Wärtsilians in Vaasa, Finland were among the first ones to hear the latest insights on the company’s digital transformation, as it moves forward on its journey towards a smart technology company. Vaasa Digi Week (31 January – 2 February) was full of presentations, workshops and opportunities for learning and sharing, ranging from Smart Technology Framework and DevOps to Robotic Process Automation and Advanced Analytics.
Digi Week’s goal was to increase awareness about what is going on in Wärtsilä and why related to digital as well as to inspire and motivate all team members to join the journey. Participants engaged in discussions, shared their knowledge and explored both the opportunities and challenges in the transformation.
Päivi Korpi-Halkola, who was the project manager organising the event, calls the week “hectic but rewarding”. During the three-day period, participants familiarised themselves with concrete examples of digital actions in businesses, piloted new ways of working and networked with fellow professionals.
One of the most popular workshop was Lean Coffee Pilot. There people could, with a hot beverage in hand, suggest topics for discussion, and then vote for the ones they found the most intriguing and have transparent and action-oriented discussions on the topics of choice. Participants were keen to hear various perspectives about, for example, the recruitment and training of digitally competent employees and the risks of data sharing.
Juha Päivike, co-facilitator of Lean Coffee, describes the workshop as a way to evoke discussion amongst people from different business areas in order to find fresh approaches as well as raise awareness of pressing issues in their departments.
“We wanted to test if the concept works in a factory environment, where there are people from production, product development, procurement and other support functions,” he tells. “Their daily work is very different from each other, so the starting point was hugely diverse.”
Päivike was happy to see how inspired participants were by the opportunity, which led to lively and fruitful conversations.
“At the moment, we’re looking into implementing Lean Coffee workshops to our operations permanently. In the coming months, we’re setting up the concept, aiming to make the event a regular occurrence.”
Another popular workshop was all about customers: Customer-driven ideation workshop for improving customer portal. Jenni Kuikka, one of the participants, tells that the workshop was dedicated to creating different ways for Wärtsilä to join customer journeys proactively instead of reactively intervening in times of trouble, particularly now that the company’s Online Services are about to be revamped.
“It was rewarding to learn new thinking methods, so that we can really re-evaluate and revise our current working methods,” Kuikka explains. “Instead of customers adapting to Wärtsilä’s processes, we are just as capable of adapting to those of our customers.”
Kuikka believes that enhancing the customer experience has a spillover effect on employer satisfaction, too. When customers get support at an early stage, their frustration levels don’t climb too high.
“Happy customers mean that we’ve done our work well,” she says.
Antti Tuomainen was one of the hundreds of Wärtsilians taking part in the week. For him, the three days offered a great opportunity to find out what digital really means.
“There still is a lot of confusion on what digital transformation is and how it affects one’s daily work now and in the future,” he points out. “The event was a good balance between high level strategic themes as well as more practical topics and examples of digital projects.”
Now, based on experiences of Vaasa Digi Week, the Digital Transformation team continues to plan similar events in other Wärtsilä locations throughout the year. In the future, Korpi-Halkola wants to demonstrate new ways of working and provide local business owners with opportunities to attend workshops about topical and important themes.
She points out that events like Digi Week are also a place for businesses to raise awareness of their development projects and plans.
“Our goal is to support and enable the implementation of new business strategies related to digital and offer a chance for innovation and ideation, as well as spread information about trends and new technologies,” she notes. “We also aim to boost the understanding and skill levels of different digital areas, changing the organisational culture towards ‘the new normal’.”