At our 2018 Manchester conference Kari Terho, Head of Smart Factory Management at Finish company Elisa, explained how Elisa has been making its own factories smarter; sharing insights and first-hand experience about Elisa’s Industry 4.0 system.  We grabbed a few minutes with him to find out more about the company’s journey.

Elisa is the leading telecom provider in Finland but, in recent years, twenty-five percent of its revenue has come from IT services.  A big part of these IT services is factory digitalisation and Terho explains that Elisa has been delivering Industry 4.0 solutions to enterprise customers in Finland and the Nordic countries for the past five years.

“We are a huge factory ourselves, we have approximately five million devices in our network,” Terho says, “and we monitor everything in real time.  We analyse more than a hundred thousand transactions per second: every call, every data browsing, every visit to a website.  So we know what is happening in our network – and we know what will happen.”

In fact, Elisa is so good at knowing what will happen, 75 percent of all internal incidents were handled through its predictive maintenance programme before anything happened.

“What we are doing internally has real value and we are working to deliver that knowledge and experience to our enterprise customers,” Terho continues, “because every factory is wondering ‘how can I predict?’.  If an enterprise can predict 75 percent of all future incidents, its productivity will rise sharply.”

How Can I Predict?

Achieving this goal is a three-step process, says Terho.

  1. Data

Data is the starting point.  We need to collect data from the whole factory and make it visible.

  1. Understanding

Once we have the data, we can start to manipulate it, so we can understand why things are happening.  Why is there an unplanned stop in my production?  Why do I have material losses?  Where are they coming from?

  1. Prediction

Then, when you have that understanding, you can start to predict.  When you understand what is happening and why it is happening you can start to predict what will happen; to make anomaly detection and use machine learning tools.

Terho says there is a big appetite in his native Finland in this type of solution and the Industry 4.0 agenda.

“Gartner research has shown that 50 percent of Finnish enterprise customers are already using IIoT or smart systems.  By comparison, in the rest of the world that figure is only 25 percent,” he says.  “But the biggest different is that only 17 percent of Finnish enterprise customers are saying there is no need for Industry 4.0.  In the rest of the world, 40 percent of enterprises think there is no need.  So, in that sense, Finland is ahead.”

As a small, traditionally tech-savvy country that has grown some big tech brands, Finland has a strong track record in embracing new technology, and Terho thinks there is a cultural driver behind these high acceptance figures.

“We like to test new things,” he says, “When people say ‘you should do this because you can increase your productivity’ or ‘improve your cashflow’ the Finnish mentality is ‘ok, let’s try it’ and I think that is critical for speed and agility.”

Speed and Agility

Terho argues that, wherever you are, speed and agility are vital if Industry 4.0 projects are to succeed.

Rather than spending months wondering whether to do something or not, or paying consultants to ask those questions for you, Terho asserts the only way to achieve success is to test and test again.

“Don’t spend more than two or three months,” he says.  “Test it; run proof of concepts.  If it works, then scale it.  If it doesn’t work, do another test.”

It’s an approach Elisa has been putting into practice for the last seven years.  Despite delivering increasing data across its network over this time, the total number of incidents have come down and predictive maintenance resolves the vast majority of the rest.

The telecoms provider’s own Industry 4.0 projects are ongoing.  Terho makes the point that Industry 4.0 is a journey, not a destination: the opportunities for improvement continue.

Today, Elisa is exploring these future opportunities not only at its factory but through its work at the European 4.0 Transformation Center in Achen.  Elisa is the only Nordic company that partners with the center and Terho is on the steering group.

“German industry has invested and is investing €2 billion to building up digital transformation know-how,” he says, “and the 4.0 Transformation Center will play an important role in that – not just in Germany but across Europe.”

Elisa is adopting a similar approach in its own market; providing software solutions to Finland’s Universities for training purposes, so all of them can have an IoT and IIoT programme.  Terho says, “We’ve trained a massive amount of people on the platform we provide, so there is a big eco-system of learners and universities and we are part of it.”

By attending our conference in Manchester, Terho hopes to inspire the same enthusiasm around what Industry 4.0 can do here in the UK.

Industry 4.0 case study: Kari Terho speaks at The Industry 4.0 Summit – The finnish experience of Smart Factory Management by Elisa



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