Timo Ala-Heikkila

CEO’s review

People of VEO – thank you 485 times over


Amid a pandemic that has paralysed part of the global industry, Team VEO delivered one of the best results in the Group’s history. By working together, we secured several of our most significant deals to date and managed both new and in-progress projects in an excellent manner. This would not have been possible without the incredible flexibility and dedication of every single employee.

At the beginning of year 2020, we had a strong order book and looked forward to a record-breaking year. In the end, that is precisely what we got – even though COVID-19 made the road unnecessarily rocky.

Adapting to a new world order

Almost overnight, the pandemic changed the way everyone worked at VEO. Those who could worked at home, which was an arrangement that worked well for some, but troublesome for others. Staff in the factory had to work wearing protective gear and adhere to very stringent regulations, and travelling to sites turned into a nightmare, due to constantly changing national and international restrictions. Considering we had around 100 sites to visit, the changing restrictions led to a massive amount of coordination work, especially for the line managers, not to mention the uncertainty the situation caused those colleagues needing to travel, with the constant fear of falling ill or being stuck abroad in sudden lockdowns.

Increased efficiency

Despite the challenging circumstances, we still managed to increase our efficiency. Non-critical travel came to a halt, which accelerated the development of remote solutions, such as our remote factory acceptance tests (FATs), which have turned out to be a very efficient alternative and are here to stay.

Considering most of our staff started working at home, there were initial concerns about how critical software such as our engineering tools would work remotely. These worries turned out to be unfounded as the technical solutions worked flawlessly throughout the year.

However, the number one reason for our increased efficiency is the continued refinement of our processes. The TOP3 project, launched in 2019 and focusing on process development within Sales, Project management and Engineering, continued during 2020 by involving additional interdepartmental interfaces. By making sure everyone’s voice is heard, we create processes that work for the Group as a whole – which in the long run means we can serve our customers even better.

Working together

Open communication is vital when working together and even more critical in times of uncertainty. We worked hard to make sure everyone was up-to-date with what was going on, regarding both the day-to-day running of projects and our actions related to the pandemic. Already in 2019, we had levelled up the way we communicate, with new forums such as frequent line-manager briefings and “Ask the CEO” events, which now serve as a steady foundation to build upon.

The pandemic had an uneven impact on our respective business areas. As a nation, the UK was hit very hard, which naturally affected our UK-based branch I.C. Electrical heavily. Our Industry business was also severely affected, whereas our Power Distribution unit, for example, had an outstanding year, with an all-time high result. As a group, we had each other’s backs, and together we managed to pull through.

A larger, more international arena

In 2020, we signed a number of our most significant deals to date. For example, we are now supplying energy-efficient distribution technologies to Neste’s colossal expansion project in Singapore and an EBOP contract to Luxcara’s wind farm in Sweden, which belongs to Europe’s largest onshore wind farm cluster. Overall, our Swedish wind energy business has taken a huge leap forward thanks to the successful integration of the TT360 company into VEO AB.

Our clients invite us into their projects at increasingly early stages, showing that they trust us and count on us. This fits very well into the new 5-year strategy we are currently outlining, where we envision VEO as a full-scale project house.

A bright future

At the beginning of 2021, the order book is even stronger than it was in 2020. The pandemic is still around, but with the team’s incredible achievement last year fresh in mind, I feel optimistic we can continue to withstand its most severe impacts. Beyond the pandemic, the future looks very bright. Sustainable energy solutions have been a strategic cornerstone for VEO during our 30-year history, and we are now more suited than ever to take on an even more prominent role in the critical transition to carbon-free energy.

People of VEO – Thank you

Last year showed us, once again, that our values are more than empty words. They were present in everything we did. By genuinely working together instead of in silos, by openly and honestly discussing new ways of working, and by courageously testing new solutions, we created high added value for our customers – and by doing that, we keep winning together.

A wholehearted thank you to everyone.


Timo Ala-Heikkilä


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