Business Site Narva Goes Green

In 2016 Business Site Narva will be purchasing 100 % of electricity produced by the renewable sources, mostly wind and hydro energy as well as biofuels - Green Energy. Business Site Narva received a Green Energy Certificate in November 2015.

​When buying Green Energy we can influence on the way electricity is produced, protect surrounding environment and promote the more efficient use of existing natural resources. Business Site Narva will help lowering the environmental footprint with less carbon dioxide emitted to atmosphere in electricity production.

To buy Green Energy is also in line with the ISO 14001:2004 goals.

Fortaco at Bauma 2016 - The Largest Trade Fair in the World

Fortaco will present its’ product and service portfolio at Bauma Trade Fair on 11 - 17 April in Munich, Germany. This is the 31st edition of Bauma – the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Construction Machinery – the ‘heartbeat of industry’.

Every third year the world's leading trade fair opens the doors for all branches of construction industry. At Bauma you can experience the industry in its’ entirety, the new significant developments with the leading manufacturers and the key players and experts in the construction area. Building materials, construction vehicles and equipment as well as mining machines being at present.

In 2013 the exhibition space was 575,000 m², more than 3,400 exhibitors participated from 57 countries and more than 535,000 visitors from 200 countries attended Bauma, just to name a few key facts showing the significance of this international trade fair.

Fortaco will be represented for the first time at Bauma in 2016. Please come and visit us in the hall A6, booth A6.508. We are looking forward to welcoming you there.

New Management System Certificates to Fortaco

Fortaco Group and Business Sites are working according to standard requirements.

New Management System Certificates issued by DNV - Det Norske Veritas.

New certificates are replacing the previous ones and they are valid until 30 September 2018.

ISO 9001
ISO 14001
ISO 3834-2
OHSAS 18001

Operational Excellence - making tomorrow better than today

At Fortaco, Operational Excellence means making tomorrow better than today. The company’s Director of Operational Excellence, Andrzej Wrona, strives to cultivate a culture in which improvement is a part of all employees’ daily work. “We are building a mentality of zero defects and bottom-up commitment. Our development projects are always made with the people, not to the people. We want our people to be hungry for improvement,” he explains.

For Fortaco’s customers, “better” means faster and more affordable solutions. Other benefits that have also been gained through Operational Excellence are better predictability in delivery times, proactivity through mapping customer value and also more efficient cooperation and knowledge sharing between customers and suppliers. “Our customers, being lean companies themselves, look for lean managed partners to work with. Standing still is regression. This is by no means an option for us,” Andrzej notes.

The five dimensions of Operational Excellence

Fortaco achieves a better tomorrow by following its Operational Excellence framework, which covers five different dimensions: We Will, What and Why, End to End, We Know How and Lean Leadership.

The first dimension, We Will, is about engaging people and aligning them with the common goals. We strive for perfection, and our employees have a significant role on this journey. Therefore they need to understand what we do, get more and more knowledge and apply it in their real working environment. Everyone should have two jobs: daily operations and improvement tasks.

The second, What and Why, focuses on deploying the strategy and making sure all know what is expected from them. Recorded performance is regularly compared with the dashboards of selected key performance indicators (KPIs) to secure immediate actions, in case performance does not meet the assigned KPIs.

The third dimension of the framework, End to End, targets attention to customers' needs instead of managing through the department silos. It includes the value stream management, which is accomplished by determining, which processes are delivering the kind of value customers are expecting by interviewing them.

The fourth dimension, We Know How, focuses on having the necessary tools and techniques that enable the fulfilment of the business targets. There are multiple examples of successful application of different tools across Fortaco. For example, the change over time was reduced in Narva, Jaszbereny and Wroclaw Business Sites.

Last but not least, the fifth dimension is Lean Leadership. At Fortaco, everyone is encouraged to think through what can be done to improve individual jobs. At the end of last year, Operational Excellence assessments were conducted on each business site, and as a result individual lean roadmaps were created for each site. “We did not want a top-down Group plan, but made-to-measure development programmes compiled together with the sites. This way, in a year’s time, the sites can achieve what they themselves said they would achieve,” Andrzej explains.

