Fazer Confectionery manages its projects with the Thinking Portfolio project portfolio. Focus, as the portfolio is called at Fazer, manages consumer product, raw material, product development and product decommissioning projects.

Thinking Portfolio is the perfect platform for evolving projects

Focus Friend Hanna Ikonen

Fazer Confectionery’s project are unique and challenging with various requirements related to the process. “The old system was no longer sustainable for the ever-evolving environment, and the company decided to procure Thinking Portfolio, which provided genuinely flexible development features and was deemed perfect for evolving projects. We found it handy that we could, for example, connect raw material projects with product development projects,” Senior Specialist Hanna Ikonen describes motivations behind the procurement.

Fazer Blue’s new flavour variations

Another interesting project is the development of a new flavour for Fazer Blue. The development of a new flavour begins early, at least a year before the product is ready to be launched. The portfolio enables every step to be managed, from cost analysis to consumer interest and from raw material testing to packaging design. The portfolio provides all initial data for every part of the process, providing different views to different users, yet serving everyone equally.

“Our sales department looks at long-term planning, while production plants are interested in what will be produced and what will be out.

The data provided by the portfolio allows the production plants to plan test run schedules that will then be entered into the portfolio.” All data is available internally at Fazer. The portfolio allows the monitoring of both schedules and decisions.

Focus Friends making things happen with humour

Focus Friends is making things happen without sacrificing good team spirit.

“We have been really happy with Thinking Portfolio. Previously, users were constantly asking for advice. Now they are simply saying: “This is so easy”. End-users have been so happy with the tool, they’re almost running up and hugging me.”

Fazer manages its portfolio and projects without grunting and frowning: projects are completed efficiently and costs are calculated, but the spirit is kept positive. Administrators are not called administrators, but “Focus friends”. Each function has a dedicated Focus friend, and each group has its own “Focus Friends” WhatsApp group

“We are getting things done with good humour and a strong team spirit, which is our calling card. We even have a quirky nickname for system icons,” Hanna Ikonen laughs.

“Typically project scheduling and management can be stressful, but the project manager is definitely a relief. No one is panicking, but managing smoothly and nimbly with Focus.”

Thinking Portfolio and Focus Friends have had such a positive impact that Fazer has procured two new Thinking Portfolio tools, Fazer Bakery Focus and Fazer Lab.

No more Excel, only steady progress

Thinking Portfolio was implemented quickly, and production use commenced immediately following minimum parameter definition. “The portfolio is easy to develop, and users have been actively presenting development ideas,” Ikonen states.

“Previously I did the development by myself, and it took time for our users to adopt our previous portfolio application, having a tendency to use their own Excel files. This is now becoming a thing of the past with all features imported into Thinking Portfolio.

Currently all functions are using Thinking Portfolio reporting, but are not yet aware of all of the features and new reporting tools.” The plan is to adopt the use of the portfolio later in other functions as well.

“We are going through a period of strong development, which is facilitated with nimble development tools.”

P.S. Could you read this without having the taste of chocolate in your mouth? I could not! (Editor’s note.)


Focus Friend
Hanna Ikonen

Senior Specialist,
PD Systems and Change Management
Fazer Makeiset

Fazer is an international family-owned company offering quality bakery, confectionery, biscuit and grain products, plant-based meals and non-dairy products as well as food and café services. (http://fazergroup.com)