Antti Niemi, supply chain director, Architectural Coatings, EMEA North & East, and a 2022 Rainmaker, has led his team through a pandemic, raw material crisis and acquisition in the span of a few years. Through it all, he kept raw materials and finished products flowing while planning for future demand and capacity.
Varied Background Builds Career Foundation
Holding a master’s degree in economics from the Helsinki School of Economics in Finland, Antti has worked in a wide range of industries, from toy, food and drink, and consumer goods companies to an analytics startup.
Although the industries varied, my roles have always been in sales, supply and analytics, with most positions combining all three.
Antti joined Tikkurila in 2019 and was involved in the integration when we acquired the company two years later.
“With its regular calls and established process, the integration was run very professionally. It provided the necessary information and feeling that we’re doing this together as one new PPG team and not being ordered to do it in certain way.”
A distinct memory from that time is a call with his new planning colleagues the first day after the deal closed.
“It felt really good, like we had been working together already. Ever since, they have been there to help out when needed. I thank them for that.”
Overcoming Supply Chain Challenges
That help and assistance from others became critical as Antti and his team confronted supply chain disruptions brought on by the lingering pandemic and global socio-economic situation.
My team is responsible for planning our short- and long-term production. In the short term, we need to ensure that we can run our production efficiently and cost-effectively and have the raw materials to do so. In the long term, we need to understand our demand and capacity to avoid any crises or bottlenecks.
To meet short-term needs, Antti and his new colleagues collaborated to develop new ways of working and the analytical tools required to gain better visibility into raw material inventories.
“Instead of being country based, we began working as a region. We were allocating products to the locations where they were most needed to maximize our service and profit. We weren’t thinking of the success of our own operations but instead were focused on what’s good for the company as a whole.”
That spiderweb of cooperation not only kept our existing customers satisfied, it also landed us major new customers in a time of extreme supply chain disruptions. These achievements earned Antti a 2022 Rainmaker award.
“It is a great honor and shows that my efforts and those of my team are appreciated.”
Move Forward Professionally, Slow Down Personally
Outside of recognitions like the Rainmaker award, Antti’s motivation to make it happen every day is having a sense that things are moving forward.
“Whatever task is at hand, I get a good feeling whenever we’re taking steps toward achieving it.”
His career experiences have taught him that achieving a goal hinges on two things – an entrepreneurial spirit and persistence.
Whatever you do, run it like you own it. Know your role, have a vision and put in persistent effort. Results will follow. Also think outside of your own area and key performance indicators to do what’s good for the company.
Antti believes in doing what’s good for his well-being and that of his family, too.
“My wife and I have three active kids. Participating in their hobbies and family activities like nature walks helps maintain balance and allows me to recharge. Sometimes walking the dog can even be a really good source of ideas and inspiration.”