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SSAB & Solu Digital

The new project management and time recording solution makes work easier and saves time

SSAB Raahe factory area © SSAB

SSAB is a Nordic and American steel company that supplies high-strength steel products and related services worldwide.

The group, which has been in operation for more than 130 years, has production facilities in Sweden, Finland, and the USA, with an annual steel production capacity of approximately 8.8 million tons. In 2021, SSAB started producing fossil-free steel, and the production is being carried forward in the company.

In Finland, SSAB has many kinds of projects going on both in the production facilities and in the organization’s IT department. Projects have been managed with the Microsoft Project tool for twenty years. The need to switch to a new tool became relevant when Microsoft’s support for Project data security ended.

A project tool for the needs of several departments

The goal was to find a similar browser-based project management and time recording system that would be easy to use. SSAB turned to Solu Digital, with whom the cooperation has lasted for the past decade. The way of working and the needs of the organization were familiar when using the previous system.

“We received a good presentation regarding this new Microsoft Project for the Web and the tool for hour recording and approval, as well as how reporting can be implemented in our company regarding work time reporting and cost control,” says Lauri Eskola, Application Manager at SSAB’s IT department.

The new solution serves a wide user base, as Finland’s SSAB has around 600 users and close to a hundred project managers and supervisors.

The use of the tool varies between different user groups: in the IT department, projects are worked on in cycles, while the factory departments use the project management and time recording system more with publicly funded projects. In addition, the organization’s invoicing department uses the tool to direct costs to the right place.

Lauri Eskola, Application Manager © SSAB

Easy-to-use project work

“Especially the factories have liked that this current browser-based Project for the Web and the hourly recording page itself, as well as the approval of hours, have been much more user-friendly, which means that there is not so big of a threshold to learn that system,” Lauri states.

Establishing the project in the system, adding people and tasks to the project, and managing the project team members on the project itself have made it easier and faster for the project managers to work. A separate permission for adding people to the project is no longer needed because the user accounts of the personnel are already connected to other Microsoft M365 programs.

The creation of time recording items for people is done automatically based on the project information added to Project for the Web. According to Lauri, users’ lives have been made easier by the possibility to manage the time recording view themselves by adding or removing tasks from the view.

The automatic approval process of hourly records used by the invoicing department also saves time from an administrative point of view.

“This new tool is much more user-friendly from the point of view of both the project manager and the time recorder, so you don’t have to fight with it and spend a lot of time on it, you can just focus on recording hours and the actual work.”

Lauri Eskola
Application Manager, SSAB’s IT department

Up-to-date and fast reporting

In Project for the Web, you can create customized data fields for the background information of the project, for example, for cost center information. The information can be used in reporting, which makes creating reports with the Power BI tool easier.

“We save time from that point of view as well, because there was a lot of feedback that it was quite tedious to build reports previously, when you had to go through a big list and manually select the projects from there.”

Lauri Eskola
Application Manager, SSAB’s IT department

Compared to the previous system, reports created with Power BI provide more up-to-date information faster, which can be forwarded to supervisors for management needs and monitoring.

The long-term cooperation expands

“The best thing has been collaborating with Mikko Sorsa during this project, when there is someone who you can see has done this before and he already knows our needs in advance, knows how to listen to what is said, and move things forward,” Lauri praises.

The implementation of the tool continues, as there are plans to expand its use to the personnel of factories located in Sweden.

“I could recommend Solu Digital because the cooperation works. It’s important when you can trust that the other party will do their job and their part.”

Lauri Eskola
Application Manager, SSAB’s IT department

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