OSTP News & Blog
As we reach the halfway mark of 2023, we spoke with Anders Brännbacka, Digitalisation Coordinator at OSTP Group, to delve into the current state of digitalisation. We wanted to know if it’s all about ambitious and future projects like BEAST, or if tangible progress is already underway. Brännbacka promptly responded:
“There are already numerous projects in motion, with several more on the horizon. These initiatives are centred around automation and digitalisation, driven by our own employees who recognise the real advantages of leveraging new technologies and data to enhance processes and productivity.”
Brännbacka elaborated: “We have both large and small-scale projects, focusing on areas such as procurement processes, sales administration, quotations, invoices, maintenance systems, and even some in production. It’s truly exciting to consider the potential improvements that can make work more efficient and streamlined. Digitalisation and automation empower us to evolve our work practices and concentrate on areas where human expertise truly adds value. However, when we zoom out and look at the bigger picture, even though we’ve initiated numerous projects, there is still much ground to cover. Undertaking this transformative journey in our production-focused and traditional industry takes time and patience.”
Reinert Svensson, Managing Director at OSTP Örnsköldsvik shares his sentiments. “We recognise the vast possibilities within the realm of digitalisation and have ambitious plans to utilize them in order to excel at what we do. In Örnsköldsvik, we have ongoing projects, but we are still primarily in the initial stages of our automation and digitalisation journey. We are now actively building our organisation around these efforts. For individuals with the right expertise and an entrepreneurial spirit, this is the perfect time to join us and contribute to creating something new and impactful. Utilising data to make informed decisions and optimise production and processes is undoubtedly the way forward. We envision numerous opportunities for enhancing efficiency and sustainability, as well as improving the work environment for our employees, enabling them to truly apply their expertise where it matters. This is a long-term strategy and journey with limitless possibilities.”
Brännbacka, who not only serves as the Group Coordinator but also leads a development team of five in Jakobstad, added, “With our strategy guiding us, we are progressing step by step and witnessing encouraging results. This sparks creativity and inspires further ideas for improvement across various domains. Additionally, we are constantly learning through R&D projects like BEAST in Jakobstad, which is partially funded by Business Finland and NextGenerationEU. The positive outcomes from these sub-projects generate new ideas that we add to our list for future utilisation and implementation in our operations. I am confident that this will trigger a snowball effect.”
Svensson continued: “Being part of the OSTP Group is an advantage as there is an exchange of experience and knowledge between the different sites. With Anders as the Group Digitalisation Coordinator, I am confident that our local team will have an exceptional partner to guide them in future. The potential gains from cross-functional collaboration within the group are immense. Digitalisation and automation will undoubtedly play a significant role in our company’s future across various domains.”
Thomas Pettersson, MD OSTP Jakobstad, agreed: “We carry out development simultaneously onsite at a local level as well as at a Group level, learning from each other and creating solutions that, following pilots, can be rolled out throughout our entire business. Being part of a group and utilising the expertise and resources of the whole OSTP family is a strength. Our ambition is to become the most efficient and sustainable producer of stainless steel tubular products. While setting high levels of expectations and challenges, this provides a great opportunity to release the unexploited potential of our operation.
“While our Group Team for digitalisation serves as the core driving force on this journey, we also have highly committed employees, and a robust network of partners. For individuals like myself who are enthusiastic about building and fostering improvements and efficiency, we are embarking on an incredibly thrilling journey. In our industry, we have already taken substantial strides forward,” concluded Anders.
There are a number of automation and digitlization projects started and planned for.
The Swedish national organization for welding, ”Svetskommissionen”, met in Örnsköldsvik end of March to discuss welding and development. This year the focus was on the expansion in the North, competencies needed as well as welding of advanced materials and special methods. OSTP was one of the companies that the team visited this year.
Erik Poohl, IWE at OSTP and ÖMV, together with Mikael Boman, IWS, were hosting the visit at OSTP with around 70 members of Svetskommissionen from a variety of industries.
“The annual meetings with Svetskommissionen are always great and well organized. It is rewarding to exchange experiences and inspiration with others working within the same field. Welding as such has been around for a very long time, but we are continuously developing new methods and techniques. This is what is so interesting about this line of work,” Mikael Boman comments.
“Within OSTP Group we have worked a long time developing welding methods and this work is according to a wide range of welding certificates. We are very proud of both our welders and our products,” Erik Poohl says.
Mathias Lundin CEO at Svetskommissionen comments:
“We are happy to have held our annual meeting in Örnsköldsvik. Not the least considering the area’s great importance for the industry and the connection to our business. Fogningsdagarna this year included a very successful mini fair, interesting lectures and company visits. A special thank you to OSTP for hosting a visit that was very appreciated by our members who were also greatly impressed by the professional operations.”
