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Building well-being: Helena Törnqvist’s work touches the daily lives of pharmacy customers

A sense of meaning is present in Helena Törnqvist’s work every day. Thanks to her work, consumers can get their eye drops, vitamins and other products from the pharmacy. The most important task of the team led by Helena is maintaining security of supply. The results of this work are reflected in a smooth flow of products from suppliers to pharmacies and in sustainable supply chains.
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Helena Törnqvist, Head of ESO OTC and Sustainable Procurement Manager at Orion, leads the team responsible for the procurement of externally sourced self-care products. They are products that Orion does not manufacture, but for which it is a distributor of, for example. This category contains around 400 products, from food supplements to eye drops and from creams to vitamins.  
“Our ESO (External Supply Operations) & OTC (Over-the-Counter) team ensures that all the self-care products under our responsibility are always available to consumers in pharmacies. We also explore with other stakeholders whether we could further expand the product range and categories,” Törnqvist explains. 
The work is international and requires good teamwork and interaction skills. Maintaining smoothly running relationships with suppliers is vital in ensuring that products arrive on time and that any challenges in production or delivery schedules are communicated in a timely manner. This allows sufficient time to respond to problems and solve them without compromising reliable deliveries.

The three best aspects of my job – Helena Törnqvist:

  • Meaningful work. It’s a privilege to be able to contribute to the well-being of people and the planet through my work.
  • Flexibility to achieve a good work-life balance.
  • Opportunities for development through training and job rotation. 


Sustainable procurement is a continuous development process

Törnqvist also serves as Sustainable Procurement Manager, and a fifth of her working week is dedicated to developing the sustainability of supply chains. She is responsible for ensuring that suppliers operate responsibly and comply with Orion’s Third Party Code of Conduct.  
“We look into the carbon dioxide emissions of supply chains, for example, and provide any necessary guidance on how to reduce emissions and improve sustainability in general. Our work is based on interaction. Together with our suppliers, we consider how sustainability can be improved if necessary,” says Törnqvist. 
Sustainability work is about continuous development and improvement, but it also generates visible results, which provides motivation and makes the work important. 
“A sense of meaning is present in my work every day. Thanks to our work, consumers can get eye drops for dry eyes, vitamins to support healthy living and other products from the pharmacy. Supply chains are becoming more responsible, one supplier at a time, as we work towards sustainability. The results are rewarding,” says Törnqvist.

The employer supports professional development

When Törnqvist became Sustainable Procurement Manager, her employer offered the opportunity to complete the Sustainability and Business programme provided by APRO (Aalto University Professional Development).  
“The studies were interesting, and the programme helped me start my work in my new role. Orion has a positive attitude towards training. I see this as one of the attractions of my job,” says Törnqvist. 
Törnqvist holds a Master’s degree in chemical engineering. She specialised in organic chemistry and studied industrial management, strategy and international business as subsidiary subjects. This interdisciplinary combination offered many career options. 
“I didn’t see myself as a researcher, and I wanted to use both commercial expertise and chemistry in my work. I completed my Master’s thesis at Fermion in Espoo and started working there as a registration manager after graduation,” Törnqvist explains.

Job rotation offers new opportunities 

Before joining the ESO procurement team at Orion, Törnqvist compiled documentation about new pharmaceutical ingredients for the registration authorities for two years. Now, more than a decade later, it’s time for something new, and Törnqvist is returning to Fermion: 
“Although I love my job, I’ve decided to accept the role of Business Development Manager and will be responsible for customer acquisition in Europe and Japan in Fermion’s Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation business segment. In the future, I will also be responsible for the marketing and sales of generic pharmaceutical ingredients in European countries and Japan,” Törnqvist explains. 
Törnqvist is glad that Orion encourages job rotation and professional development. A large company offers many opportunities.  
“At Orion, careers are long, but many people have held various roles within the company. It’s great to be able to continue my professional development and learn something new.”