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Advancing sustainable fuel solutions with digitalization

Categories: Sustainable fuel, waste and biomass-based energy, renewable energy

Customer: BMH Technology Oy

Sustainable fuel is a crucial part of creating a sustainable future. BMH Technology strives to create a cleaner future by replacing coal with sustainable fuel solutions in the power and cement industry. Together with VTT, BMH wanted to harness the full potential of digitalization to reach that goal.

Making the most of digitalization

BMH Technology provides turnkey solutions and know-how for biomass and waste-based fuel processing. They provide their clients with everything needed for fuel production plants, from design to life-cycle services.

Today, BMH has delivered over 200 processing plants around the world and their solutions are estimated to have saved some 441 million tons of fossil CO2 emissions since 1980.

Their vision is to fuel a cleaner future. To fulfil this mission, BMH has collaborated with VTT for years in various research projects. The latest project known as the Value creator was launched to study new ways of creating value for BMH and its customers through digitalization.

Added value for customers and BMH

Digitalization and IoT have become common discussion topics even in traditionally conservative industries. But how can a company actually derive real business value from these trends? What are the customers really looking for? How can we create new value for them as well? Which R&D projects should be prioritized?

To answer these and many other questions, BMH launched the Value creator. It’s a growth programme aimed at discovering and developing new business from digitalization. The methods of the programme included extensive customer research, internal interviews and internal workshops, to mention a few.

 

We wanted to dig deeper into how we can use data and the latest technological advances, such as the industrial internet, to bring added value to our customers.

 Ville Hakanperä, Vice President of Technology, BMH

 

VTT was chosen as the partner in supporting BMH with their business and service offering development. “We have worked together with VTT successfully around these topics before, so it seemed only natural to turn to a trusted partner early on in the project. We were able to plan the entire project together and set up a joint steering group to run it.” Hakanperä continues.

Customer research at the core of development

It’s impossible to create new value, if you do not know what your customers want and need. That’s why the project included extensive customer research. VTT’s team conducted around 30 interviews in 16 customer companies in six countries: Finland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Thailand and China.

Key highlights
  • Deep customer understanding
  • Proposal of new digital service offering
  • Insight into the future
 

During the research it became clear that digitalization means different things for different people. This is why it was important to interview a wide audience from top leadership to managers on the field.

“We needed to hear from our customers themselves. Customer understanding is the key to improving and building new services,” Hakanperä explains. “That’s why VTT’s work was so valuable. They didn’t only interview but also processed and structured the results in a structured and insightful format.”

The customer research has provided a comprehensive, structured look into the state of digitalization among customers as well as their readiness and willingness to use new solutions. Based on customer interviews, BMH’s internal research results and VTT’s own expertise, VTT identified key development areas and made suggestions on how BMH should develop their service business in the future.

VTT also compiled a proposal of BMH’s new digital service offering and tested the offering with customer interviews. BMH can now invest in building new services and projects that are founded on actual customer needs and therefore more likely to succeed. 

Hakanperä is satisfied with the results of the project so far. “The biggest impact on our business that this project has had is probably that it has made us much more aware of the wants, needs and problems that our customers have. As an organization, we are now much more prepared to meet those customer expectations.”

External partner pushes the project forward

Even as the project draws to a close, the work itself continues. Insights from the interviews and from workshops are now being developed further internally.

Hakanperä praises VTT for its ability to challenge the customers. “VTT’s people have always been pushing us to focus on the business instead of just the technology. They have managed to get our organization thinking about the really big questions regarding the future of the industry and helped us answer them.”

 

It has really been valuable to have someone from outside of our own company pushing the project forward, making us think and discuss and structure and document our thoughts and ideas. Without the excellent and persistent sparring from VTT, we would not have reached the results we reached.

 Ville Hakanperä, Vice President of Technology, BMH

 

 

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