The first year of operation for Pirkanmaan Voimia Oy is now over, and we – our employees, owner-clients and stakeholders – really made the company’s first year a success. The company continues to develop and grow together with its customers. Food and hygiene are always needed.
Pirkanmaan Voimia’s operations had a solid start, following a carefully prepared and implemented corporatisation project that transferred catering and hygiene services to the new company. The transition went smoothly and the new company provided excellent opportunities for continuing the systematic development of catering and hygiene services, which are at the core of Voimia’s service offering.
The company serves about 12 million meals every year at day-care centres, schools, hospitals and senior housing services, as well as maintains cleanliness and tidiness in more than 400 properties. The company started operations after the meal services of both the public enterprise Tampereen Voimia and the Pirkanmaa Hospital District merged to form a limited company on 1 January 2019.
The continuity of the above services was the company’s primary objective during its first year of operation. In addition, we updated Voimia’s strategy. The focus areas for the development of our strategy ʻDreams come true’ are the upgrading of the business model, responsibility, and growth in the Pirkanmaa region. In the next few years, the strategy will be manifested in our increasingly efficient production structures, modern digital service channels, new business openings, a deeper ethical commitment and social responsibility, as well as considerable investments in the wellbeing of our personnel.
The quality of our services, as perceived by our customers, remained at a good level after corporatisation thanks to both close customer collaboration and the continuation of smooth customer service. This was evident in quality reviews and daily customer feedback during the year. A clear improvement in customer satisfaction was achieved for patient meals, where quality improved in all respects. The customers who are the most satisfied with our cleaning services are day-care centres, and sports and cultural venues, such as museums. Our company will continue and develop its systematic work in the area of client collaboration and joint quality monitoring.
The corporatisation of our operations had a positive impact on Pirkanmaan Voimia’s employee indicators. The employee dedication index, calculated on the basis of Voimia’s employee survey results, indicates the personnel’s willingness to strive towards shared objectives. It remained at a good level.
To be able to serve a growing clientele in the future, the company’s shareholders’ agreement was amended to enable new municipal owners to join the company – and negotiations with a few nearby municipalities began. The broadening of the owner-base creates new business development opportunities for Pirkanmaan Voimia. For the new owners, on the other hand, the arrangement provides opportunities to benefit from a partnership with the forerunner in the sector.
Esa Sairanen, Chief Executive Officer, Pirkanmaan Voimia Oy
In catering services, keys to success include knowing the needs of the end-customers, an efficient production network, and skilled employees. Our temporary production kitchen Kattila was built to develop our production structure and to ensure our production capacity. It began operations in early 2019. Kattila produces about 4,000 meals every day for a number of schools and daycare centres. The kitchen’s food preparation process significantly reduces the environmental impacts of meal preparation, the detergent burden, and water consumption. It has reduced the transport needs, which shows in lower transport emissions. The modernisation of the production structure in catering services for the care sector also began, as well as preparations for the deployment of a new cook-chill method.
In December 2019, the company’s Board of Directors approved both the project plan and the kick-off of implementation planning for Voimian Pata, a production kitchen considerably larger than Kattila. The purpose of this project is to bring the company’s business model up to date and to centralise meal preparation. Pata aims to secure the production capacity for school and day-care catering in Tampere, and to improve production efficiency, working conditions and customer orientation, while addressing the environmental impacts of food production more extensively.
Hygiene services supplement Voimia’s catering services and enable a broader service offering. During the year, Voimia’s hygiene services tested robot technology, among other things. It has a positive impact on both the productivity of the hygiene services and the employees’ wellbeing, as robots replace humans in heavy, repetitive and mechanical tasks.
In addition to robot experiments, Voimia is updating its procedures in other sectors of hygiene services. Since the summer of 2019, Voimia and its hygiene service partner have kept the Pyynikki and Tesoma indoor swimming pools clean: the benefits of the new multiple supplier model include improved quality and closer interaction between the client and the service provider. Together with its partners, Voimia is a significant supplier of hygiene services and, therefore, contributes indirectly to the labour market and business life in Tampere and its neighbouring areas. During the financial year under review, the value of hygiene services that Voimia purchased from its partners amounted to more than EUR 7 million.
