An eventful roller-coaster ride
For VEO’s Power Utilisation unit, 2020 represented a year of extremes. The year got off to a great start with a record-breaking order book, which carried the unit through half a year of low sales, when the pandemic hit with full force in Q2. In the end, thanks to long-term customer relationships, far-sighted operations and flexible employees, the unit had a successful year, despite the prevailing conditions.
World-class project execution in Singapore
A bright highlight of VEO’s Power Utilisation business last year was carrying out a vast expansion project for Neste in Singapore. The oil & gas project kept both project personnel and the factory busy throughout the year and was successfully delivered on time. Being its second large-scale delivery to Neste in Singapore, the project is a true testament of VEO’s world-class capabilities in executing massive international projects:
“In these massive projects, the need for smooth and efficient change management is emphasized. In collaboration with our customer, the Singapore project became a success – a true textbook example of our competences in these types of deliveries”, says Visa Yliluoma, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Sales.
E-houses for the industrial segment
In 2020, VEO saw a rising demand in e-house solutions for the industrial segment. VEO has long experience of turn-key deliveries of standard substations, which showcase VEO’s full selection of services and products in one neat package. As a one-stop shop, VEO’s own products and seamless internal cooperation guarantee industrial customers quality e-house solutions on short notice. In 2020, VEO delivered e-houses to the Finnish mining industry and sold them to the forest industry.
High customer satisfaction despite uncertain times
While many customers pushed their projects forward due to the uncertain times, several projects also were delivered according to plan and on time. In these projects, VEO’s customer satisfaction scores were exceptionally high, owing to great customer collaboration, as well as the outstanding performance of VEO’s employees:
“With the extra demands last year posed, VEO’s personnel has been flexible to an extreme, making sure our customers’ investments have been taken care of according to schedule”, Yliluoma praises.
Strong trends in hybrid solutions and heat recovery
While the coronavirus pulled the rug under most of VEO’s Q2 and Q3 heavy industry sales, the marine sector continued steadily with its investments in hybrid solutions. The electrification of maritime transport is a clear megatrend, supported by national governments. VEO’s products for this sector enable the maximised use of hybrid propulsion and battery storage systems, and in 2020, international demand for these solutions continued, or even grew, in several export markets. The demand for hybrid solutions was also evident in thermal energy storage projects in 2020.
Despite the difficult times, VEO’s international sales continued in a positive direction last year. This could, for instance, be seen in the thermal power segment, where VEO was selected to supply electrification and automation solutions to Ireland’s first large-scale heat recovery plant and district heating network in collaboration with Fortum eNext. Heat recovery is another strong trend, for which VEO’s turn-key solutions are a great fit.
A workload roller-coaster
In terms of workload, 2020 was a roller-coaster for VEO’s Power Utilisation unit. A strong order book kept the factory on full speed up until Q4, and while last year also brought about quieter moments, the repercussions of the pandemic were in the end minor. The personnel put in extra hours where needed and took earned time off when things were slow. VEO also used its extra resources in development projects, thanks to which the company was able to push forward strategic actions despite the corona pandemic.
In 2020, job satisfaction scores in the Power Utilisation unit were high, employees were motivated, and collaboration over department borders was better than ever. Yliluoma attributes the 2020 successes to the team’s fighting spirit, for which he is thankful:
“We are very grateful to our amazing people, who are so important to us. Meeting our customers’ needs last year would have been impossible without them. Our personnel grew with the responsibilities and carried our company to the next level. They never wallowed in despair but believed in the future and that we could continue to develop and grow.”
In the words of our employees
“The Singapore delivery got off to a rapid start. But just as we had got our machines up and running, as they say, the plans had to be changed because of the coronavirus. In projects of this size, even small changes cause a lot of work. So, in this case, where working methods also needed altering, patience was required from everyone. However, we did a great job thanks to all the team members who dedicate themselves 110% to the project, as well as to the seamless cooperation with purchasing, production, the project team and our Italian partner TechnipFMC.”
Marko Viinonen, Project Manager, Singapore
“Negotiations of Neste’s Singapore project were particularly memorable for me, as they lasted almost a year and were held partly in Rome. We concentrated on the pre-design phase with extreme precision, which took time, but once the plans were clear to everyone, we were able to start the project rapidly. Neste is one of the world’s most significant developers of biofuels and does notable global work for sustainable development. Therefore, it’s always an honour to be involved in these kinds of projects, and I’m really grateful that we at VEO have had the privilege to cooperate with Neste already for almost twenty years. “
Seppo Perätalo, Key Account Manager
“A medium-voltage switchgear entity was also delivered to Neste in Singapore at the same time as the low-voltage delivery. At VEO, we are used to having several different-sized projects running simultaneously, so from that standpoint, the situation was business as usual. However, both projects were larger in volume than average, which made them particularly laborious. However, the work was simplified by the fact that both projects included different VEO products manufactured on different production lines and with different project teams, so it was easier to treat them as separate entities. While it was a great honour to be involved in this significant project, the most memorable part of the year 2020 was certainly the last FAT testing of the Singapore project, after which we finally got all the switchgear approved and dispatched. To my recollection, to top it all, that was the last working day before Midsummer.”
Matias Ringvall, Project Manager, Singapore