My summer job: guiding crude tall oil from the plant to fuel tanks

What do a meteorologist and a trainee in the forest industry supply chain have in common? “We are practically clairvoyants — all that’s missing is the crystal ball,” says Jimi Leivo, age 25, as he describes his summer job in the UPM Biofuels supply chain.

Jimi is in his final year of studying Bioproduct Technology in Aalto University. Part of his summer is spent at the UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery, while the rest of the action happens at the UPM`s main office in Helsinki. In Lappeenranta he acts as the link between production and supply chain. His team is responsible for ensuring that the production unit receives its raw material on time and that UPM BioVerno production works without problems. In Helsinki, he organizes the transportation from suppliers to the biorefinery and to the client.

This is Jimi’s fifth summer as an UPM employee. He has progressed from pulp mill production and supervisory to a position in the biofuel supply chain. His previous summer at the UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery logistics processes helped him develop a strong basic knowledge on the principles of supply chain operations. His current job has helped him to develop this understanding further and allowed him to see what happens behind the scenes in the different phases of the journey of crude tall oil.

”I’ve had numerous moments of clarity and I’ve realized that things I do now are often related to things I did last summer. It makes planning and performing tasks significantly easier when you know the next step in the supply chain and what the person after you does. There are no more grey areas in my knowledge — I enjoy knowing it all,” Leivo comments and laughs.

Quick moves keep the working day exciting

Working in the supply chain requires rapid responses and a flexible outlook. You have to be able to stay on top of things even when the day takes a sudden turn — and you need to have a sense of humour. Jimi enjoys having a slight feeling of urgency in the job when things move fast and one has to be able to multitask efficiently.

”You get the feeling that you are important. In small organizations, everyone has so many tasks that your efforts are clear even in the larger scale of things. I was put to work on practical tasks straight away on the first day. It’s nice when you’re trusted so greatly that you get to do real work. That surely is a real motivator.”

Jimi has gained experience in customer service in his previous jobs at Linnanmäki amusement park and Alko beverage retailer — skilled communication is a key in this job, too. You have to be able to communicate accurately and efficiently with many different target groups in quickly changing situations.

“We have to be in contact with numerous types of people — the gamut is extremely wide. We talk with production engineers and operators about production plan of refinery, and then we share this information with the supply chain and third parties. You have to be able to say the same things to the different people in their own language and style.”

In his childhood, Jimi spent lots of time in the forests near his home. His interest in nature and the environment was further strengthened in the biology classes in school. By the time he reached upper secondary school, he was certain that he wanted to pursue studies related to these themes. During his university studies, the possibilities of the bioage began to unfold more thoroughly.

“I’m very excited about where this all is heading. It’s really great to be able to witness and experience the changes of the bioage in the frontline — and in this job, you actually get to affect them as well, in a way.”

Text and image: Elina Räihä