Founded in 1967, Aurajoki is a company specializing in metal coating solutions, industrial services, and structural steelwork. Its turnover is approximately EUR 28 million and it employs 170 people. The Aurajoki group factories are located in Aura, Lievestuore, Mikkeli, Pirkkala, Saarijärvi, and Turku, and in Daugmale, Latvia.
Aurajoki Group and Visionbay Solutions started their partnership for the deployment of the Business Intelligence (BI) service at the end of Autumn 2020. The deployment of the Huubia service for reporting was implemented in a few months, and the group's project forecasts were centralized in the service at early 2022.
For Aurajoki, the BI service enables the making of data-driven business decisions and management as well as related process development throughout the entire group. Visionbay's Huubia service is key to the solution. It creates a database to improve the operations of the group and a basis for profitable growth. Monitoring of production indicators was also included in the reporting.
“Every level of the organization has become increasingly aware of their own operations. Predicting the result will also improve when budget can be compared against the latest forecast, states CFO of Aurajoki Group Katja Ahti.
Reporting with Huubia provides figures and genuine knowledge
When Katja Ahti started working as a financial and administrative director in 2020, she received a request from the management to develop the group’s reporting. Excel-based reporting takes a great deal of time and there was an unnecessarily long delay before the business results were available. Business transparency was also a challenge.
“For example, variable costs are a major expense for us, but Excel report figures do not allow a deeper analysis for why this is the case. It is quite difficult to get results when you cannot see where each figure is coming from. With Huubia, we can view the account and receipt level, and no one needs to ask us in the financial department for this information separately”, describes Katja Ahti.
She states that Huubia has clarified and speeded up reporting significantly.
“Previously, the reports were only available in the middle of the following month. The sooner the information is available, the more valuable it is because there is time to react. This also frees up 2–3 workdays from us in the financial department since we no longer transfer figures to Excel workbooks and can use that time to actually analyze the results.”
Small steps, huge impact
Aurajoki started the BI process from a blank slate. There were many partners to choose from but discussions with Visionbay went smoothly from the start.
“We noticed that they were competent with BI but also insightful of the information needs of management reporting. We received excellent sparring with the deployment project when we were building our group structure in Huubia, for example. It was easy to have discussions with a partner that immediately understands what is being discussed, why something should be done, and what we want.
It was also immediately understood that there would be other needs in addition to basic reporting. Katja Ahti's advice is that a BI project does not need to be entirely planned out from the start. It is best to start from the need that you are first trying to address. The benefits are easier to measure in small details and other requirements will become apparent after deployment.
“Visionbay's service model works well because the elements of a system are supplemented according to the customer’s needs, which prevents the project from growing too large and difficult to manage. Because we lacked experience with financial BI systems, we could not initially even think of what we needed or how we could achieve it. Now, the solution is being customized according to our needs.”
However, even if the project is executed swiftly, organizations should be prepared for a great deal of work ahead.
“We have done things in a certain way for a very long time. Changing old habits was not simple, and our account grouping was not entirely logical, for example. The job came as a surprise for us, but it was something that we should have improved eventually. The BI project made it necessary for us to inspect our own operating model”, states Ahti.
Extensions such as energy monitoring have been added to Aurajoki's Huubia service throughout the project.
“We are working in an energy-intense sector. It is important for us to know what expenses are involved. The data found by Huubia will also help us to estimate energy consumption and related costs, even from an environmental viewpoint.
Predictive project management
Of Aurajoki's lines of business, only the steel construction business is fully implemented via projects. Visionbay had a specific solution for improving its management.
“Until now, the reports have been available, but only in the form of massive lists up to fifty pages long. They also lacked budget monitoring. The project reports allow us to view in real time what expenses and invoices are involved in a project. The system shows expenses per group, and everything is visible in relation to the project budget. Thanks to this, we can view the income and cash flow forecast by project, which allows us to see where the project is going.”
The steel construction business also utilizes a monthly forecast, where the project manager enters the invoicing and expense predictions to Huubia monthly.
“Huubia now offers a tool for project and customer managers which makes project management easier", states Ahti.
Huubia to support strategic goals
Aurajoki Group has been satisfied with the accessibility, speed, and transparency of Huubia. The service is used by approximately twenty persons. These include persons such as production, marketing, and sales managers working at factories. Huubia is also used by billers and the payroll clerk. Management has access to all the information.
“Using the service has also advanced our ‘Responsible Partner’ strategy, as information is easily available for everyone in real time, and we know exactly what the figures are formed of. This allows us to offer better services to our partners as well”, states Ahti.
“We can see that Huubia has a significant role with our group’s reporting and in achieving our strategic goals.”