Key Account Manager Tero Kopola has been working for Elcoline Construction at Leppävirta, Finland, since 2016. Tero joined the Elcoline design team even before graduating B.Sc.
– My first assignment at Elcoline was to implement a real estate automation project for Kuopio University Hospital. It was a very enjoyable start to an engineer’s career says Tero Kopola with a smile.
Tero is currently working on a number of school and daycare centre construction projects conducted by Elcoline Construction. His work tasks include project management, work supervision, electrification design, offer calculations and material acquisitions. His work job description has expanded and become increasingly versatile.
“Solving problems is my thing.”
Elcoline invests in the development of its employees’ careers. Employees are given responsibility, provided that they are willing to accept it.
– New challenges and work tasks have always interested me. I want to learn new things and utilise my competence and capacity to the maximum. In my view, it is important to retain a close contact with electrical engineering when assuming new, more extensive responsibilities in one’s work.
– One of the best elements in electrification design is that you can see the results of your design as functional solutions in ready-made buildings. There are new challenges to rise to every day, and this requires the capacity to solve technical problems, plus the ability to put applications into practice, as well as creativity. I also enjoy the close cooperation with construction designers, HEVAC designers and architectural designers.
We never lay down our work gloves in front of challenges
Elcoline is currently in the process of vigorous growth, and the company has extended its business into new branches without prejudice.
– Elcoline sometimes makes surprising employment offers to bold and curious job seekers. We encourage people to study and experiment, and support their career advancement.
When Elcoline Construction is engaged in a project, none of the team members ever lay down their work gloves in front of the challenge at hand, however difficult it may appear to be. Tero appreciates his colleagues’ solution-centred and energetic work attitude and assumes this stems from the company’s workplace atmosphere.
The employees’ well-being is supported by a comprehensive package of occupational health services. The working hours are flexible, enabling people to complete their studies during employment, for example. The workplace atmosphere is relaxed, pleasant and encouraging.
Key Account Manager
Elcoline was one of the main contractors participating in SSAB’s blast furnace 1 periodic maintenance project at the company’s steel mill in Raahe, Finland. The installation contract consisted of a partial sheath replacement for the furnace including the required plumbing jobs on the cooling system. There were demanding jobs to do during the disassembly and installation phases. The project’s successful implementation was based on advance planning, work safety and the work of a professionally competent team.
A steel mill’s soul and heart is the blast furnace whose functional capacity must be verified by means of an overhaul project at an interval of 10–12 years. In periodic maintenance, any worn-out sections of the blast furnace sheath are to be replaced, including the required cooling system components, and the fireproof furnace linings, among others. SSAB wanted to use a project implementer with previous experience of heavy industry repair and maintenance projects, as well as the capacity to conduct extensive projects without compromising on quality.
– Periodic maintenance is always extremely important for us since everything at a steel mill starts from the blast furnace. It was crucial to keep everything on schedule as any extended production break immediately affects the final production volume at our Raahe Steel Mill, says SSAB project manager Jarmo Naula.
Appropriate advance planning is the key to successful project implementation, and their investment focused on it. In addition to planning the various work phases, resources and the schedule, for example, preparatory work was done on the blast furnace surroundings, and on the equipment installed in the prefabricated blocks, in early 2019. Preparatory work and equipping the components for installation were essential matters, so as to enable the safe and timely installation of the components weighing some 20 tonnes.
– We were highly satisfied with Elcoline’s capacity to plan the various work phases in a fashion that allowed us to work smoothly to schedule throughout the actual maintenance shutdown. We had total control of everything at all times, and any encountered challenges could be resolved without delay. In view of the end result, I think a good worksite atmosphere is the key factor. There were no problems in communication, and the morning site meetings promoted openness and cooperation. This allowed us to focus on essential matters.
Never compromise on work safety
Work safety is of primary importance in SSAB’s business, due to the fact that a steel mill is an extremely exacting work environment: there are numerous installation jobs carried out from scaffolding, the risk of burns or falling items, and tasks to be done with the process partly in operation. You simply cannot compromise on work safety issues.
– Elcoline’s work safety competence is of a very high standard, and their processes function in practice, not only on paper. Elcoline has familiarised itself with work safety matters on a versatile basis, and they had also chartered the project’s potential risks carefully in advance. The work methods and safety instructions were reviewed accurately and the safety procedures monitored and reported as required.
SSAB was also satisfied with Elcoline’s work in other respects during the project.
– The project management team had everything under control. They had good supervisors and a competent team of mechanics. It was easy to see that they had invested appropriately in the required project resources.
At the forefront resolving industrial challenges
Jarmo Naula has been collaborating with Elcoline for a long period, and his view of the company’s competence is based on experience. As he sees it, Elcoline is a continuously developing partner with the capacity for regeneration.
