A good partnership can be compared to any good relationship. It is based on open communications and a genuine desire to work together. It has been said that a demanding partner is the best possible motivation to enhance operations. Therefore it is important that both of the parties also take up and discuss difficult issues which may become obstacles to cooperation. In a good partnership, both parties learn from each other. A partnership between a small and a large operator may also work well; an example of this is the cooperation between Pielispakari and Kesko Food.
Pielispakari Oy started as a bakery in a garage back in 1993 and has since been built and grown step by step: from a local to regional and from a regional to a nationwide operator.
An important phase in the history of the company took place in 2005. This marked the start of our nationwide cooperation with Kesko Food, when the Pirkka Karelian pasty range that consists of three products was created. The pasties and their innovative packaging are a result of our cooperation and now the genuine traditional products in modern packaging are sold across Finland. They gained an honorary mention in the Start Product of the Year contest, but what is more important is the warm welcome received from consumers.
The fruitful and inspiring cooperation with Kesko Food's Product Research Unit and the persons responsible for purchasing has continued since. The most recent result of our product development is a range of nationwide in-store bakery products; the group which has been constantly increasing its share of total bakery sales.
It's great that regional and local food traditions are highlighted in Kesko Food's marketing. As we have big nationwide operators in addition to representatives of local and versatile bread culture, getting regional products on store shelves has proved challenging, at least at an early stage. I believe that by increasing discussion between bakeries and the persons responsible for regional purchasing, local special products will gain more visibility in the bakery departments of stores. The cooperation model in the development of Pirkka products serves here as an excellent example.
I firmly believe that traditional bread and other bakery products will continue to have an important place on Finnish tables. We at Pielispakari want to work with this in mind every day, by developing our partnership.
Writer Erkki Timonen is Managing Director of Pielispakari Oy.