Start-up companies, especially those focused on sustainability, face constant pressure to be better, faster, and more cost-effective than their competitors. But when they must source expensive equipment from a supply chain rife with unpredictable delays and shortages, that competitive advantage can quickly disappear. Savvy start-ups are looking for creative ways to reduce their risks. For many, strategic partnerships with companies like Onninen, Finland’s market-leading technical equipment wholesaler for professional customers, can mitigate those risks and empower even more business successes.
Through its partnership with Schneider Electric, Onninen is an Alliance Certified Industrial Automation Distributor. Through this program, Onninen empowers the digital transformation efforts of its clients and helps them strengthen their business resilience. It is also a champion of sustainability, with an employee team that is committed to helping innovative startups reduce their time to market, contain costs, and create businesses that could very well change the world.
Achieving sustainability: One straw at a time
This was the case for Dolea, a Finnish start-up that had dreams about helping to end global plastic pollution. The company created patented equipment to produce a revolutionary paper straw manufactured entirely without glue. The straws are durable enough to stand up to even hot beverages and advance the circular economy because they can be entirely repulped for reuse as highly valued recycled material. And if the straws are thrown in the trash, they take about the same amount of time to decompose as a single maple leaf.
The sustainable straws and the equipment for producing them could potentially replace millions of plastic straws used worldwide, making it a brilliant addition to a sustainable circular economy. However, Dolea was struggling to scale its operations. The company’s prior technical partner could not deliver the necessary controller technology, which included Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities to maximize plant productivity, operational transparency, and performance. Without this critical support, the company could not meet customer demands for the straws or the patented equipment for customers who wanted to produce their own branded versions of the recyclable straw.
Many small organizations face this common problem in the current logistics landscape. Supply chain delays and limited resources add significant risks for small companies. When Dolea reached out to us at Onninen for help, everything changed. View the video for more information.
Sustainability: A 60-day transformation
The straw maker was under tremendous time pressure and needed their equipment to be fully functional and IoT-enabled within 60 days. The cloud-enabled IoT features were essential so users had transparency into equipment performance and could maximize the number of straws produced with little or no downtime.
Internal stakeholders were skeptical that our team could meet the deadline when prior vendors could not. But they were quickly proven wrong.
Onninen’s team partnered with IoT experts from Schneider Electric, along with TAS-Power, Schneider Electric’s Alliance System Integrator, to deliver the project. Together they acquired the necessary equipment, then collaboratively completed programming, commissioning, and automation of the machines within the two-month deadline to meet Dolea’s needs.
The project’s success was made possible due to several factors:
- Onninen used its strong position in the market and its own distribution center to proactively purchase the equipment Dolea needed ahead of time to meet customer demand. This eliminated the risk of delays due to supply chain issues and ensured Dolea had what it needed to support its operations and customer requests.
- With Onninen’s close partnership with Schneider Electric, we were able to combine the deep technical know-how and automation expertise needed to deliver a flawless project within the required timeframe.
- To facilitate the best use of our partnership, I led the project team, hosting daily meetings to ensure the project stayed on track and that all the logistics, programming, and support needs were met.
The combination of technical talent, collaborative project management, and upfront investment in manufacturing technology gave Dolea the competitive edge it needed. They could ramp up production and can now promptly meet customer demands for manufacturing equipment because the components are already available from Onninen warehouses. This was also one way for Onninen to show support for the arising start-up.
A perfect capabilities match
Start-up companies like Dolea rarely have the capital or clout to invest in equipment that will support future sales preemptively. By partnering with Onninen, they achieved their early business goals, which put them on the path to success.
It was a small risk for Onninen, but we wanted to take a chance on the innovative company because we saw a compelling business proposition. Dolea is creating a product that can drive value for consumers, businesses, and the planet. Dolea’s vision and partnering insight to secure the support of a larger manufacturer is helping to make their vision a reality.