Working smarter than ever
To secure continuous profitable growth, the Power Distribution unit took the opportunity to regroup in 2019. Now that the building blocks are in place, the business unit can continue developing its wind energy solutions for their clients in Finland, Sweden and Norway.
The Power Distribution unit had a steady year sales-wise in its main markets in Finland, Sweden and Norway.
“In 2019, we managed to land and complete several large distribution projects”, explains Fredrik Grankull, Vice President of Power Distribution. “To achieve this, we reorganised parts of the business unit, reviewed and developed our working methods in sales, engineering and project management, and made a strategically important acquisition in Sweden.”
Clearer way of working
“The reorganisation was made to clarify our roles and responsibilities. The Engineering team, consisting of around 40 professionals, has been divided into smaller teams per discipline, that is, Primary, Secondary, Software and Civil Engineering, each with a dedicated Team Lead. The primary engineering team is made up of Lead Engineers, who together with the Project Managers make up strategically important duos in every project, as they function as VEO’s customer interface during the whole lifecycle of a project,” Grankull explains. “In this way, we are able to ensure that our key resources are utilised where they are most needed, that is, in project and engineering management, development and customer contacts.”
To ensure even more efficiency, the business unit also focused on the standardisation of solutions and processes, as well as the introduction of new tools with new ways of working.
“We work more systematically now, with clearer processes, roles and responsibilities. We work smarter.”
“Everyone, no matter what team they belong to, now knows their respective areas of responsibility. We have worked out clear guidelines of who is doing what and implemented an improved information flow within the projects.”
To further optimise the use of their resources, the business unit constantly develops its subcontractor network. The network can be utilised for time-consuming activities in the field, from testing and commissioning to specialised engineering tasks. This frees up capacity, allowing the business unit to take on a constantly growing number of large projects.
A dynamic Nordic trio
In Sweden, VEO, and the Power Distribution unit in particular, gained a much-needed addition through the acquisition of TechTeam360 (TT360). The TT360 team had a strong position in the market, providing engineering services to different customers’ substation projects. Now, they are in the process of shifting their mindset into becoming an independent project unit within the Power Distribution unit.
“The acquisition has given us a clear advantage on the Swedish market. Previously, projects were largely executed from Vaasa. Now we have a complete team, with Project Managers, Lead Engineers, and detail engineering, which can execute local projects from Västerås with support from Vaasa. This obviously increases both our capacity and competence.”
“Through the TT360 acquisition, we gained important local expertise which considerably increases our capacity on the Swedish market.”
In Finland, Grankull pinpoints the launch of the fully type-tested VECTOR medium-voltage switchgear as one of the highlights during 2019. This latest offering in the VEO product portfolio has been very well received on the market and the product development team is working on developing additional applications and features for the VECTOR product line. The VECTOR switchgear is designed for use in demanding distribution, generation and industrial applications.
“Additionally, we have succeeded very well in refining our modular substation concept. Our customers consider it a highly beneficial solution, as it brings measurable advantages to their investments. By prefabricating and testing the complete substation in factory-like conditions, we efficiently lower building and testing times on site. This means less people needed on site, which in turn means a safer site, which is a key focus area for VEO and our customers.”
In Norway, the business unit is actively looking for additional local project resources to strengthen the local team.
“Here, the benefits from having three strong markets – Finland, Sweden and Norway – can clearly be seen. We can adapt our focus when needed. At times, it is a question of allocating project-specific resources, when at other times we share experiences. Our recent wind-energy successes on the Swedish and Finnish markets are largely thanks to our extensive Norwegian wind energy references,” Grankull states.
Bright prospects ahead
Looking ahead, Grankull is enthusiastic.
“The wind energy market is growing rapidly. At the moment, it is influenced by the drive for sustainable energy and we expect that investments will stay high at least until 2027.”
The need for more renewable energy creates investments in production, which in turn generates a need for investments and re-investments in the regional networks. To transmit the energy to the consumers, infeed points to the national grid are also needed. For VEO, which is seen as a reliable partner among international investors, this opens up opportunities to further strengthen its position.
“We have recently won projects in Finland, Norway and Sweden with a combined capacity of about 1000 MW. This is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of approximately 625,000 households (5,000 kWh / household).”
“We still have things to work on, but the foundations are now in place. It is great to see that our people are motivated and in high spirits. We work more systematically now, with clearer processes, roles and responsibilities. We work smarter. This makes me certain of the fact that 2020 will be an excellent year for the Power Distribution unit.”