Training the trainers

Fortaco is currently developing a Fortaco Academy concept, a suite of training programmes which build broad and common skills in critical operational areas throughout the company. Many of the Fortaco Academy programmes can be part of the personal growth and development plan. “Immediately after a compact theory section, participants are shown how the theory can be applied into practice and are asked to use their newly learned skills in actual work with the support of the trainer,” tells Andrzej. The active involvement of all employees in Operational Excellence work prevents the need to wait for a trainer to be available, as the trained personnel can now share their knowledge with other colleagues in their sites using their local languages. In addition, Fortaco can have one common lean language. Internal trainers are also well-trusted, as they are familiar with Fortaco’s story and operations.

Several development projects, such as the value stream mapping and machine efficiency improvements, are ongoing at Fortaco’s different Business Sites. Andrzej mentions a one-piece flow project in Janów Lubelski, Poland, with an End to End focus as a notable example. “We mapped the customer consumption of the goods and aligned the production line output accordingly. We ask our supplier to deliver parts only as needed in minimum quantities, which will lower our inventory level significantly. This is expected to increase productivity by 30% to 40% and will help us become more responsive to our customers’ needs.”

In terms of measuring the benefits of Operational Excellence, the tangible results of single projects contribute to the bigger picture. On the other hand, success does not come from counting cents. “I have seen companies in which the main purpose of development is saving money, but none of those companies have been successful in true lean transformation. I would prefer to let the right actions turn into the tangible results,” Andrzej states. This way, Operational Excellence efforts lead to a win-win situation for all parties – through improved customer satisfaction, and at the same time, make work more meaningful for employees.

Fortaco designed cabin for Beowulf

Our customer BAE Systems has launched a new vehicle called BEOWULF at the Defense Exhibition in London on 15-18 September. Fortaco is happy to announce that we have designed and supplied the front and rear cabins for the vehicle including the automation systems.

Beowulf can traverse through water, swamps, snow, soft sand and climb 45-degree slopes.
See vehicle in action.

Autumn is coming - it is time of Tampere Subcontracting Fair

The Subcontracting Trade Fair will take place on the 15th to the 17th September 2015 in Tampere Exhibition and Sports center. Last year's event had 16 900 visitors and 1000 exhibitors. It is one of the most important Subcontracting Fair in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

This Trade Fair is also important for Fortaco and we have good cases from the last year. The Fair was the start point for some new customers and products which are now coming in to production. Last year the new brand of Fortaco was launched for the first time in the expo and this year we will continue to strengthen it. We will be there as One Fortaco which will shape our customer's industry. All our business units are represented and our unique manufacturing skills and Eastern-European footprint will be clearly emphasized.

You can find us in our traditional place A630 in the main hall.

Certificate of Qualification

Fortaco Group is qualified in the Achilles Joint Qualification System as a supplier to the Oil Industry in Norway and Denmark.

Summer Greetings

Fortaco Team wishes all our Customers, Partners and Friends an excellent summer break.
The first half of 2015 has further strengthened our abilities together shape the business and relationship. The overall market offer uncertainties, but also strengthened opportunities.
Fortaco is looking forward to together continue developing the future!

Fortaco focuses on early involvement

Time to market is increasingly important and therefore it is vital to shorten the R&D phase and ensure the best possible cost structure during the process. Fortaco invests in product development and early involvement securing a cost-efficient and high-quality value chain for the customer.

“We support our customers throughout the whole journey – from the early phases to product launch and production,” says Janne Hihnala, Business Site Director in Fortaco’s Kalajoki unit.

Fortaco focuses on solutions and processes that ensure cost efficiency and high quality for the customer by providing, for example, the product design, welding, surface finishing, machining, sourcing and installation.

Fortaco started investing in product development together with customers several years ago.
“We are not just the supplier, but also the developer. This is how we are reshaping the way things are produced. We need to understand clearly what the customer wants. Having this understanding is the best approach to this business,” says Mihály Manasses, Business Site Director in Fortaco’s Jászberény unit.
For example, together with one of its customers Fortaco has formed a development group that constantly evaluates how to improve product quality.

“This is very important to us, especially with a valued long-term customer,” Mihály says. “Investing in product development with the customer does not instantly bring more money, but in most cases it brings continuity. We have received a lot of feedback from our customer that they are very content with our investment in development.”

Broad spectrum of expertise

Fortaco’s customers get solutions, service and products from Fortaco’s different business sites in Europe. Fortaco has a number of business sites in Europe representing distinct areas of expertise that vary from high quality product development to serial manufacturing.

