Yrjö has taken advantage of Valtra being a large employer
Yrjö Ruotsalainen has had a long career at Valtra in quality, purchasing and product development. The 'big house' has many advantages, from health insurance to canteens and from loan tractors to hobby groups. Yrjö and his wife Ansa, who has also previously worked at Valtra for many years, have made good use of the benefits of working at Valtra and have participated in a wide range of leisure activities.
"One of the main benefits has been the health insurance fund. In addition, we have been able to borrow tractors for yard work, and have even found summer jobs for the children at Valtra." - Yrjö Ruotsalainen
When Yrjö Ruotsalainen started at Valtra in autumn 2002, he already had twenty years of experience working for different companies in Finland, the Soviet Union and Germany. His previous jobs and education have provided a basis for comparison.
"In my previous jobs in the electronics industry, I had worked in production as a foreman and in the quality department. When the job would have changed from Äänekoski to Tikkakoski, I started to look closer and noticed a vacancy for a quality engineer at Valtra. I applied for it and got it," Yrjö recalls.
Yrjö started working as a quality engineer at Valtra's assembly plant. As a quality engineer, he worked a lot with subcontractors and the electronics side was naturally given to Yrjö because of his work history.
"I knew Valtra back then, but I thought electronics was my thing. Then we both changed, - me and the tractors! The tractors came with CAN buses and so much electronics that a modern tractor wouldn't work without it. And I was learning more and more about tractors."
After quality and acquisition, Yrjö moved into product development, where he also worked on electrical equipment and electronics.
A farm boy from Sonkajärvi
Yrjö had a good idea of how to use a tractor on a farm, as he comes from a dairy farm in Sonkajärvi. His father and his father's brother shared a farm there. Yrjö was involved in farm work from an early age. He could drive a tractor as soon as his foot reached the bottom of the clutch. At a very young age, Yrjö was also able to work on the farm with a horse.
"Just this week I drove a new tractor. Yes, they are really cool things. I think customers are proud of them too. The row of awards on the wall of the R&D centre also shows that the product is good."
Yrjö praises Valtra's initiative. Valtra has traditionally been one of the most proactive companies in Finland in recent years.
"When I travelled a lot in purchasing and product development, I saw how things are done elsewhere. Sometimes you could apply them here. At that time, you could get big initiative bonuses at Valtra, because the initiator of an initiative would get most of the savings that the initiative brought to the company as a bonus, according to a certain formula. Nowadays, the initiative system has changed a bit, but it's always motivating to improve your workplace."
Skiing to work
Yrjö lives about three kilometres from the factory. In winter, he sometimes skis to work through the forest and in summer he can cycle to work on his mountain bike.
"It is a bit conspicuous when you're at the factory gate with your skis up. In the past, when I worked in product development, there was a gate behind the factory that allowed me to walk directly from home to the office. There's an old ski slope in the woods, but I can ski down there myself."
Yrjö is currently working in Jyväskylä in the Smart AG department. Smart AG is a kind of start-up company within a large group. The Smart AG department develops new features and accessories and tries to get them into use quickly. Smart AG activities are similar to product development but faster, and the projects are much smaller.
"Smart AG is a nice, responsive organisation with its antennae out. We meet farmers on a weekly basis, listen to and show them our own inventions and do trial installations," says Yrjö.
Enjoying the employee benefits at Valtra
Yrjö has been an active participant in Valtra's hobby clubs. Valtra has dozens of clubs in various fields, from sports to culture. Other employee benefits include a low-cost canteen, comprehensive occupational health care and a health insurance fund.
"I suppose it is an advantage of sorts that our children have found summer jobs at Valtra. The children of the staff are given priority when summer workers are selected."