Master of Projektinhallinta: Ville Simola – Positive rush guarantees focus

Scheduling is one of the many ways Raumaster Paper Oy's projects differ from those of the parent company. The duties of the project managers have many similarities but there are also some differences. Ville Simola has discovered that the work of a project manager suits his personality.

At Raumaster Paper, the past six months have been a learning experience for Ville Simola. Previously, the IT engineer worked as an automation designer for 4.5 years and worked on electrical design, purchasing of electrical components and supervised installations. In the autumn of 2022, he stepped into the role of a project manager.

Although Simola has only worked as a project manager for about six months, he is already working on seven different projects. It does not bother the productive man at all, in fact the opposite is true.

"I inherited two projects from a colleague when she started her maternity leave, and because the sales have been great, I have gotten five more projects on top of them. The installation of all these projects takes place in 2023. Two projects are moving to the installation phase now, and their schedules partially overlap. They keep me busy", Simola laughs.

"The constant positive rush keeps my interest and maintains my focus."

The pace is one of the reasons why he enjoys the work of a project manager.

"When I was offered the role and I accepted it, I feared the work would be slow and that it could even be boring. I was assured that it was neither, and now I can say that they were right. The constant positive rush keeps my interest and maintains my focus."

Previous experience in installation supervision helps with project managing. Simola knows how shipments are delivered to the work site and how things progress from day one.

"Knowing what happens at which location and how much time things take helps with scheduling. I also know how the machinery works, and that plays a part in building trust with the customer in conversations."

In the autumn of 2022, Ville Simola started as a project manager.

Constant dialogue

At Raumaster Paper, the project manager oversees the project from the moment the sales agreement is signed to the final approval. Then, the Service department takes over. Simola points out that the project managers are partially involved in sorting out any complaints that might come up during the warranty period.

The project manager’s work begins when a new project comes in. Then, an internal meeting is held to decide who will start working on the project. At this stage, the principal mechanical and electrical designers also get involved.

"Things are specified during the first meeting. There are always some grey areas in the contracts, so certain aspects may still change during the kick off meeting. It is my job to finalise these details so that both contracting parties know what we are about to do", Simola says.

"Together we can reach the best result."

At Raumaster Paper, the project manager’s closest colleagues are the principal mechanical and electrical designers.

"The principal designer is usually in charge of the layout design and the mechanical designer is in charge of equipment design. I also discuss with sales and purchasing, for example. This way we can make sure that everybody is on the same page in regard to the machinery and the budget."

"Our job is to monitor that everything proceeds according to the agreement", Ville Simola says. On the left is Jonne Vilen, who works as a project manager for Raumaster Oy.

Scheduling is the key

Raumaster Paper assembles the machinery in their facilities in Pori. Simola is based at the Rauma offices. The project manager schedules and allocates resources together with the assembly. Customers usually come to observe the FAT tests on site, and Simola joins them.

"During the FAT tests, the customer can get a better idea of what they have purchased. We test so-called half-finished machinery and, for example, run the motions of the line cutters without paper. For me, it is important to be there because I can meet the customer in person and see the tests myself", Simola says.

While the installations of Raumaster’s machinery can take several months, the installations of Raumaster Paper take a month or two on average. Simola is often on-site for the installations. He estimates that he spends approximately sixty days on the road annually.

"I handle daily meetings with the customer at the factory. This way the installation supervisors can focus on their own jobs which in turn ensures a smoother installation. Together we can reach the best result."

"It is important that the project manager is skilled in negotiating, problem solving and scheduling."

At the installation sites, Simola sees and hears things that help him grow his expertise and knowledge constantly.

"You obviously cannot control everything, but we always try to find the best solution. It is important that the project manager is skilled in negotiating, problem solving and scheduling. Careful scheduling lays a solid foundation for a successful job, Simola emphasises."

What are the main differences in the days of the project managers of Raumaster Paper Oy and Raumaster Oy?

Ville Simola, Raumaster Paper: For the most part, our job descriptions are similar, but the machinery creates the most significant difference. Both companies must deliver functional machinery, there is no other option – and our job is to monitor that everything proceeds according to the agreement.