Loiste acquired the ALMA system for better asset management and maintenance

Maintenance and Service
Warehousing and material management
Technical documentation and management
Loiste is a nationwide energy group with roots in Kainuu. When Loiste wanted to catch up with modern work management, the Group arranged a tender and acquired Vitec ALMA's asset management and maintenance system.

The services offered by Loiste to its customers include power supply, district heating, and network monitoring. Energy is mainly produced from domestic fuels and by hydropower and wind power. Loiste’s equipment and real estate typically constitute long-term investments, and continuity is valued in partnerships as well.

Why Loiste decided to choose the system offered by Vitec ALMA? After all, there were many other candidates.

- For us, the most important argument was the flexibility and customizability of the system. We had some absolute requirements inevitable from the viewpoint of our operations, in connection with standards utilisation and reporting, among others, and ALMA excelled with these. Another important thing was the possibility for almost real-time monitoring of outsourced work processes. Monitoring workflow through the system worked well from start to finish, this streamlines decision-making and limits misunderstandings. As the third reason, I have to mention ALMA’s mobile features, owing to which the system can be used altogether independently of place and time, says Antti Lappalainen, Development Manager at Loiste Group.

- Sometimes we use the IT system, sometimes our subcontractors. The works to be recorded typically include inspections, maintenance and troubleshooting, installations, and all kinds of preventive maintenance. The updated information is available in full from the same system, so all of us are aware of maintenance events and the current condition of Loiste’s property. Discussions with the partner network are easy if everyone is on the same page, Lappalainen continues.

Co-operation in tendering ends in the same winner

Co-operation is commonplace on the Kainuu energy market. The City of Kajaani is among the owners of both the Loiste Group and Kainuun Voima Oy, which means that people employed by the companies operating in the same region know each other due to ownership arrangements. Last year, Antti Lappalainen from Loiste happened to discuss maintenance issues with Mika Paakkari, Operation Manager at Kainuu Voima.

- We acknowledged that we need an IT system of the same kind for both companies. However, both companies had their special needs, and thus the tenders were arranged separately. Mika and I benefitted a lot from being able to discuss different options and compare the solutions offered. In the end, both of us ended up with the information system offered by Vitec ALMA, says Lappalainen.

The tendering procedure was carried out in spring-summer 2019 and the procurement decisions were made in autumn 2019. During the summer of 2020, the commissioning project will be completed and the entire system will be introduced in the autumn at the latest. Loiste utilizes ALMA in the maintenance and asset management of substations, district heating networks, and production facilities.

Improved resource targeting and cost savings

At present, the system has about 40 users, but the user count will increase in the future. New features are being added to the system. For example, stock management is one of the new system solutions already agreed on.

- An overview of maintenance and asset management is now conveniently at our disposal. At the same time, our mandatory regulatory reporting is greatly facilitated. Even though maintenance and asset management are not exactly rocket science, they consist of a great number of diverse and individual data elements. Based on these data, we can improve the targeting of our resources to the exact right places, which will lead to cost savings through improved efficiency, Lappalainen notes.

- The most important and pivotal benefit is that an installer working in the field can now do his or her work more efficiently than ever. With the help of the system, the installer always has all the necessary information at hand.

In Finland, the Loiste Group has more than 200,000 customers and electricity grids in Kainuu and Northern Ostrobothnia. The Group employs more than 60 energy professionals who closely co-operate with an extensive network of partners. In 2019, the combined turnover of the companies in the Loiste Group exceeded 156 million euros.