OSTP buys Japrotek’s buildings and invests in a new production line – while digitalization points to the company’s future
OSTP in Jakobstad, Finland, is pushing into the future through significant investments. A new production line, more space and digitalization projects are all part of what’s going on in the company.
OSTP is developing to become even stronger and more sustainable, both as an employer and as a supplier of stainless steel pipes and fittings, which are used in the process industry and elsewhere.
“Our strategy leads the way in terms of productivity, flexibility and cost efficiency. Our focus is on data and digitalization, the processes around our working methods and our personnel. It is very important for us that our personnel feel good, develop and can work in a safe and secure way,” says Thomas Pettersson, Managing Director of OSTP in Jakobstad.
Room to grow – OSTP invests in new facilities
OSTP has invested in more space by buying the adjacent buildings that previously belonged to the company Japrotek.
“We are very pleased that Japrotek’s buildings will be part of OSTP’s property in the future. The need to secure more space has been present for a long time,” says Pettersson. “In addition to Japrotek’s buildings, the purchase also includes several machines that will be used within the OSTP Group. The buildings will be handed over in May.”
Pettersson continues, “Japrotek was originally part of OSTP but was sold in 1988. One could say that the circle is now closed, and it is particularly good to get back the ‘A-hall’, as it was previously called. The purchase of Japrotek’s buildings supports our strategy and allows us to optimize our operations, giving us the space we need for further growth.”
“This is a strategic investment for the future. We are therefore not in a hurry to fill the hall but will instead take enough time to plan and develop the best concept for us,” Pettersson clarifies. “The new building makes it possible to explore different scenarios to find an optimal layout that will support efficient production and logistics in the factory of the future. With an addition of over 6,000 square metres Iof production space and 8 hectares of property next to our current factory site, we are securing room for expansion in the future.”
New production line for elbows
Another major investment at OSTP in Jakobstad is the acquisition of an additional production line for stainless steel elbows.
“OSTP is already the leading producer of butt weld fittings in Europe, but with this investment we are further strengthening our position and securing opportunities for long-term growth,” Pettersson says.“The new production line will manufacture stainless steel elbows in diameters over 200 mm, an area where the current production capacity is reaching its limit. It will therefore come in handy while also opening up opportunities for further development of butt weld Fittings production.”
Development Manager Alfred Sjöholm, responsible for the implementation of the project, adds, “The project is challenging and interesting in that the level of automation will be high and provides the opportunity to develop new production technologies.”
The BEAST development project – a digital boost in a traditional industry
OSTP has also launched a comprehensive digitalization project, called Project BEAST. Introduced at the end of last year, the development means major investments in the company. The project is partly funded by Business Finland, an organization that supports the growth of businesses in Finland.
“By making data available to support integrated processes, the project means potential for improving efficiency and sustainability in our business model and operations,” says Anders Brännbacka, Operations Development Manager in Jakobstad and responsible for the entire project.
Managing Director, OSTP Jakobstad
OSTP in Jakobstad is developing and catching potentials in the business model and operations through new technologies and by making data available.
Project BEAST, consisting of six different projects, is partly financed by Business Finland.
We asked Anders Brännbacka, project manager and Operational Development Manager in Jakobstad, to explain what Project BEAST is about.
Project BEAST – what’s the target and what does it mean to OSTP?
– OSTP in Jakobstad will develop by making our operations more efficient through systems thinking, digitizing, integrating processes, making data available and last, but not least, new ways of working, Anders explains. It is targeting significant efficiency and sustainability improvement potentials in our business model and operations in Jakobstad.
Anders Brännbacka, Operational Development Manager in Jakobstad
Generally, this industry is quite traditional in controlling and steering operations. The processes are not very integrated, and data is not widely used. That leaves a big potential for efficiency improvements.
The included actions
Project BEAST is a comprehensive program with six different smaller work packages.
The projects enable data driven innovations, efficiency through automation technologies in the production, as well integrating the supply chain.
One of the work packages includes introduction of a new business model to foster the new growth and business logic in Jakobstad.
“To gain competitive advantage and to meet goals in emission reduction, one of the projects includes sustainability innovation, transparency, and future development, in line with sustainability being one of our core values.”
With support from Business Finland
Business Finland is an organization that promotes the sustainable development of Finnish companies through innovation financing. The organization helps companies to grow, developing solutions of the future and innovate business operations.
– The BEAST Project is partly financed through Business Finland from the European Union NextGeneration-fund for sustainability development in Finland. The project budget is 3,6 M€ and we have been approved a grant of 1,4 M€ through Business Finland.
The fact that Business Finland is participating and financing is great! They believe in OSTP, that we are an innovative company with a target to grow. This means that OSTP is a company, and an employer that is focusing on the future, Anders Brännbacka conclude.