDI system* for electronic business communication, which is still a large part of the business.
Strålfors launched the world’s first environmentally friendly printer paper, which was called Strålfors Noll, in 1989. This became a very successful product for the company, with 7,000 tons of printer paper being produced per year at the peak.
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ILLUSTRATION: JOHAN HÖRBERG
NOW In 2006, Strålfors was purchased by the then Swedish postal operator Posten, which is now PostNord.
Society’s digitalization has resulted in a decline in the volume of printed materials. Strålfors has adapted to this by developing solutions for digital customer communication, for example involving online invoices, SMS and email.
PostNord Strålfors is now the Nordic region’s leading supplier of omnichannel customer communications. This means that the company offers everything from printed material to digital communication for mobile phones, computers and tablets, as well as electronic mailboxes.
In spring 2015, PostNord was close to selling Strålfors, but the decision was reviewed at the last minute. However, the company’s operations in the UK, France and Poland were sold.
In 2016, the red logo was replaced by PostNord blue.
3D printing is the latest area of focus at Strålfors. The company’s Stratasys 750J printer, which can print everything from spare parts to body parts in a variety of materials, is located in Rosersberg, north of Stockholm.
PostNord Strålfors today has a presence throughout the Nordic region, including in Ljungby, where everything started 100 years ago.
Told by Johnny Johansson, Production Developer, PostNord Strålfors. P E O P L E BY P O ST N O R D
THE GADGET / ABDELHAD SHINWARI
The key to a new life Abdelhad Shinwari is a driver from Afghanistan who became a pioneer in Sweden. The goal he had seen in front of him had finally become reality. Dressed in his uniform, with his key in his hand, Abdelhad Shinwari went out to start up his truck for the first time. “I was proud of the fact that everyone could see that I was part of PostNord — that I worked at a large company now.” When he started at the company and did his first test drive, he was both happy and nervous. But it also gave him a feeling of freedom. And everything went very well. In March, he was one of the 13 student drivers in Örebro who were the first to complete the course at the PostNord Driver Academy, a recruitment project aimed at immigrants and long-term unemployed people. Abdelhad now works as a truck driver at the parcel terminal in Örebro.
“It feels fantastic! When I was hired, my manager asked what working hours suited me and what salary I wanted. It felt surreal.” Abdelhad has ended up in exactly the right place. In a job in which he interacts with customers, his positive nature and ease in talking to people facilitate the work. “I worked as a truck driver in Afghanistan before I came to Sweden, so I know that this job suits me well. The workplace feels like a family, where we help each other.” FRIDA ANTER
We work at the PostNord Driver Academy: Kristina Jakobsson, project manager. Annika Lundqvist, training coordinator South/ Central Region. Anna-Karin Kindberg, training coordinator West/Central Region. Thomas Engström, training coordinator Stockholm Region. Anita Tjärnberg, training coordinator North Region. Julia Karlberg, responsible for the recruitment team. We passed the test at the PostNord Driver Academy and have started working at PostNord: Abdelhad Shinwari, Adnan Doush, Yaasin Mohamed, Molham Molhem Mhd, Kaled Azakeer, Youssef Bakran, Emrah Ibisevic, Sebastian Andersson, Zoran Naumovski, Nemania Pavlovic, Mikael Berglin, Hasan Alsheik Hasan Awwad, Omar Aldammad, Marie Glase, Mohamed Idrissi and Paulius Indriliunas. 64
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STORY FROM THE PAST / THE MILLENNIUM BUG
The wolf that never came The world held its breath on the last day of 1999. This was also the case at Posten. The millennium bug had the potential to bring the business to its knees.
The year is 1998. Eddie Sjöberg, IT manager for two of the many postal companies in Sweden, glances around the conference room. There are about thirty serious-looking people there, and around the same number of plastic cups containing weak vending machine coffee. The summer weather has been terrible. France has just won the football World Cup, Geri Halliwell has left the Spice Girls and Finance Minister Erik Åsbrink has presented his budget with the words “things are going well for Sweden.” But there is something on the horizon that definitely doesn’t look good. The meeting is about Y2K, the millennium bug, which is expected to basically destroy civilization as we know it just eighteen months later.
Computers will go crazy, there will be power blackouts and, most crucially — from the point of view of Posten — the entire postal system will be brought to its knees. So it is now up to these 30 or so people to save the world. Eddie Sjöberg, who now has a business development role at PostNord located strategically between operations and IT, recalls, “People were quite worried there for a while. A lot of big meetings were held. Scenarios about what would happen were sketched. We had even more companies at that time.
“But the situation began to become clearer after an analysis had been conducted. Maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as people thought? A bit of clever reprogramming could avoid the doomsday.” But it was not possible to be completely certain, so the meetings continued. “You didn’t want to skip the meetings and then be held responsible if something did go wrong. So there were a lot of meetings to sit through, sometimes with a great many people,” says Eddie. So what happened in the end?
Apart from the fact that all the taxi meters at Taxi Åmål stopped working, the millennium bug passed more or less unnoticed in Sweden. That was also the case at Posten. “We had an on-call service in place, but I could celebrate the New Year. I made a call to the project manager, but otherwise it was very calm.” Certainly during the New Year break at least. Then normal work could begin again. “We could finally get to work on everything we had had to set aside over the last year and a half. That was tougher than handling the actual millennium bug.” NICLAS GREEN
PEOPLE BY POSTNORD
Break free from the elements. Isn’t it strange? That sun and warmth are considered good running weather. When it’s actually the opposite. Heat makes you sweat, the sun burns your skin. We’ve got it all wrong this entire time. Winter weather isn’t bad. It’s fast. You just have to gear up right. And break free.
Hydro jacket Wind- and water-protective hooded running jacket with laser-cut ventilation.
LONGING FOR FRESHLY PISTED SNOW? Us too.
Join us on our 47 ski runs, the best skiing in SÃ¤len and Swedish Ski Resort of the Year* ! Great value accommodation close to the ski lifts available to you as a PostNord employee at:
* As award by the SLAO (Swedish Ski Areas Industry Association)
In the magazine People by PostNord, a number of PostNord employees provide stories about their background, why they are passionate about the...
Published on Oct 10, 2019
In the magazine People by PostNord, a number of PostNord employees provide stories about their background, why they are passionate about the...