It is time for mechanical engineering companies to play their trump card
Finnish mechanical engineering is valued throughout the world. We are seen as reliable and ingenious manufacturers of specialised machinery, and experts in small-scale production. We have accumulated a staggering level of product and production competence with regard to power supply machinery, process equipment, mobile machinery and maritime industry, for example. Tampere is the Silicon Valley of mechanical engineering. The hundreds of mechanical engineering companies in our country could still play one additional trump card, but, to my amazement, there does not seem to be much interest in this. The trump card in question is building joint technological and operational platforms. The car and process industry has demonstrated that these types of platforms increase both efficiency and innovation.
The strategy of the most successful car manufacturer in recent years, Volkswagen, is based on finding a joint platform that is applicable to as many areas as possible. Whether you buy a Volkswagen, Audi, Seat or Skoda, 70% of the components are the same, and the chassis solution is shared by cars of the same size. Is there any reason why mobile work machines manufactured for different purposes could not share control systems or track chassis. Would it not be a good thing if a standard chassis could be developed to a level that is unattainable for any individual machine manufacturer?
For decades, Finnish metal refining companies have focused their R&D efforts on joint programmes that not only increase the level of competence of each participating company, but also ensure that Finnish universities have world-class laboratories and education. The ability of metal refining companies to jointly prepare and implement immense technological updates is admirable, and the practical results are evident in the substantial FIMECC programmes in the material and process segments. Why is it that mechanical engineering companies do not have the same management-level determination to assemble around general technological and business-related challenges? Why do these companies not take full advantage of the R&D infrastructure available to them?
The answer to these question is the same almost without exception: “Our machines are so different from the competing ones, and information might be leaked to unintended parties.” On a systemic level, machines have many similarities. According to the value system of the younger generations, “you are what you share”. If you intend to succeed in the world of the future, you must open up.
This is most convenient and feasible in purpose-built communities, which can be accessed by participating in FIMECC Oy’s operations, for example. The company’s assets include honed management practices, the involvement of leading experts, and interactive FIMECC Factorys in Finland and Germany. Founded on flexibility and trust, the Finnish culture provides us with a unique opportunity to take the game by playing this unused trump card in the field of mechanical engineering!
FIMECC Ltd. is the strategic centre for science, technology, and innovation in metal products and mechanical engineering industries in Finland. FIMECC leads its’ stakeholders to cross-disciplinary and cross-industry innovation through internationally open public-private research platform. FIMECC shortens time-to-market by joining the resources and innovativeness of globally leading companies and research institutes in precompetitive research. We boost strategic research – together.