Hoersholm building 2

Working in a global workplace

Furqan Ali is a biotechnologist working from the Pune Technology Lab in India. He joined Chr. Hansen in June 2019 and has been working on the Microbial Stability Project with colleagues in both Milwaukee and Hoersholm. Read about Furqan and his colleagues and learn what it is like to work in a very close and successful collaboration in spite of being separated by several time zones.


Working to improve health 

The aim of Stability Program is to develop platform technologies for improving the stability of probiotics and cultures at ambient humid conditions. The Stability Program applies scientific and technical knowhow to optimize processes for production of microbial cultures. Recent successful outcome of the program relied on a close cross-disciplinary work between scientific teams from India and Denmark, and our production site in the US.

Furqan explains how the group’s work is done to ultimately improve the health of people and animals: “The overall focus is to provide stable microbes to human, animal and plant health. I believe that microbes, and specifically good bacteria, hold the key to provide healthy and sustainable solutions not only to humans but also to animals and plants. I’m proud to be part of this great project, as our work has an important impact.”

Inspiring and engaged colleagues 

Collaboration and knowledge-sharing are a big part of the Chr. Hansen culture and the way scientists from around the company reach their great results. To Furqan, his colleagues have been a source of inspiration and motivation during his first year in the company: “My co-workers from Pune, Milwaukee and Hoersholm come from different technical backgrounds, which has helped me to understand different aspects of the project I work on. Their sharing nature has inspired me in many ways and helped us to engage in a successful way and motivated us to execute our work efficiently.”

Bri Gunderson, based in Milwaukee, agrees: “The main reason my department works well is because everyone is willing to help when needed, and share their knowledge and experiences with the team. My group does not have the mindset of ‘who’s best’ but rather ‘how can we be better as a team’.”

Supporting and reliable leaders 

Furqan has been able to transfer some of his previous work experience to his new role, but he has also been able to grow. He stresses how his leaders have been a big part of his success in the project: “My direct leader supported me and trusted me on my scientific skills from my first day, and our one-on-one meetings helped build a solid professional relationship. The broader leadership has been especially successful in the proactive communication and demonstration of what needs to be done. It sets clear objectives that we can all relate to, which strengthens the feeling of us working closely together.”

Bri also experienced support from her colleagues: “I received much help from Hoersholm in trialing the different fermentation versions, and they also came to the US to oversee a production batch. We met on a regular basis to discuss how the project was progressing. Locally, my colleagues were very supportive – especially since I was new to the team. They shared a lot of insights with me.”

Birgitte Yde works from Hoersholm and would like to highlight two of the reasons behind the success of the project; cooperation and dedication. “The close cooperation between upstream and downstream chemists played a key role in the success of the project as stabilization of the cultures largely depends on the fermentation. Likewise, the close cooperation between the chemists and production was important to ensure that the product developed in Denmark could be implemented directly in the US production. The high level of dedication shown by the project team was another driver of success, which resulted in the project moving along quickly.”



Coordinating global projects

Coordination plays an important role in all projects, and the Stability Program is no different. Zuzana Mladenovska works as a project coordinator based in Hoersholm, and explains how the three sites has worked together: “It has been essential that the teams involved had a deep understanding of the industrial process. R&D Denmark and the US production site have a very solid and well-functioning platform for development and upscaling of industrial processes.

As the scientific team in India is one of Chr. Hansen’s most recently established laboratories, our leaders focus on fast integration of the new colleagues and strongly encourage us to share knowledge. This ensures that the optimized processes developed with support from our highly skilled and enthusiastic colleagues from Pune will be tailored for our industrial set-up. By adopting this strategy we are able to act agilely and deliver high-value solutions.”

The Chr. Hansen culture across countries and time zones 

Being a global company with offices and labs all over the world can pose a challenge of creating a consistent culture. Since Furqan is part of a small team in India, he has a first-hand experience with this: “I actually feel quite connected to especially the stability group even though we are spread across several countries. Colleagues from Hoersholm have visited us here, which I think underlines our role in something bigger.”

For Bri in Milwaukee, working from different countries is not a problem either: “While you would think it may hinder our capabilities as a company, I think it’s actually a major strength of ours. Working in many different counties with diverse people allows for a high rate of growth and progress in our company.”

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