“In Jászberény, Hungary and Narva, Estonia, for example, Fortaco is specialised in welding of high strength steels, while in Janów and Wrocław, Poland, Fortaco’s specialty is high- and mid-volume production of various welded structures. In Kalajoki, Finland, we have bigger and heavier products and projects related to power and nuclear applications,” explains Janne.

“The customer does not need to find out where in Europe to get a single product or service – we will find out what is the cheapest product chain. For the customer, there is only one Fortaco, even though we have operations in many countries in Europe,” says Janne.

“Our way of working always reflects our values; respect, simplicity and speed,” Mihály says. “For example in welding, which is my area of expertise, we possess deep knowledge about welding of normal and special steel and are well equipped to process heavy components and special technology like bending, rolling, machining and high quality surface treatment. We are unique in the business.”

When it comes to Mihály’s all-time favourite project, the answer is easy: “To build one customer-driven Fortaco!”

Fortaco manufactures electric buses with zero local emissions

Through its solid expertise in manufacturing and assembly as well as its broad network of subcontractors, Fortaco is transforming transport technology. Their partner is Linkker, a Finnish company which develops, sells and markets innovative city transportation.

“Production of electric buses developed by Linkker is an opportunity for us to be part of bringing pioneering technology into manufacturing,” says Jussi Malmi, Senior Vice President at Fortaco.
“We have long experience in bringing products into manufacturing, i.e. new product implementation. Our role is to take the Linkker plans into production and suggest improvements which bring increased efficiency or quality into the manufacturing process,” explains Petri Ängeslevä, Senior Project Manager and responsible for the manufacturing of electric buses at the Sastamala business site.

Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) has bought 12 buses from Linkker and Fortaco is responsible for the manufacturing and assembly. The first buses will be delivered at the beginning of 2016. Fortaco has started recruitment for its Sastamala business site and production should begin in autumn.

“Currently we are recruiting and planning the production set up, production phases, instructions and training and are also bringing all data into our systems and developing documentation,” says Petri Ängeslevä.

Quality on top

The process includes different areas of engineering, such as welding, gluing and the assembly processes. Thus the broad spectrum of expertise at Fortaco comes into use. The manufacturing and assembly includes everything from ensuring the availability of the required components on time, to taking care of the chassis, axles, surface plates, interior, paint and finish. One electric bus includes thousands of components, and purchasing knowledge is vital. Fortaco has its own Europe-wide purchase organisation and an extensive and skilled network of subcontractors, securing both timely deliveries as well as quality of components and competitive costs. As several of the same components are used in buses as in, for example, cabins assembled by Fortaco, there are synergies and high purchase volumes provide for cost efficiency.

Petri Ängeslevä stresses that the importance of quality can never be underestimated when it comes to vehicles designed to carry large groups: “We put great efforts on quality and have a good track record on this side. Managing the purchase chain is essential, you need a broad network and you need to know your suppliers’ performance regarding quality and ability to deliver on time,” Petri Ängeslevä emphasises.
Fortaco has solid experience in a range of machinery and vehicle manufacturing. Since the 1950s, machinery and vehicles for mining, construction, environment and military purposes have been manufactured in Sastamala.

“Our product life management system is at the top level and is well adapted to this project, securing documentation management when changes occur in the process during the product lifecycle,” says Petri Ängeslevä.

Building partnerships

“This project is very much about cooperation and partnering for development. On our side, we provide knowledge and competence in manufacturing and assembly and the network of a fairly large player. Also, the Sastamala business unit facilities are well adjusted for bus manufacturing. Together with Linkker we are working hard to make this a competitive product that succeeds on the market,” says Jussi Malmi.

Linkker is a Finnish company established in 2013 to commercialise the eBus project and has more than ten years of R&D background at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The market for electric buses is expected to develop rapidly and Linkker is currently marketing its solution internationally. Fortaco can grow its annual production capacity to 200 buses in Sastamala, and if the market demands, production can be even higher. Fortaco can also manufacture vehicles in two other assembly sites, Kurikka in Finland and Holíč in Slovakia.

“We are building the solution of the future as regards the environment, the economy and the city transport experience. We have strong confidence in the market potential of electric buses and believe that this is just the beginning,” says Kimmo Erkkilä, Managing Director of Linkker.