Due to the nature of Empower’s business, one of the key sustainability themes is procurement sustainability.
It is important for Empower that each partner of the company is committed to maintaining the highest legal and ethical standards in their business practices. Empower also sees to this by auditing its partners regularly. Inspection visits conducted under mutual understanding are a good means for developing operations and identifying shared interests.
CASE: Vendor audit to the supplier of pylons
Empower operates in crucial areas of society. Therefore, the quality and safety of operations are important strategic priorities.
– The suppliers of materials and services are part of Empower’s service chain, and so we make sure they meet our criteria. We categorize our suppliers according to their business, sustainability and information security needs. Our suppliers must meet the requirements of Empower’s Supplier Code of Conduct and The Subscriber’s Accountability Code. Depending on the classification, we carry out a wide range of audits, such as HSEQ® (Health, Safety, Environment, Quality), industry-specific auditing and so-called UPA auditing (Safety audit made by Finnish Centre for Occupational Safety), says Veli-Matti Sääski, Procurement Director at Empower.
Baoding Mast Import & Export Company Limited (BMC) was established in 1998 in Quanzhou City, South China. Their main products are pylons and masts. Empower carried out an audit at their factory last summer when the collaboration started. In this way, we verified the standard of products, production, operation and quality system of our important new supplier.
The manager Mr. Niu Hanjun from BMC is satisfied with the cooperation.
– It is our pleasure to be Empower’s supplier. We have ISO 9000 quality system and CE certificate in our company. Empower's supplier audit for us is an honor for us. Empower is one of most important clients to us. We will do our best to improve our service and quality in the long run so that we can be a reliable supplier to Empower, says Niu Hanjun.
Empower has systematically invested in R&D and created technological innovations related to safety and optimal production.
In 2018, Empower accelerated its IoT technology development by acquiring real-time measuring technology solutions developed by TreLab. The acquisition strengthened Empower’s digital solutions for industry and led to the development of new services utilizing the IoT technology. Our digital products contribute to the sustainability of our customers’ business.
During 2018, Empower created five new MVP products, and development teams continue to work on several ideas – the company’s target for 2019 is to find 200 new ideas supporting sustainable development. In addition, Empower’s own R&D activities adopted the Agile model and related work methodologies and the supporting infrastructure was taken into use throughout the entire Group. Our profound energy sector expertise is in high demand and we participate in the coordination of both national and international development projects related to the transformation of the energy sector.
CASE: Energy flexibility – a tool for responsible use of energy
The Energy Authority, a promoter of the functionality of the Finnish electricity market, chose Empower to investigate the impact of a 15-minute imbalance settlement period on the various actors in the electricity market and to create guidelines and a timetable for the possible transition to the finer time resolution. Empower carried out the study in cooperation with Valor Partners. The study identified tools and evaluated potential problems and challenges and their impact on the implementation schedule for the transition to a 15-minute imbalance settlement period.
The goal of the transition to 15-minute imbalance settlement period, instead of the current 1-hour period, is to get a more accurate price of electricity for 15-minute periods, as it is assumed to guide energy consumption and offset consumption peaks. It is also expected to shape the future demand and supply of energy. The transition to a 15-minute imbalance settlement period is expected to encourage companies to invest in new technologies. With the help of information and automation, energy consumption can be shifted on the basis of pricing and reduced during peak price times.
In the near future, the need for flexibility in energy markets will grow, due to the EU’s target of increasing the share of renewable energy production. In practice, this means that the amount of energy production that varies heavily according to weather conditions, such as solar and wind power, will continue to increase while more controllable energy production, such as thermal power production, will be removed from the market.
CASE: Responsible site management with Empower Digital Site
– We started the development of Digital Site a couple of years ago as we realized that documentation of IT spaces in particular is largely deficient or difficult to use. We considered the solution to be a 360° virtual tour, which we tested for the first time in documenting a server room located at Empower’s Harjavalta site, says Joonas Koivuniemi from Empower.
CASE: EmSightSDM makes monitoring easier at Stora Enso’s mill
Empower installed two EmSightSDM systems based on sensor technology at the mill in 2018. The intelligent product, developed by Empower for the measurement and optimization of production conditions, collects data with wireless sensors.