Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, the world's leading supplier of equipment and aftermarket services in the mining and contracting industry, is part of Sandvik Group, a high-tech, global engineering company that employs approximately 37,000 people worldwide.
The mining industry is currently enjoying a very hot market. Metal prices are high, and Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s customer companies are striving to make the most of the situation and responsibly and safely produce great-value minerals. Timo Laitinen works in the Rock Drills and Technologies division as Vice President responsible for the Rock Drills business unit. He is more than pleased with the excellent market conditions.
“Although the corona pandemic has brought challenges, the global demand for our equipment and services is very strong. It keeps us busy, in a positive way. We are also actively looking into new business models and seeking growth from new areas. On a group level, digitalization has been identified as a growth area. It’s priority number one in our new strategy,” Laitinen explains.
“The platform economy is an integral part of digitalization. At Sandvik we always want to be the best in everything we do. This creates an atmosphere in which self-development is of paramount importance. Consequently, I decided to participate in training where I would learn more about platform economy business models – although the topic is not directly linked to my current work,” says Laitinen, who has worked for Sandvik Group both in Finland and abroad for his entire career.
Towards the end of 2020 Laitinen started studies in Aalto EE’s Business Models with Intelligent Platforms program.
The platform economy is an integral part of digitalization.
“The program’s name caught my attention. Digitalization is creating nearly limitless opportunities – and I strongly believe that it is essential to regularly develop your own skills in these times. I have a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, and I figured that it would be a good idea to go see if an engineer like me understands what they are talking about,” he reminisces.
“Back in the day I also obtained an Aalto MBA degree, so I was already familiar with Aalto EE, and I knew I could expect high-quality training,” Laitinen adds.
Developing a platform project
In the Business Models with Intelligent Platforms program all the participants develop their own platform projects. Initially, Laitinen intended on developing one of the platform projects that his own business unit is currently working on. After discussing the matter with his supervisor, he decided to take on a much bigger challenge and focus on Sandvik’s OptiMine® system.
“OptiMine® is the most comprehensive solution on the market for analyzing and optimizing underground hard rock mining production and processes. During the program I focused on investigating further development opportunities for the system from a platform economy point of view,” Laitinen remarks.
The participants also had the opportunity to invite Dr. Ville Eloranta, one of the program’s instructors, to consult their own company on platform economy business models. Like most participants, Laitinen took advantage of this opportunity.
It gave a great overview of the platform economy, its potentials and challenges. We learned how to create platform strategies, and about competencies necessary for operating in ecosystems.
“I invited experts for example from Sandvik’s automation unit to the meeting. The content of our discussion shall remain a trade secret, but I can reveal that the consultation was very useful,” Laitinen mentions.
An interactive program taught by gurus
Laitinen calls Business Models with Intelligent Platforms a stimulating program.
“The instructors were gurus in the field and the program was highly interactive. We had many exercises that were first contemplated in smaller groups and then discussed with the entire class. We learned quite a lot from each other, and the more active you were, the more benefits you reaped,” he emphasizes.
“We worked on our own platform projects throughout the program and the contents supported the development work quite seamlessly. We also got a great tool from the platform project that we can now utilize in our own development projects at Sandvik,” Laitinen points out.
Laitinen says that he is happy to recommend the Business Models with Intelligent Platforms program.
“It gave a great overview of the platform economy, its potentials and challenges. We learned how to create platform strategies, and about competencies necessary for operating in ecosystems. I plan on putting this knowledge to work particularly in our business unit’s strategy work,” he ponders.
“I am pleased to recommend this program – to everyone else except our competitors,” Laitinen says with a laugh.