News

Automation supplier specialized in serialization: all ready for the boom

16.12.2016

The year 2014 was a significant milestone for automation supplier Servicepoint. Information started to come from different sources that the European Union was planning to make the serialization of prescribed medicines compulsory. The corresponding legislation was underway in several other markets throughout the world. After a close review of the matter, Service point started systematic preparation for serialization requirements. 

One of the most important sources of information on the Falsified Medicines Directive was the Finnish pharmaceuticals manufacturer Orion, with which Servicepoint had carried out collaboration on the design and implementation of pharmaceutical production lines in Kuopio and Salo for several years.

“In fact, we have a long shared history with Orion. One of Servicepoint’s founder companies, Kuopion Konepaja Oy, has carried out mechanical maintenance at Orion’s Kuopio plant since the 1980s. Besides, Servicepoint’s  other founder company Delta Matic Engineering Oy, which was later merged with Servicepoint, carried out automation projects for Orion as early as the 1990’s”, says  Risto Finne, Chairman of Servicepoint’s Board of Directors.

Total management of projects under one roof

The Kuopio based founder companies, which specialized in maintenance and automation, established Servicepoint in 2006 as they wanted to offer wider services to their shared clients. In the beginning, the only client was Fenestra, the manufacturer of windows and doors, which transferred the maintenance of its factory from ABB to Servicepoint.

“We continued to carry out maintenance, but as Fenestra’s production was switched to element manufacture, the share of automation installations increased significantly”, Finne continues.

Servicepoint’s automation expertise was strengthened when it acquired the automation business of two of its partners and started partner collaboration with automation supplier Siemens.

As extensive automation projects required design expertise, the next step was to establish a design team.

“In the beginning, we outsourced design work to our partners, but they were not able to provide sufficient services when needed. We decided to keep the total management of projects in our hands and thereby strengthened our position as an integrator that is responsible for the customization of automation, integration of devices and overall project architecture. It was a significant advantage to our clients.  They did not need to acquire expertise from subcontractors”, Finne describes the decision.

At the same time, Servicepoint expanded its partner network and entered into partnerships with e.g. robot manufacturer KUKA and artificial vision camera manufacturer Cognex. Total projects were on the increase in several industries, and Servicepoint received more and more automation project assignments requiring special expertise in sensitive data from the pharmaceutical industry.

Heavy blow eventually turned the direction towards growth

In 2014, a crucial turn took place. Servicepoint learned about the EU’s plans to make the serialization of prescribed medicines compulsory and decided to specialize in serialization. The decision was strengthened by an unexpected event the same year. The company’s major client Fenestra went bankrupt.

“It was a heavy blow for us, but, on the other hand, it gave us the courage to focus on our automation projects”, Finne continues.

The decision on the new key business has had far-reaching effects. Today, Servicepoint is the leading serialization automation supplier in the Nordic countries and is also carrying out projects in Belgium and Italy with its serialization partner Systech.

“Our timing was perfect. We have been able to prepare for the serialization boom for two years. We have acquired information on serialization legislation and our market requirements, developed our operations, expanded our facilities including training premises, and recruited experts. All this is based on our 30 years of expertise developed systematically to meet the requirements of our clients”, Finne concludes with satisfaction.

The future will show in what direction Servicepoint’s expertise will be developed. However, there are clear signs that the serialization boom will continue for years to come. In the pharmaceutical industry, the pressure to invest in serialization is only beginning.  Many companies in the manufacturing industry are interested in protecting their products by serialization. Piracy will suffer a defeat, as authentic products are protected by coding.

Iiro Jantunen
CTO, Chief Technology Officer
Servicepoint Kuopio Oy
iiro.jantunen@servicepoint.fi