Driving and inspiring change
Hannu Mäntymaa has worked for Wärtsilä for nearly two decades, located in China and Finland. ”I started as a summer trainee in Production Controlling and continued as a Development Engineer in Vaasa. My first years were very important in order to gain an understanding of products, operations and to get to know Wärtsilä people. I like challenging tasks and I get energy from working with people and getting things done,” Hannu says.
Wärtsilä’s reputation and the industry were the factors that attracted Hannu and influenced his decision to apply to Wärtsilä even though he was not familiar with the technologies beforehand, “I had worked for several companies before Wärtsilä, but when I started in the operations team in Vaasa, the atmosphere, people’s expertise and operations impressed and inspired me a lot.”
“After the first three years in operations, I moved to global Process and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System Roll-out team and got to know our people, operations and business on a more global scale. After those very hectic and memorable few years, I got a chance to drive the development of our factories’ quality and processes in global industrial operations. I also got a small team to lead for the first time," Hannu opens the career development opportunities he got. “After all these years in global business and operational development, in 2014, I got a chance to build and lead a team establishing a new joint venture company in Shanghai, China, which was of course very unique,“ he tells.
“After nearly four years of a very inspiring and exciting time in Shanghai, we moved back to Finland with my family. Just recently, I got the chance to explore and learn more about global business operations through heading our Power Supply Business Line within Wärtsilä Marine Business. The whole career of innovations, thinking differently, trying to solve problems or turn challenges into opportunities together with people, has been the driving force giving me energy and excitement. Wärtsilä is a company full of opportunities. I've always found myself working with inspiring people with tasks and projects that are challenging and developing something new or driving changes,” Hannu describes his journey.
What helps a lot in problem-solving and opportunity seeking is cooperation. And as Hannu has worked globally with many stakeholders, we wanted to ask for a few tips, “I always aim to listen to and respect people, be open, fair and transparent in my work and communication. A certain systematic and logical thinking and communication style that I'm always trying to keep, has helped to get people to understand and work together towards common goals.”
These characteristics have actually helped Hannu in tough situations. One of such he faced during his first years in China, “I remember when we started with our small team in China to build a new company. The team worked so well together that we managed to get the first customer order in the very early phase, before we had any factory or operations established. Agreeing to take on that delivery included a lot of risks – think if there were delays in the factory – but with open communication with the customer and having clear risk mitigation plans in place, we managed to get operations started and deliveries made successfully according to customer expectations. That created a lot of positive team spirit and built very strong trust and reference in the market for our new company,” Hannu says about the situation that turned out to be a success.
Driving change, innovating and cooperating in new ways
Wärtsilä's future in the coming years relies in its uniqueness and ability to proactively react to the change. According to Hannu, Wärtsilä is becoming a true smart technology company that can provide solutions to global climate challenges and bring unique solutions to its customers. “Both of our markets are going through bigger and faster changes than ever before and we are leading and enabling the change. By adapting continuously and with faster speed to these changes needed will enable – and demand – a lot of continuous learning and growth from myself and all our people,” he supports his argument.
Hannu has seen first hand that there are a lot of these kinds of continuously evolving experts, for example in the R&D organisation he was heading in his previous role. “The passion, competence, drive and ability to have fun and enjoy the work is really something I admire in many expert teams we have in Wärtsilä.”
Since Hannu has this extensive experience with the company, he is now having an important role as Wärtsilä is investing into a new modern innovation, technology and production centre, the Smart Technology Hub in Vaasa. “Our technical and business teams across the globe are working together every day to make our customers satisfied,“ Hannu begins and continues “Inspired by our purpose statement and business strategies, we’re thrilled to have this Smart Technology Hub in place soon as innovations, co-operation and differentiation will become even more important in turning our visions into reality. Wärtsilä wants to cooperate with various stakeholders in the innovation work more intensively, and that’s what Smart Technology Hub is all about.”