Service design enables productive cooperation between companies and helps to ensure staff commitment in the context of changes. Andritz Oy, which serves the pulp and paper industry on a global scale, is a leading company providing systems, equipment and services. At one point, Andritz decided that it would like to utilise service design to increase the fluency of product development and product support cooperation with customers.
At the heart of the efforts was Andritz’s service product, a video wall for production plant control rooms and Andritz’s technical support staff. “The purpose of the control room video wall is to facilitate control room tasks, team discussions and the control room’s connections to and cooperation with Andritz’s product development and product support departments. We worked with Gofore to determine the customers’ needs related to this product,” Seppo Silenius, Product Manager at Andritz, says.
Information on the operating situation through plant visits, interviews and workshops
The four-month project was initiated with a survey. First, Gofore interviewed people working in product development, sales and marketing at Andritz. The next phase involved visits to an Andritz customer’s production plants in Äänekoski and Joutseno to interview control room staff and their supervisors.
The day-to-day activities of control room workers were also observed at the production plants. “The aim of the survey was to gain an understanding of the needs, motivations and task requirements of control room staff and to identify the kinds of needs that emerge during a work day,” Minna Vänskä, Senior Service Designer at Gofore, explains.
In addition to the survey visits, an e-mail questionnaire was prepared for Andritz’s service product developers. As a result of the analysis phase, the most important control room tasks, information flow needs and user groups were reported. “The plant visits, observations and workshops provided us with an overview and understanding of the various situations in which the service is used. On the basis of this information, we created operating situation descriptions and user personas,” Vänskä says.
The visit to the unfinished control room shed more light on the needs related to the placement of the video wall. Based on the survey, Gofore prepared concept proposals regarding the digital placement of the information on the video wall. ince this is a technical and challenging issue, we cooperated with the control room workers, their supervisors and Andritz throughout the process. In our joint workshop, we finally crystallised the concepts to a functional form,” Minna Vänskä says.
Product Manager, Andritz
Clear customer benefit from Gofore’s experience and skill
The project involved the design of a new video wall for the debarking control room of the Äänekoski bioproduct mill, the physical placement of the wall in the room and the placement of information on the wall. Seppo Silenius of Andritz describes the cooperation as fruitful.
“The systematic and professional approach of the Gofore crew was a clear testament to their experience. We gained a great deal of benefit from the efficiency of communication right from the start of the development project. It ensured that all of our employees knew what the goals of the project were,” Silenius says.
All parties from developers to users were included in the project, and they were provided with the opportunity to express their own views and hopes with regard to the video wall. Thanks to this, changes to methods of operating and cooperation were easier to accept and adopt.
“Everyone working with the service product could affect the development, which ensures an entirely different kind of commitment and engagement than top-down orders and instructions.” For example, we worked with the customer to outline a variety of user interfaces. I find that working in this way, listening to and considering everyone, is highly efficient,” Seppo Silenius says.
Andritz was so happy with the development project that it has initiated talks with Gofore on another similar project.