The value of information is materialised into profitability and euros only after information has been collected systematically and is easily accessible. If fragmented information is filed manually, a company's view of the future remains cloudy. It is already high time to become digital, Managing Director Petteri Torssonen of Collapick Company Oy in Joensuu says encouragingly.

Many Finnish SMEs are already at a good pace in making use of digitalisation. Digitalisation has given structure to how things are done, and made the company culture future-oriented. Technology has been harnessed as an efficient part of sales and marketing, an increasingly improved and agile customer service, operational efficiency and quality, which will ultimately lead into euros.

– Pioneers are the ones who are most likely to dare and try out new things. It is worthwhile to experiment: an industrial company can make significant improvements through small changes, Petteri Torssonen says encouragingly.

There is an urgent need for encouragement, as there has been little support for experimentation and possible failure in the Finnish operating culture.

– The situation is similar to that of a school child. We have learned that you should not raise your hand unless you know the answer. The same operating model is repeated in companies as well. However, if a company does not dare to experiment, definitely no progress will be made.

With foresight or compulsorily?

In many cases, changes only take place because they have to. Rather than being forced to, Torssonen recommends SMEs to stop on time and consider the fundamental questions:

– Do we want the company to be up and running after five years? What kind of changes are taking place in the operating environment? Is the company at all aware of how the trends in digitalisation will affect its activities in particular?

Based on Torssonen’s experience, it is likely that in a company with a “10-million turnover”, there is someone with enough time to consider the big picture of the business and the importance of digitalisation. For smaller companies, the situation is likely to be more difficult, even if the company is currently an important link in the supply chain of a large customer.

Ask a partner

It is good to contemplate on various matters with a knowledgeable partner. One such partner is Collapick, whose experts have accumulated an understanding of the industrial operating environment over the years.

“If a company doesn’t dare to experiment, definitely no progress will be made.”

– Success requires that customers describe their own processes, which provides access to the heart of the opportunities provided by digitalisation. The partnership that started with small and experimental cooperation is often expanded and deepened into new projects.

Torssonen feels that, from time to time, it is easier for companies to invest in machinery rather than in digitalisation.

– Machines are concrete, unlike the process of increasing the value of people’s work through digital practices. I have sometimes said that this digitalisation should be sold to the customer in a metal box.

Collapick was established in 2011. The company employs about ten experts of digitalisation. The customers come from various different industries, and the largest one is metals. Right now, the general discourse is mulling over a recession. According to Torssonen, however, talk about the declining economic situation does not slow everyone down.

– Many companies think that this is a good time to invest in the future and digitalisation. It is a means of ensuring that the company will continue to operate in the future.

Text: Sirkka-Liisa Aaltonen/Viestintä-Ässä