The formula for success: working together
At VEO, we can look back at a year where we did something quite remarkable. We turned a noticeable deficit into stable profitability by year end. In practice, we managed to adjust the strategy, implement substantial cost savings, restructure the organisation as well as introduce extensive project monitoring. Working together allowed us to come through these severe measures stronger than ever.
2019 turned out to be quite a ride for VEO. I stepped in as CEO in January, and when we completed the 2018 accounts in March, a deficit was revealed that we were not prepared for. In cooperation with the board, we adjusted our strategy and involved the whole company in implementing the necessary actions that had to be taken. Looking in the rear-view mirror, I am very proud of the remarkable achievement we managed to bring about.
Getting back on track included the short-term strategic goal of making the financial year 2019 profitable. To achieve this, we launched several extensive programmes in Q2. A cost-saving campaign was rapidly implemented which included cuts in marketing, travel and sponsorship. In late spring 2019, we also had to initiate cooperation procedures to alleviate the problems we were facing.
Restructuring the organisation, including filling key positions and finetuning areas of responsibility, were crucial elements in the recovery plan. A new Production Director, a Vice President for the Industry business, a Sourcing Director and a CFO were all appointed during the year. They took to heart the task of streamlining their respective fields of responsibility – as well as finding the most efficient synergies between their operations. Operative purchasing was incorporated as a whole into Production. In addition, sourcing operations were moved closer to Sales, to provide the necessary support in the early stages of negotiations with subcontractors.
To further streamline our processes, the Health & Safety and Quality departments were incorporated into the HR organisation, and Expert Services was integrated into the Power Generation business unit. All business unit directors have made a tremendous effort to navigate their respective ships into safe waters. We have also outlined a new and more efficient form of cooperation between VEO and the UK-based I.C. Electrical Ltd, which we acquired in 2017.
Communication is a two-way street
During 2019, information sharing was taken to new levels in order to establish a better foundation for project monitoring and to nurture team spirit. This was primarily achieved by improving the existing forums and introducing new ones.
Monthly business reviews have now been extended to not only include the respective business unit director when VEOs management team is being briefed. Instead, the whole business unit steering group is involved when projects are analysed, and the way forward for each business unit is discussed. We have introduced a monthly line-manager forum, where I sit with the line managers to give them a correct understanding of our strategic moves, what is needed from them to keep our company on track and how we can stay there.
Every quarter, we also arrange an “Ask the CEO” event for the entire workforce, an idea originating from the staff, which has turned out to be a great success. The communication channels are now wide open and much appreciated, as seen in the most recent employee satisfaction survey.
I am delighted to see that we have a strong order book for 2020 already from the beginning of the year. Large global actors believe in us and we are being invited in at the early stages of projects. This gives us an even better opportunity to show what we excel at. However, we carefully analyse every project before deciding whether to pursue it, which is why I am convinced that our growth will remain profitable.
The wind power business is thriving, and today, we are even better equipped to take on large projects. In 2019, we decided to switch ownership from Swedish SVEA to TT360, a Swedish transmission and distribution consultancy. Not only did we get a well-functioning team with an excellent reputation when it comes to electrification projects, they also provide us with important local expertise on how to best manage business on the Swedish market.
I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to everyone at VEO. Our main focus during the year was to achieve profitability, which we managed splendidly. We could not have done it without working together for this common goal.
Information-sharing and involving the entire workforce was, and is, a prerequisite. We cannot grow profitably if we are not working together.