Affecto has developed the new data management system for Stora Enso’s Imatra Mills. The production is now managed through integrated data derived from a single source instead of gathering information from several places.

Stora Enso’s Imatra Mills occupy a site with an area of 350 hectares. Among other things, there are four board machines, one paper machine, three coaters, a power plant, a wastewater treatment plant and a port. About 1,300 people work at the site on a daily basis.

A couple of years ago, a project was launched to replace reporting on mill site operations and related decisionmaking procedures by a business analytics and information management system, a reform that will be reflected on the daily lives of all workers.

Fragmented information

The Imatra Mills have in place a range of mill systems, none of which provides a comprehensive picture of on-site operations. Much of the reporting has been of the silo type whereby the figures are analysed separately, for example in terms of production, personnel, finances, supply chain and quality. The reports consisted of Excel spreadsheets and curves prepared using data retrieved from the individual systems.

As a result, business management and decision making were extremely difficult because of the fragmented nature of the data. Aside from the management, the mill personnel hungered for information on mill operations derived from a single source.

“Problems were encountered already in preparations for meetings – data had to be scraped together from several places and you were never sure whether the information required in support of decision making was up to date,” says Quality and Development Manager Mikko Mäkinen from Stora Enso’s Imatra Mills.

A single view

The project to renew procedures was begun in 2011 under the supervision of the Mill Manager. The first areas to be harmonised were the saving of data and KPI reporting in Excel format. This created a basis for subsequent determined steps towards centralised and standardised reporting. Even so, the input data were still scattered across several systems.

The objective set for the new reporting system was that all the mill performance indicators were to be displayed in a single view. At the same time when developing the indicators, Imatra Mills created the basis for a new management system. The task to develop the system was given to Affecto.

“We were impressed by the personal skills and competence of Affecto’s project manager and his ability to clearly explain how the new system would be created.”

The project was kicked off with a proof of concept demonstration prepared by Affecto presenting the system functionalities. This was followed by definitions: the most important KPIs that were to be displayed on the desktop. Next, the sources of data were identified and links to the relevant systems created.

“While some of the data could be generated automatically, for many systems it was necessary to build an intermediate layer database providing the link to the KPIs on the desktop.”

The backbone of the system is the SAP Business Objects tool. To users, the desktop containing the indicators is visible as a web-based user interface.

The indicators, reports and views of mill operations are integrated into the mill data system, which makes it available to all on the desktop. Office employees are able to log onto the system via the office network.

Better management

As a result of the development project, Stora Enso has been able to discard Excel spreadsheets. The Imatra Mills are managed with the aid of integrated information accessible to all employees.

At the same time, monitoring is increasingly moving away from measuring performance towards measuring operations. This helps replace backward-looking reporting with real-time, even predictive management.

“Previously, we learnt about things like accidents afterwards. Now we carry out risk analyses, engage in predictive safety monitoring and take determined steps to raise the employees’ health and safety awareness. For all these we now have specific indicators that help us reduce accidents in advance.”

The same approach is applied to the management of all other mill processes.

Information for all

“All employees have access to the same figures and indicators except for financial indicators, which are only available to the management and financial administration.”

The employs see not only the figures for the mill as a whole but also for individual departments and production lines. The information has the greatest impact on performance when it is close to the operations.

“Our philosophy is to steer all mill operations through business analytics and information management. It means that each employee has access to a view of mill operations to the extent it affects his or her own work.”

The new reporting model and indicators are part of the renewal of the management policy at the Imatra Mills.

“In 2014, we’ll have in place a reporting system that supports this approach to management.”

Cooperation with Affecto will continue in the context of further system development.

“Affecto’s experts understand the business we’re engaged in and the environment in which we operate. They have good inter-personal skills and are able to identify solutions that suit us best.”