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Project management is teamwork

VEO is a project house where projects are done extensively within three dedicated units: Power Generation, Power Distribution and Industry department. VEO has an average of 300 ongoing projects throughout the year. The scope of these projects varies from individual device deliveries to large power plant complexes. Successfully managing this package requires precision from the entire organisation.

Good planning is half the job done

Every project starts with a common understanding within the project team as to what is being done. It is incredibly important that the whole team understands the scope of the project, the specific needs of the customer, the schedule, the budget and other details agreed with the customer. This ensures that the project immediately sets off in the right direction.

“At VEO, a project start involves a lot of meetings with different configurations; a handover sales meeting between the sales team and the project manager, an internal meeting between the project manager and the project team, and a separate meeting with the customer. As the saying, ‘well-planned is half done’ suggests, the project start-up phase at VEO includes a wide range of plans, including basic product design and site work planning, documentation, resourcing and scheduling,” says Jim Andersson, Head of Project Management at VEO’s Industry department.

The right devices create a functional whole

Once all the plans are clear, the project can be taken forward. The next significant step is the procurement of the necessary equipment and parts, which can come either from VEO’s factory or from external suppliers.

“The functionality of individual devices is key to the success of the whole project, and therefore both the manufacture of the devices and the progress of the entire project are closely monitored with various tools. The project manager keeps both the implementation team and the customer constantly aware of the status of the project and monitors existing risks and opportunities,” Andersson continues.

Even though plans will have been carefully made, changes still occur in almost every project, followed by unexpected risks. Change management and technical problem-solving capability are, therefore, critical parts of project management. Thus, VEO has invested heavily in these areas during the last couple of years and will continue to invest in them also in the future.

“The performance of finished equipment is always checked with FAT tests, in which customers often participate. Once the customer has accepted the inspection in all respects, the project can proceed to the delivery and installation on site.”

Every project is a learning opportunity

When all the installations have been completed, an SAT, or Site Acceptance Test, is performed to ensure that the unit is working as planned. After the customer’s approval, responsibility for the whole project passes from VEO to the customer. With VEO, the warranty period starts immediately after the handover, which, according to agreement, is usually valid for 1–5 years.

Since the customer is the number one priority at VEO, a customer satisfaction survey is always sent after the handover, so we can discover just how well we succeeded.

“At the end of a project, VEO’s project team also meet internally to review the success of the project. With the help of the project summary and results from the customer satisfaction survey, we will be able to improve our service further, learn from possible mistakes and share successes. All this information is a great benefit to us in our future projects,” says Aleksi Peltola, Head of Project Management in the Substation segment.

Cooperation and open communication play a key role

The project manager has the main responsibility for projects. In this job, the ability to hold many strings simultaneously is vital. The project manager acts as a link between all parties involved in the project and is responsible not only for meeting the demands of the customer, but also for internal management; for the profitability of the project, for example. The role of the project manager is, as it were, the managing director of the project.

The project manager’s right hand is the lead engineer, who is responsible for the technical solutions of the project. In particular, the work of the lead engineer requires an understanding of the project as a whole. As such, the lead engineer plays a crucial role in change management, among other important tasks.

“While the project manager, as well as the lead engineer, have an important role to play, they cannot succeed alone. Because the greatest things are always achieved together, cooperation is one of VEO’s most important values. At VEO, everyone proudly manages their part and makes sure that the next person in the chain has the best possible tools for the job at hand,” Peltola explains.

“We also make sure that no one is left alone. We have extensive experience in both project management and technical solutions in the house. Rarely does a situation arise that nobody has experienced before or knows how to act on. Thus, we always encourage open discussion and asking for help,” Andersson adds.

Flexibility and adaptability are VEO strengths

At VEO, projects are always made according to the customer’s exact requirements.

“Every project and solution we make is unique. This means that our most important task is to listen, internalise and implement the customer’s wishes as accurately as possible,” says Peltola.

Flexibility and tailored solutions to the customer’s specific wishes are VEO’s trump card.

“Strong technical know-how and the expertise of our designers ensure that we are not tied only to our products. If necessary, we can utilise components from any supplier in our projects. The most important thing for us is that the customers get what they need,” Andersson sums up.