Having started around 30 years ago as an IT company based in Finland, Affecto has grown into a regional player with a massively extended offering of products and services, and has extended across multiple industries and territories. Having undergone many evolutionary changes over the years, the company has gained support from an impressive roster of clients and is now the most significant company in its field in Northern Europe.
Affecto employs just over 1,000 people across its operations in multiple markets and last year posted a turnover of $142 million; we talk to Henri Engström, the company’s Head of Industrial Operations about this success and what Affecto’s focus areas for the future, especially regarding its industrial customers.
Affecto focuses on very intensely on its customers. The company’s promise is to create unmatched customer experience and customer value through the use of analytics, design and technology. Engström said: “To achieve this, we work with the customer’s entire value network to test and create new business models for extended markets, improve operational efficiency and the way we serve our existing customers.”
The company is structured to focus on its customer’s industries. This drives the ambition of all Affecto employees to become the best industry specialists in their respective fields of expertise.
For any business operation the blur of digital and physical domains, consumerisation, revolutionary business models and the market transformations driven by these forces should be extremely high priorities. Many companies are still assessing their options while more determined competitors are already reaping the benefits of being forerunners in this rapidly evolving environment.
Engström said: “Velocity in essential. Being in business as long as Affecto has, we have been able to develop deep and long-lasting customer relationships and have accumulated knowledge across many industries.
“Combined with our thought leadership and knowledge of adopting emerging digital paradigms such as Internet of Things, omnichannel user experience, and applied advanced analytics we provide our customers a unique set of services to prototype, refine and rapidly scale their new concepts from new ideas to the market.”
From a services perspective, Affecto is able to exploit its decades of experience in order to provide an effective business advisory unit backed up by its business intelligence and enterprise information management capabilities. Furthermore, it offers bespoke planning, design, collaboration and management tools, oriented to suit the needs of a particular customer or customer base.
Engström said: “Together with our wide-ranging network of highly knowledgeable partners we provide a trustworthy partnership for transforming the customer’s business or sometimes just simply run the business better. Effectiveness is our keyword.”
Its experience with its products, services and sector clients also enables it to offer full outsourcing services ranging from application support to functional outsourcing, alongside a help desk and a comprehensive consultation service which helps to prevent problems before they can occur.
Engström said: “Commitment to success from all stakeholders is essential. When seizing the new business opportunities and benefits co-creation and even joint ventures can often be a desirable business model for all parties.”
Engström noted that Affecto had been able to leverage its business model to develop both its territorial and sectoral reach in order to become a strong regional player, he said: “Having started over 30 years ago in Finland, we had a lot of growth there starting in the late 1990’s. Then around 2005 we started decisively expanding; we went to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and soon after to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland and South Africa.”
He also explained how the company’s dedication to customers provided a strong framework for future partnerships. Affecto has built a reputation for offering a comprehensive package of solutions and services that scale from business and technology advisory to implementations and business process outsourcing services.
Having such a deep knowledge of its customer’s business accompanied by a wide range of technology at its disposal, the company has been able to gain the attention of some high profile clients which has proven to be a fruitful experience for all involved and has enabled clients to gain significant business benefits.
Engström explained: “We worked with many companies that build and provide equipment and technology. They had a hard time reaching all of their customers that they have sold throughout the time of the business. Their channels are numerous and the aftermarket is often very lively.”
“Our modern solutions mean they will be able to exactly locate the equipment and gain data on how it’s being used, what spare parts have been used, who has been doing the maintenance. If they then go into the service of their own equipment and fleet in the future, they would know what they are up to.”
He added that, by using Affecto’s partnership model, some of these companies were able to develop bespoke prototyping in their specific field, he said: “We went to an industrial customer to start prototyping and designed some new sensors to better gain insight to the real process itself. We were then able to guide the engineers who are using that facility and help them to make better use of their resources.”
Focusing on the needs of the customer has, quite simply, enabled Affecto to grow its business beyond the borders of Finland to a position where it can now offer a selection of world-beating solutions to a global client base.
Engström said: “I would like to encourage influencers within their companies to start exploring. Start prototyping. Take the first few uncertain steps and you’ll be a lot smarter after that. It might feel like a tough place to start but companies like us can help and really just start the journey together. There’s a lot of companies talking about digital strategies, but actually committing and implementing them is going to make all the difference.”