Implementing an energy solution as a five-star service
Implementing an energy solution is always a major project. Adven provides its energy and water solutions as a service, placing no burden on the customer’s organization or balance sheet.
Tero Vainiomäki, Director of Project Management, Adven Finland, and his team are involved in developing this special concept. The project team is in charge of a portfolio of dozens of projects with a total value of tens of millions of euros. Vainiomäki has a clear vision of how project business can also be designed to offer customers a holistic service.
“An energy solution is always a major undertaking for our customers, so we must do our job with great professionalism and care,” Vainiomäki says. He believes Adven’s holistic service model is a successful one, being all about providing the customer with a solution that is based on Adven’s solid experience in different types of energy solutions and which is designed and tested with the customer’s needs in mind.
“This is possible because the designing and testing of energy solutions is included in the sales process. The project team then sees to it that the energy plant is built according to the plan. The projects draw on the solid expertise of Adven’s operations organization to ensure that the plant will function as planned and meet the customer’s needs now and in the future.”
One example of a successful project
As one example of a successful project, Vainiomäki mentions the new evaporation method taken into use at the end of last year in the Naantali plant of Finnfeeds Finland Oy, part of the multinational DuPont Group. The new solution has reduced the plant’s total energy consumption by more than 30% and the amount of steam used for the evaporation by more than 40%. In this case, too, success was based on the full-service model. Let’s let Vainiomäki explain what Adven’s approach really means.
The full-service model
According to Vainiomäki, the first thing that amazes customers is that with Adven’s operating model, customers need to invest very little, if at all, themselves.
“We differ from normal plant suppliers in that we finance our customers’ projects ourselves, which means that the part constructed within the project is also covered by the comprehensive service offered by Adven,” he explains. This allows the customer to refocus its resources from energy production to developing its core business.
Partnership with Adven does not require a separate investment from the customer, and the customer does not usually even need to appoint a project organization. Adven makes the decisions during the execution phase and bears full responsibility for the completion, operation and productivity of the plant during the entire agreement period.
Customers can also be involved in the investment project if they wish, in which case the exchange of information during the project is also open and smooth. Finnfeeds Plant Manager Heikki Vahtera is happy with the partnership: “In my opinion, our co-operation has been excellent. We are even somewhat surprised by how well everything has been going.”
In a long partnership, contact matters
By entering into an agreement, the customer and Adven commit to a long-term partnership. Typically, building an energy solution takes about a year from the investment decision. The agreement is usually concluded for a period of ten to fifteen years.
One of the challenges posed by large projects is people management. The fact that the construction projects are executed in a network-like manner, together with engineering companies and equipment suppliers, adds to the challenge.
According to Vainiomäki, the key to success lies not only in solid know-how, but also in face-to-face contact and communication. “We want to establish a genuine dialogue and an open exchange of information, so we focus on good project communication,” he says. Vainiomäki encourages his project managers to engage people too much rather than too little and to inform all parties concerned about any challenges that lie ahead as early as possible.
“People want to be informed and keep abreast of what is happening, even though this would not necessarily be required for the advancement of the project. In general, smooth exchange of information and communication are perceived as key enablers of a successful project.”
From the designer’s desk all the way through to production
According to Vainiomäki, orchestrating even a large construction project is easy, provided that the schedule, budget and action plan are clear and carefully prepared. All parties involved in the project must know exactly what is expected from them and in which time frame.
“Scheduling can make or break a project,” he says. “Finnfeeds is also a good example of successful scheduling: the plant was commissioned right on time. When the investment project is completed on schedule, costs will also be kept in check and the resources allocated for the job can be put into effective use.”
When managing a large worksite, prioritizing and good decision-making skills cannot be overemphasized. Efficiency requires the ability to eliminate unnecessary work and focus on what is essential for the project. Agile development and innovative thinking are required when designing the project concept and engineering the solutions, but when it comes to executing a major construction project, stable progress and adherence to the plans are paramount.
“We give a lot of thought to what is essential in which case. Based on their experience, our project managers have developed sound judgment, and I trust them a hundred percent,” Vainiomäki sums up.
As seen with the Finnfeeds plant, the plants can be taken into use seamlessly and start generating profits from day one. To facilitate commissioning and ensure availability, production experts are closely involved in building and commissioning the plant. Once the plant has been commissioned and the investment project has been completed, cooperation and partnership with the customer will continue on a full-scope basis throughout the agreement period to ensure the plant’s operations.
“Finnfeeds was full of praise for us precisely for nailing this cooperation,” Vainiomäki says.