Particular attention is paid to safety and ecological considerations by our hygiene services. Voimia’s own in-house hygiene services were awarded the Swan label for environmental performance in early 2019. For a product or service to be awarded the Swan label, it must meet strict environmental criteria based on the life-cycle approach. The evaluation of a product or service takes into consideration, among other things, the origin of the materials, energy consumption during production and use, as well as chemical usage and waste generation during the whole production and consumption chain.
Responsibility is integral to Voimia’s everyday business. It is a central value in all areas of our operation: for years, the company and its predecessors have been leading by example when it comes to responsible public sector operations. In December 2018, Voimia was awarded the EcoCompass certification for environmental performance. Our in-house hygiene services were awarded the Swan label in April 2019. Pirkanmaan Voimia is the first public sector service provider in Finland to earn the Swan label.
Since August 2019, twenty schools and day-care centres in Tampere have taken part in an experiment, where a vegetarian meal option is offered every day. The purpose of this vegetarian food pilot is to encourage children and young people to choose plant-based foods, which are both healthy and environmentally responsible. Thanks to the experiences from the pilot, vegetarian food options will become the norm at all Tampere schools and day-care centres by 2022.
In autumn 2019, the social enterprise Tampereen Sarka Oy acknowledged Pirkanmaan Voimia as a good partner. This partnership involved Voimia showing significant social responsibility by promoting the employment of the long-term unemployed and people with partial work ability.
Voimia is also committed to responsible raw material procurement. We favour domestically produced ingredients whenever possible. The traceability and safety of the food, as well as animal welfare considerations, are taken into consideration in procurement. Voimia is committed to the #cage-free objective: the transition was made in 2020 to using only eggs from uncaged hens, grown in barns, in the minimum. For egg-products, this target will be achieved by 2025.
Tarja Alatalo, Business Director
During the year under review, service management was developed through a transition from production management to more comprehensive enterprise resource planning. A new version of the ERP system Aromi was taken into use in the catering services for children and young people.
The new Aromi system meets future business needs by process streamlining and digitalisation. The centralised planning and service model guides our units and partners to work together more dynamically and cost-efficiently. Going forward, Aromi’s predictive analytics will help predict demand and minimise waste. The data utilised by the system helps us plan healthy diets that comply with nutritional recommendations, as well as supporting ecological food service production.
Customer needs related to special diets, allergies and, for example, food consistency, can be easily accommodated in Aromi’s recipe planning, which ensures the safety of all meals. During 2020, system use will gradually expand from children and young people’s meal services to Voimia’s other customer segments.
Tuomas Vepsäläinen, Chief Information Officer
An occupational health survey carried out in spring 2019 showed that Pirkanmaan Voimia’s employees had a good work drive. The employee survey of autumn 2019 showed that 75 per cent of Pirkanmaa’s Voimia’s personnel were happy with their workplace. The survey identified customer service and supervisory work as particular strengths within the organisation.
The new strategy entails the introduction of the Ambassadors of Wellbeing programme to improve the personnel’s wellbeing and ability to work. It means implementing a new corporate culture that will be felt in the everyday lives of Voimia personnel, ensuring the sufficiency of human resources, investing in the personnel’s health and the company’s safety culture, strengthening supervisory skills, and developing competence. This investment in development will likely result in fewer absences from work, improved productivity and an emergence of a new working culture.
Satu Ollikainen, HR and Administrative Manager
Pirkanmaan Voimia’s net sales of EUR 61.8 million met the target for the first financial year. Profitability during the financial year exceeded the target, amounting to EUR 0.7 million, i.e., 1.1% of net sales. Voimia’s financial position also developed according to plan during the period: the company’s equity ratio at the time of closing the accounts was 31.9%, while return on equity was 12.9%. The company’s liquidity remained good throughout the financial period.
The company’s investments went according to plan. Investments totalled EUR 1.1 million. Investments in machinery and equipment (EUR 1.0 million) complied with our strategy of improving customer quality and equipping the Kattila production kitchen, which started operations in the spring. As for intangible investments, we continued to develop the Aromi system and continued the project planning for the Voimian Pata production kitchen.
Liisa Eerola, Chief Financial Officer