Ilkka Lappalainen – From wood procurement to quality management

Procurement and ERP specialist Ilkka Lappalainen

Ilkka Lappalainen graduated as a forestry technician in 1989, just before the recession. “I didn’t have the luxury of choosing where to work. I had to find the work where I could and ended up doing a lot of different jobs in the process”, Lappalainen describes his early career.

For a few years, Lappalainen worked for Metsähallitus, the Finnish state-owned forestry and environmental service enterprise. When the job started taking him all over the country for extended periods, he started to phase out such fixed term assignments due to family reasons.

After his time with Metsähallitus, Lappalainen worked in hardwood floor manufacturing at Karelia parketti. “It was an assembly line job”, he explains. “Stuff came on the conveyor belt and I’d assemble it. Glueing, compressing, planing, you name it. In hindsight, it was a lull period in my life.”

Having a network always help

A colleague from his internship had recommended Lappalainen as a good employee, and soon he started working for Iivari Mononen as a procurement manager. “That was in the spring of 1998. It’s easy to remember because my son was born the same year.”

As a procurement manager, Lappalainen was in charge of the group’s timber purchases around Eno, Lieksa and Juuka.

Wood procurement hasn’t changed much over the years, except for the addition of information technology. “For the first few years, the notes I made looked like something one would draw on a pack of cigarettes. In the early 2000s, we got laptops and printers. This made the job easier for those of us who had to travel a lot”, Lappalainen recalls. “Also back then, we used our homes as offices.”

Lappalainen had already worked in timber procurement for 19 years when his body started to show it couldn’t keep up with the job anymore. Moving in the forest became difficult. This meant a change in his job description. “I got some replacement parts in my body, including an artificial hip joint. Now I can move around in the forest, too.”

“Our PEFC certificate ensures that the wood we use originates from legal, responsible sources.”

Nowadays Ilkka Lappalainen works as a quality and timber procurement system specialist. His tasks include preparing wood procurement reports and managing the entries. In quality management systems, he works under the quality and environment manager. His primary employer is Scanpole, but from time to time, Lappalainen also assists other companies within the Iivari Mononen Group. He maintains and develops the IMS quality assurance system.

“We have ISO9001 and ISO14001 certification for our quality assurance system and our environment management system, respectively. Our PEFC certificate ensures that the wood we use originates from legal, responsible sources.”

“With the certificates, we show that our operations meet certain quality standards. Every year, we have an external audit. This helps us make sure that everything works as it should”, Lappalainen explains.

Read more about Scanpole’s certificates

“It’s always been fun working here.”

Counterbalancing the work

To counterbalance his work at the office, Ilkka Lappalainen unwinds by working in the forest, building things and doing smaller projects. Seasonal sports are a big part of his free time. Winter is for sking, spring for walking, and when the roads are dry, the cycling season starts.

“Now that I’m older, I exercise every morning. 15 to 20 minutes during the weekend, and up to 30 minutes on the weekend. This has had a huge impact on my physical well-being. My daily exercise includes various squats, lunges, situps, pushups and stretches”, Lappalainen describes. Last year, his smartwatch clocked in ca. 400 hours of exercise, and this winter Lappalainen has already skied over 400 kilometres. “My wife has skied even more”, he says dismissively.

Best things in work

According to Lappalainen, the best things in his work are versatility and freedom: “I’ve always liked to have both the freedom to do things and the responsibility to get them done. There’s not really been anyone dictating me how each task should be done”, he explains.

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Kategoria: Career Stories