Trailmaker customer: Neste seeks alignment to develop its innovation platform

Neste is the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. Headquartered in Espoo, Finland, it operates in 14 countries. In 2020, Neste established a new innovation business platform to develop renewable hydrogen and Power-to-X (P2X) technologies. Trailmaker helped create strategic execution clarity and a common view for the new platform.

According to Outi Ervasti, Vice President of Renewable hydrogen and P2X atNeste, renewable fuels is an area that is “developing fast” with huge local and global possibilities. “By developing these fuels we are bringing more sustainable products to the market and creating prosperity for tomorrow,” she says.

The new innovation business platform is one of three established by Neste in 2020, and according to SVP of Innovation Lars Peter Lindfors they are not only new to the company but also new to the world. This brings challenges and opportunities, says Lindfors, adding “we need to have a clear vision and strategy on how to go about these things.”


Trailmaker decision-making process results in restructuring of the innovation platform  

Neste invited Trailmaker to help clarify strategy and produce a common view of strategy execution, which was a particular challenge, says Lindfors, because the new team comprised individuals that didn't really have any common background. “The business platform is extremely broad,” says Lindfors, noting that this was one important aspect that Neste sought help with. 

For VP Ervasti, it was very important that the strategy of the new renewable hydrogen and P2X platform was clarified with top management. “Initiatives and ideas come at us fast, and we needed an external view to concretise the strategy and execution, form a common view, and ensure resources and capabilities for the strategy execution.” 

Working with the Trailmaker process was very successful, both Ervasti and Lindfors report, with Lindfors noting that one of the most valuable results from the Trailmaker exercise was saving time in “achieving clarity, commitment, and alignment relating to the new innovation business platform.”

“We ended up re-organising the business platform’s structure to increase focus and pace,” says Ervasti, an outcome also highlighted by Lindfors: “The Trailmaker process brought up that we should have two separate initiatives within this platform. Before the Trailmaker process we were thinking that it’s a big question needing solving and Trailmaker really gave very good argumentation for this.”

TRAILMAKER is a concept for faster strategy execution:

• Concrete common view and commitment

• Identified capability needs

• Visibility


Trailmaker customer: Neste Engineering Solutions drives strategic transformation

Neste Corporation continues its transformation from an oil company to a pioneer in renewable fuels and circular economy. Neste Engineer Solutions, a subsidiary responsible for Neste's process technology and plant investment projects, is well-known for its expertise. Now the company has high expectations implementing the corporate strategy. Trailmaker is contributing to the rapid implementation of the strategic change.

Martti Ronkainen, Operations Management Director of Neste Engineering Solutions, emphasizes the importance of competence and ability in a rapid and comprehensive change.

“Neste has a strong ambition for growth and Neste Engineering Solutions has a new role in Neste Group’s strategy implementation. This will require significant transformation in our competences and capabilities within relative short timeframe.”

Neste Engineering Solutions takes greater responsibility for executing plant investment projects within Neste. The company also has an important role in scaling up and commercializing innovations related to new products and new raw materials. The knowledge-based company plays a critical role in implementing the new corporate strategy.

According to Ronkainen, the biggest change in the company is the transition from a project engineering company to a specialized management and competence house. As a result, Neste Engineering Solutions will increasingly commission and manage the work of the partners globally.

“It requires new kind of competence to lead the work that has traditionally been done by ourselves. Above all, Neste needs the talent and expertise found in Neste Engineering Solutions. Success in implementing Neste's strategy requires expertise in process technology and managing complex plant investments.”

Trailmaker concept gives a common sense of direction

Neste Engineering Solutions ensures the implementation of the strategic transformation  into milestones, responsibilities and concrete work tasks through Trailmaker concept. In the first joint sparring it was discovered that the common alignment still needed to be refined.

“When we started the Trailmaker process, we imagined that we already have a shared vision of where we are going and why. However, we quickly realized that we had not yet had enough discussion. The questions posed by Trailmaker were a great help – we had to answer questions we hadn’t been able to ask ourselves.”

After forming a common vision, the Trailmaker concept guided the debate on the implementation of a huge strategic change. Ronkainen laughs that the outcome of the Trailmaker process is not quite as fancy as strategy formulation.

“When about twenty strategic projects, milestones and concrete tasks are finally packed together in one form, it appears as a to-do list. It's a bit different when it comes to actually accomplishing the tasks outlined in the strategy”, Ronkainen concludes.

TRAILMAKER is a concept for faster strategy execution:

- Concrete common view and commitment

- Identified capability needs

- Visibility


Trailmaker-customer: Neste Engineering Solutions plays an important role in implementing Neste's ambitious strategy

Neste Corporation aims at strengthening its leading position in renewable road fuels, while at the same time broadening its markets to aviation, polymers and chemicals. The ambitious strategy highlights the importance of Neste Engineering Solutions, a subsidiary of Neste. Neste Engineering Solutions uses Trailmaker to ensure that its strategic plans are executed promptly.

Neste Engineering Solutions offers technology, engineering and project management services for Neste and selected other customers. The company is targeting a major transformation, increasing competence and capacity to support innovation and execute large, international investment projects.

"Neste Engineering Solutions has two main roles in executing the Neste strategy. We have an important role in scaling up and commercializing innovations related to new products and new raw materials. We are also responsible for executing plant investment projects within Neste", says Patrick von Essen, Managing Director of Neste Engineering Solutions.

Race against time

The implementation of the strategy is urgent because the world is running out of time to combat climate change. Success at Neste Engineering Solutions requires flexible operating models, taking project expertise to the next level and stronger and wider geographical networks.

The Neste Engineering Solutions’s long term plan was approved and launched in October 2019. The next step is to translate the long term plan into concrete, measurable actions for everyone in the organization. Trailmaker has helped to mark out the strategic path.

"In the beginning, we created a common understanding of the priorities and what needsto happen in order to reach our goals. Towards the end of the process, we got more and more concrete about the actions and metrics of implementation."

During the process, the long term goals were turned into concrete actions, each with a measurable outcome, a responsible person and a deadline.

"In other words, we were able to move from "what" and "where" to "who", "how" and "when".

"The most valuable outcome of the process was that the management team’s understanding and alignment with the long term strategy increased considerably", says von Essen.

TRAILMAKER is a concept for faster strategy execution:

• Concrete common view and commitment

• Identified capability needs

• Visibility