Pipelife Finland – Digitalising business in the traditional HVAC industry

Case
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VTT has coached the digitalisation development of Pipelife Finland Oy using digitalisation analysis tools and methods. 

Pipelife Finland is one of the leading manufacturers and sellers of HVAC and electrical products in Finland. Their product portfolio includes plastic pipe systems, chambers, pumping stations, rainwater management solutions and waste water treatment systems , and electrical installation solutions.

Pipelife manufactures solutions for infrastructure, buildings and industrial needs. They also operate as a contract manufacturer of plastic products for many different industries. Pipelife Finland is part of the biggest ceramic construction supplies’ manufacturer in the world, Wienerberger AG.

A digital heart beats inside Pipelife

Within their industry, Pipelife has been an early adopter of digital tools and processes as they began exploring digitalisation already in 2009. 

Currently, Pipelife’s digitalisation is focused on optimising information flows in production, logistics, product information and customer processes and developing new digital services and monitoring solutions. 

VTT has coached the digitalisation development of Pipelife Finland Oy using digitalisation analysis tools and methods. The analysis showed Pipelife’s digitalisation status as well as the possibilities and challenges related to digitalisation. The analysis was created using VTT’s DigiMaturity, DigiSWOT and DigiTriangle tools (see www.apuadigiin.fi (in Finnish)). 

The mapping created a framework for Pipelife’s digital development, focusing on internal efficiency, seizing new external opportunities and making disruptive change in the business. 

Pipelife also began automating their processes with Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA is used to automate routine, repetitive work tasks. As a result, it releases human resources to more demanding customer service and specialist work tasks.

The DigiLeap project gave us a good understanding of our digitalisation status. The framework transforms a complicated phenomenom into a clear model that guides the assessment and development of digitalisation.
Marko Heikkinen, Chief Information and Marketing Officer, Pipelife Finland Oy

Even the mightiest oak sprouts from a small seed

Optimizing manufacturing, logistics, product and customer processes’ information flow and developing new, digital services are in the core of Pipelife’s digitalisation project. Pipelife has made several changes and improvements to their business by implementing a digital strategy and new tools.

As an example, they’ve developed a new monitoring service for pump stations that enables 24/7 remote monitoring of facilities. For Pipelife, it’s also a way to get into the digital services business. 

However, for Pipelife, the biggest potential of digitalisation lies in enhancing internal information processes. To create a better performing organisation, they have adopted digital log books and aligned their on-demand system with their ERP in chamber products. Several other proof-of-concepts to improve internal data flow are currently on-going. 

These lessons learned from Pipelife’s experiences in digitalisation should be helpful for other business as well. 

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