– In my view, Elcoline is a spearhead company in the field. They want to be among the very first to rise to current challenges, and the solutions they offer are of a new type. Their design includes 3D technology, for example, which means that the installation images are available in various forms, not only on paper. I also regard their personnel composition as a suitable combination of acquired experience and young expertise. In a team of experts from various fields, professional competence can be exploited with maximum effect and all members have a chance for personal development.
Project: SSAB Raahe, Finland, Periodic Maintenance on Blast Furnace #1
Planning and implementation: Q1-Q2 2019
Advance planning: work phases, resources, logistics, schedule, and any preparatory installation jobs
Maintenance shutdown: work management, measurements, installation and welding jobs
Number of Elcoline personnel on the project: approximately 80 employees
“The machine shop and the staff’s new line of expertise help us provide more comprehensive services to our clients.”
Industrial maintenance service provider Elcoline Group keeps growing at a brisk pace, acquiring power plant boiler manufacturing, installation, and maintenance enterprise SVS Supervise Service Oy. As a result of faster-than-projected organic growth and this acquisition, Elcoline’s sales will exceed 30 million euros this year, and the company will soon employ over 300 people. The merger means that Elcoline’s service profile will now include power plant boiler manufacturing.
2018 National Entrepreneur Award winner Elcoline Group seeks rapid growth both organically and through several acquisitions. The company’s goal is to grow, reach a revenue of 100 million euros, and create 300 new jobs in Finland over the next five years.
“Our clients want more comprehensive service packages and to work with large, reliable enterprises. SVS Supervise Service’s expertise and the machine shop in Voikkaa are the ideal addition to our services. This deal ushers us to the next echelon of expertise and enterprise size in terms of, for example, industrial standstill situations,” says Elcoline Group CEO Leif Backman.
SVS Supervise Service is a well-established business with a long history in Finland’s Kymenlaakso region, and the company’s major clients include power plants in Southern Finland and the area’s paper industry. The SVS acquisition promotes Elcoline’s presence and business in the Kymenlaakso area and provides the company with a new service line in boiler manufacturing and maintenance.
“Maintenance processes by and large include repairs and installing new equipment. An active machine shop gives us more control over the whole delivery chain. Our clients benefit from these full-service deliveries in terms of quality, faster processing, and savings through reduced costs. At the moment, SVS’s machines and production lines serve those who need boilers, but we’re already looking into expanding these operations to new lines of service,” explains Backman.
SVS Supervise Service will continue operations under their established brand as part of Elcoline Group.
Elcoline is gaining momentum on the recruitment front
Elcoline’s and SVS’s complementing services and operational environments made for a smooth merger. A founding member of SVS, CEO Markku Korpivaara also notes that a search for someone to keep the company in action has recently become relevant.
“I am very happy to see that our operations will continue together with a steadily growing enterprise in Elcoline. We complement each other well, and this opens up new avenues of growth for us. It’s also worthwhile to note that Elcoline has been very successful in building their employer profile, which can be seen in easily achieved hirings in a challenging industry,” says Korpivaara.
To Elcoline, recruitment is one of the company’s core processes. There is a strong effort to invest in employees by providing a good range of training and career opportunities. A lot of attention is given to finding the most skilled people and persons with significant potential, as Elcoline is committed to creating 300 new jobs by 2023.
“Competent people make for a successful company. It’s one of our passions and an honor to help skilled people grow and advance in their careers. Elcoline is constantly developing employees’ skill sets, and this acquisition further expands possible career paths in Finland and abroad,” notes Backman.
Photo: Leif Backman (on the left) and Markku Korpivaara.
For further information:
Leif Backman, CEO
Tel. +358 43 824 3460
SVS Supervise Service Oy
Markku Korpivaara, CEO
Tel. +358 40 526 1695
Established in 2002, Elcoline Group is an industrial maintenance and contracting enterprise. The company provides, for example, electrical and automation installations, HVAC installations, instrumentation, welding services for pressurized pipelines, mechanical maintenance, and design and consulting services for the aforementioned fields. The group’s operations are divided into four operative subsidiaries: Elcoline Plant Service Oy, Elcoline Construction Oy, Elcoline Piping Oy, and Elcoline Oy. Clients include international industrial enterprises in mining, the chemical and petrochemical field, pulp and paper, electricity generation, the maritime industry, metal, and construction. The company employs over 200 professionals at contract sites across the globe. In 2018, Elcoline’s turnover was around 20 million euros.
Operating from Voikkaa in Kouvola, Finland, SVS Supervise Service Oy is company specializing in manufacturing, installing, repairing, and maintaining industrial boilers’ pressure parts since 1996. The enterprise has a wealth of experience, wide-ranging expertise, and a comprehensive selection of machines to handle any kind of work within the industry. SVS’s clientele consists of Finland’s energy industry’s largest plant suppliers, power plants, and major producers of paper, cardboard, and pulp. The company’s products and services are used all over the world. SVS employs 60 professionals and has a turnover of over 6 million euros.
