Kuopion Energia required a single system to handle everything maintenance-related
For a long time already, Kuopion Energia had acknowledged the need to harmonise maintenance systems, for the business operations of power grids, district heating and energy production. In practice, the situation was such that two of the units had reached the end of the road with the old system, and one unit did not have a system in use at all.
“We had a specific need for a new system in the energy production branch. The old system worked for some things, but in other aspects, it was very impractical. We also needed the new system to be very user-friendly, as it wasn’t always possible to find what you were looking for on the old system – at least not very quickly. For the past 10 years, we have invested extensively in the power plant, and there have been a lot of modern projects. All of their documentation is in electronic format. The old system was obtained in the 1990s, when it was still very much a world of paper. That has also put us in a difficult position,” said Markus Laukkanen, the maintenance manager of the Haapaniemi power plant.
Clear vision about the project – a successful result
As the mass of electronic documentation increased, Kuopio started having earnest discussions about the need for an update. The end result was that the new joint maintenance system would include three business branches, and it must include stock and material management as well as mobile functions, and the required commissioning services and integrations with other group systems.
One of the most significant cornerstones for the success of this project was systematic groundwork and needs analysis. It also helped with choosing a supplier: in the end, it was almost self-evident that it would be ALMA.
“We did a thorough requirement specification and overview. There were several supplier candidates, and we had more specific discussions with a few of them. It became clear quite quickly that ALMA understood us the best, and they were able to offer solutions that were perfect for us. They also kept discussing the details of the new systems with us, so that it would cover everything the field workers would need. They aren’t using desktop computers out there”, the ICT manager Jami Miettinen and Markus Laukkanen both stated.
Miettinen admitted that on the group-level, this project was IT-driven.
“We were looking for the complete package – that the servers and the terminals would work well, and that everything could have easy maintenance, and that information security issues would be dealt with. The district heating and power grid operations cover a large area. Likewise, the power plant is a huge area. The new system has to be suitable for all of them. The ease of the implementation was also very important!”
Getting things done, even after the project has ended
The project has now progressed to the normal operation stage at Kuopio, and everything is working as it should be. According to the feedback Miettinen has received, using the system is easy, quick and logical.
He also highlighted how during the first six months of the project implementation, there was plenty of flexibility all around.
“There are always small complications in projects, it’s just a matter of fixing them. However, ALMA kept all of their promises. The worst thing would have been to have to exclude some things we need. As the project progressed, ALMA always found a solution. There was a focus on getting things done. We have also already agreed on future meetings, and that the system will be developed further if we need new features, or if any practical issues have to be solved,” he summarised.
Both men were particularly pleased with the benefit for the entire Group:
"We got a single system with more total users compared to every business branch having its own system. This makes it a more extensive ecosystem. When there are more users in many units, the system can be developed and grown, to serve the needs of the entire company and of the individual employees better.”
Kuopion Energia’s project with ALMA started in summer 2016, and the new system was implemented in late 2016.
Text: Tia Härkönen
Picture: Kuopion Energia
Kuopion Energia produces electricity and district heat with combined heat production at their Haapaniemi power plants, and biogas at Pitkälahti. Kuopion Energia’s subsidiary, Kuopion Sähköverkko Oy, is responsible for the transmission of electricity. The group has about 50 000 electricity and about 6 000 district heating customers, and the Group employs approximately 160 people. Kuopio Energy Group as a whole is owned by the City of Kuopio.