Careful planning and structure is required for our two Gille bakeries in Scania to work seamlessly. One of those who make sure that production flows smoothly is food chemist and plant manager Jan Ackesjö.

Jan Ackesjö is a 51-year-old nature lover who grew up in Gnesta, outside Stockholm, but today lives with his wife in Ängelholm, near Helsingborg. When he is not at his office in Örkelljunga, coaching his production managers or visiting the factory in Åsljunga, he may be found hiking or kayaking out in the wilderness.

– I used to do a bit of orienteering for many years, but not anymore, he says.

He has been the plant manager at Gille for eight years now. It is a job that requires structure for everything to work.

What’s a normal day at work for you like?
– The mornings usually consist of taking charge of the bakery and finding out how the night shift went. How are we doing in terms of our delivery plans? We have our daily meeting at 10 a.m. where we coordinate staffing and deliveries up until the next morning. In the afternoon, my work is usually more structure-orientated. This can range from running calculations and personnel management to inspecting the lines and coaching my production managers.

As plant manager, it is imperative that you like meeting as well as working with people. There must be constant communication between the several hundred employees. This, along with the strategic side, is what Jan believes makes the job perfect for him… in addition to his great interest in food, of course. But what is it that makes this job so exciting for you?

– Food is important for everyone: after all, we all have to eat. There are also many aspects when it comes to food – everything from nutrition, pleasure, what people think is good for the environment and how it is grown, produced and used. Food affects many parts of people’s lives and, for me, that is very exciting.

Much has happened since Jan stepped into the factory for the first time. Although the goods are still baked in the same way, when it comes to how they are packaged, there have been big changes.

– It has gone from mostly manual jobs to a lot of machinery and automation. Many jobs with poor ergonomics have disappeared or have become more technically advanced.

But the good old Gille recipes have remained the same. Which one of them is your favourite?
– This question is not so easy to answer… it is easy to fall for the confectionery products – we eat them fresh from the oven. That said, Gille Pastries are a big favourite. But then I think of the Oatmeal Crisps. The problem is that I feel the same about all of our products, and that is why I also like to get out and exercise, Jan laughs.

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