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Internet presence and international business: case HKScan 17.6.2015

Nordic meat and food expert HKScan wanted to find new openings to utilize digital channels in stakeholder activities. After multiple acquisitions the company needed to standardize practices. Support was needed for implementing new, cohesive strategy, especially considering digital channels and social media. The research project carried out by ICT-portti focused on digital customer channels and the suitable ways of exploiting them for HKScan. The results of the project included a report on meat industry best practices and a proposition for practical next steps.

The ICT-portti team compared the internet presence of various meat and food companies. In order to establish the best practices the team created its benchmarking tool. Previous research was utilized to create the tool, and the special characteristics of HKScan’s field of business were also taken into consideration. Consequently, the new tool was an additional result of the customer project, in addition to the actual benchmarking. HKScan can utilize both the results of the benchmarking and the tool in the future.

The leader of the Business Process Solutions function at HKScan, Tero Lindholm, commented the result: “We as HKScan wanted to identify the best Internet practices. By benchmarking the relevant companies we aimed to find out different solutions to gain more benefits from using digital customer channels. It is sometimes challenging to evaluate by yourself how well you are doing in general, and that is why we gave the team freedom to study our problem from different viewpoints, and especially as outsiders. We got many development ideas as a result for further development. The research team provided good conclusions and now we have to decide where to start and prioritize the ideas."

Team image

The Dream Team: Atcharee Mahuntragul, Bahadir Gurer Gürkan and Xiaoqian Du delivered a top quality research results to HKScan.

"The results opened the eyes and minds of HKScan. The results are used as such in the development work of the digital customer channels. However, also the research and development work continues in cooperation with University of Turku", Tero summarizes.

ICT-portti research team included three Information Systems Master degree students: Atcharee Mahuntragul, Bahadir Gurer Gürkan and Xiaoqian Du. They were very happy with the project. The work was fast-paced, self-directed, and delivered in time.

“I have gained lots of experience and knowledge during the project. This project allowed our team to apply theoretical knowledge acquired from studies into practice in the real world business. Although the customer's topic was very challenging for us as the team, it motivated us to research for new ideas and to develop a new tool to be appropriate for the project. The results of the project reveal that the social media and digital channels have rather strong influence in the driving business. In addition, it is my pleasure that our work is considered to place value for the company HKScan. Last but not least, I am honored to thank ICT-portti and our supervisors to provide us with the valuable opportunity to participate in this customer's project. Most importantly, the project would not have been completed successfully without the dedicated and excellent team-mates.” - Atcharee

“HKScan project was the biggest, longest and the most fruitful project that I have ever been involved so far, during the time of my studies in UTU. It was an exceptional experience, where we get to work with an international Finnish company, which is at the top of the list in its industry. It was fruitful because our topic benchmarking is a field where its implementers have to go beyond the visible limits in order to reveal the hidden. Our rigorous research led us to develop a custom benchmarking tool, which pushed us to learn the depths of benchmarking as a process. With that, we first learned the best practices for benchmarking to put it in use and secondly we learned the best practices of the industry of our customer. The meat industry was one that I would never think of getting in, yet as the agents of Work Informatics we are able to be in every industry, which involves IT; and our project proved that for us. We experienced a well-harmonized teamwork with the lead of brilliant minds and had a solid result, which put a smile on our customers face. I am thankful for the given opportunity and proud of what we have done.” - Bahadir

“It’s both an honor and a pleasure to be part of the HKScan project. I’m grateful that the co-operation between ICT-Portti and HKScan provided us a perfect opportunity to test and practice the ICT frameworks and methods we learned from classroom in the real-world problem solving process. The actual business impact added great significance to the tasks we worked on. Throughout the whole process, I gained various precious experience including strategic planning, utilizing analytical skills, identifying and solving complex business issues, and developing strategic objectives into stage goals and feasible plans. The project was without any doubt overwhelmingly complex to us in the beginning; benefited from helpful guidance and support from supervisors and constructive feedbacks from the client, we were able to carry it on to a rewarding result. Most important of all, without the joint efforts and continuous input of the whole team, success of the project would be unimaginable.” - Xiaoqian

Work Informatics lecturer Antti Tuomisto praises the team: ”This was once again an excellent example of the ICT-Portti’s readiness to deliver high quality research service to our customers. These projects are the finest hours as we lecturers and researchers together with our students deliver our best and beyond: top quality independent research service. But I must say that also the customer, or rather partner, is in key role in this collaborative action. What Tero and HKScan needed were from the very beginning such that we were able to make justified choices what comes to the object and content of the study, as well the research methods. This calls very agile actions, and very trustworthy collaboration. But I must say that the students, the ‘Dream Team’ showed what they are made of: the team was brilliant, one of the best that I have worked with in these customer projects, and there are almost couple hundred cases”, states lecturer Tuomisto.

This customer project is part of the Spark Up Portti.

More information: Lecturer Antti Tuomisto