Graduates Blog

Calcium: A Business and Personal Transformation

Happy New Year, everybody! A full year of opportunities lies ahead. And who knows, come September, you might start your career as one of our new F15 Graduates. With the application deadline on the 7th of January around the corner, we wanted to offer you a final example of where the programme can take you.

It's David and Jacob, here. You may have seen us in other posts before describing our experiences in our Swedish Member Relations and Middle Eastern Marketing teams, respectively. In this article, we're teaming up to give you a look behind the scenes of our transformation programme: Calcium, and how we as F15 get to play our part. 

Calcium: What's behind the label
Calcium is an all-encompassing transformation programme to place Arla Foods firmly among the world's leading FMCG companies. Our CEO Peder Tuborgh describes it as simply "the biggest project in Arla Foods, no doubt about that". The programme itself is organised into 9 workstreams ranging from logistics to trade marketing. The two of us have been working on Reducing Complexity in our product portfolio, in David's case; and Optimising Production at our sites, in Jacob's.

Reduced complexity is all about focusing on value-adding features activities in our products and production. The workstream is organised into projects each analysing the entire product portfolio within a given category, such as yoghurts, all the way from milk-intake to the shelf. Making sure we produce the right things in the right way.

Each workstream has a so-called 'core team', which is made up of a handful of people from across Arla tasked with finding, calculating and maturing transformational initiatives and presenting them to steering groups made up of Arla's top executives and functional senior leaders.

Empowered people
So, you may ask yourself how F15 Graduates like us can possibly fit into such high-profile projects.

The skills and mindset needed to make Calcium a success define much of what the F15 community stands for: An ambitious and open mindset, and crucially, the desire and ability to drive change.

Nonetheless, given the fact that we are relatively new to the organisation and both have generalist backgrounds, we were reliant on the experts in the organisation to build the solutions with us and our teams, sometimes from scratch. As F15s we were able to add value here with an analytical mind, and the courage to constructively challenge the status quo.

During our time on the core teams, we conducted workshops, in-depth analysis and real-life tests to gather, validate and showcase ideas to stakeholders and colleagues at all levels of the organisation. Working on fundamental changes to our ways of working to make Arla simpler and stronger can be intimidating and exciting at the same time. In such moments, it is good to remind ourselves that we're all part of this project for different reasons: It is our collaboration and collective effort that create the results, for ourselves and for Arla. In the words of our specially appointed Chief Transformation Officer, Nina Bjerring: "It's in acting differently and engaging with each other in a new way, that's really where we create transformation".

A personal transformation
As an F15 and junior member on a Calcium core team, one can impress through hard work, a challenger mindset, showcasing what new ways of working can look like and bringing others along with you.

Extensive cross-functional tasks and gaining deep insight into Arla's value chain from cow to consumer were some of our key motivations for joining the F15 Graduate Programme. Now, after 8 months working on Calcium, we know we had privileged access to just that. Working and problem-solving with bright minds across Arla was a truly rewarding and empowering experience. We got to know the very core of the company and had the opportunity to leave our mark.

On a final note, when working with colleagues across the business to develop new ways to do things, it is just as important to reflect on your own ways of working. Throughout our 8 months, we have been inspired, challenged and have grown personally. Looking back, we do many things very differently now than when we set out. Isn't that what transformation is all about?


All the best for 2019,

David & Jacob

Jacob Morén



Name: Jacob Morén

Position: F15® Graduate

Period: 2017 

Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Department: MY Production & Logistics

David Raphaël Steiner


Name: David Raphaël Steiner

Position: F15 Graduate

Period: 2017

Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Department: Finance Europe