The Elcoline Group launched an issue of shares addressed to potential new investors in April 2019. Jarkko Veijalainen and Marko Sjöman, the founders of 3 Step IT, were among the new investors. Their company is a Finnish trailblazer in the circular economy. This issue of shares supports Elcoline’s strategy for growth and provides the company with new business competence.
– Elcoline is a company with a solid service expertise and the will to develop their customer relations and personnel competence in a high-quality manner, which reminded us of our own successes and challenges during the various phases of growth on our entrepreneurial path. It was the conversation we had with the founding entrepreneurs and the new CEO that confirmed our intention to participate and assist in Elcoline’s grow, says Jarkko Veijalainen, one of the founders of 3 Step IT and the company’s board chairman.
Investors support the five-year strategy
The new investors are a concrete step towards the implementation of Elcoline’s five-year strategy that was published in the autumn of 2018. The company’s objectives include providing jobs for 1,000 employees and achieving a turnover of 100 million euros within the next five years.
– Mr. Veijalainen and Mr. Sjöman are truly experienced business experts who will provide the company with new expertise, in addition to their capital investment. Their competence will help Elcoline reach its objectives for growth, and develop the company’s business and the board’s activities, says Leif Backman, Elcoline’s newly appointed CEO.
According to Elcoline’s observations, the clients’ acquisition behaviour is changing within the industry, and companies increasingly want to centralise their service acquisitions.
– We want to be an active player that develops state-of-the-art operating models and entirely new digital solutions for the needs of industrial clients. Investors provide us with new resources that enable us to offer an increasingly comprehensive service palette with a single point of access.
Hunger for growth unifies
3 Step IT and Elcoline have similar elements in their development stories. Both started as small-sized enterprises, have met with difficulties, and have set demanding objectives for their growth and development. Mr. Veijalainen says that one of his rules of thumb is to always have the courage to take a risk that could consume the entire annual result if everything failed.
He is also one of the founders in Growth Collective Finland. Growth Collective Finland is a movement that consists of globally successful Finnish companies, such as Supercell and Kemppi, and its operations are based on peer sparring teams. Elcoline is a member of this collective.
– We have received support from the collective for this demanding growth objective of ours – to increase our turnover fivefold within the next five years. We have faith in ourselves, and it appears that so do the others as well, since a number of leading edge investors have joined Elcoline, Mr. Backman is pleased to say.
New Elcoline CEO Leif Backman, who will be transferring from Kesko in mid-April, is already firing on all cylinders. Despite the change in industry, Backman, who led Kesko’s K-Kampus project, is still focused on creation and building. The bar has been set high at Elcoline, and the journey to 100 million in sales means that there will be no shortage of hard work. Backman trusts that Elcoline’s future will be a bright one, thanks to the exceptional drive and team spirit within the company.
Backman has followed Elcoline’s journey with intrigue for the last five years.
“I met Jere Räisänen at University of Jyväskylä, where we were both EMBA students. I was impressed by Elcoline’s goal-driven approach, enthusiasm, and determination.”
According to Backman, the road to growth requires the whole team to adopt new ways of operating in order to make everything work on a larger scale. In addition to organic growth, business acquisitions will play a key role in the new strategy. Backman has 26 years of experience in entrepreneurship and international business over a range of different vantage points. One of his strengths is his experience in mergers and reorganization of business.
People Are the Number One Factor in Achieving Success
Backman believes in methodical planning and systematic execution in his work. Once a plan is set in place, committing to its execution is essential. However, people always come first.
“People are by far a company’s greatest resource and factor in achieving success. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to a successful merging of operational cultures during reorganization. The staff at Elcoline is highly competent. The atmosphere and spirit are excellent, and this field is rife with opportunity. There are also many processes that we can develop further. Through an innovative workplace culture and teamwork, we can achieve a great deal together.”
Backman describes himself as a fair, goal-oriented, and delegatory leader. As a person, he is analytical, innovative, and a visionary of sorts.
“One of my main motivators is constantly developing operations further. I want to—and know how to—inspire people to reach common goals.”
Backman’s plan for the (in)famous first 100 days of leadership is to get well-acquainted with the people and the operations.
“When I’m well aware of the operational culture, I can assess which operations and leadership procedures should be improved. My approach is participatory, meaning that I want to include people in developing our work. I hold careful task prioritization and clear roadmapping in high regard.”
In his spare time, Backman can often be found at the sidelines of a football field.
“Our 16-year-old son plays football competitively, so we, the parents, are naturally there to drive him around, cheer him on, and cover the expenses. Exercise is important to me as well. I like to play golf, jog, and hit the weight room. I’m also quite social, and my friends mean a lot to me. Traveling and spending time with friends and family are good ways to invite positive energy into your life, I think. I also like to read as much as I can, often about personal development and leadership. My interest in people might explain why I tend to gravitate towards biographies. I think the last one that I read was Elon Musk’s—it was truly an inspirational read.”