A new course in a new world

In 2016, VEKS has gone through a strategy development involving both the Board of Directors and the employees.

Case 1 for VEKS' annual report 2016
It does probably not come as a surprise that things have gone pretty fast the last five years. First, Køge CHP Plant became part of the game in 2012. Immediately after came VEKS’ distribution. Suddenly VEKS had three tasks: 
  • Transmission – as always
  • Production – Køge CHP Plant and most recently VEKS Gasmotor, Solrød in 2015 
  • Distribution – Tranegilde and Køge District Heating
But we do not only see many changes within the Danish borders. The surrounding world is constantly pushing with news of increased regulation, cost reduction, requirements for amalgamations and improvement of efficiency in the energy sector, new energy solutions, etc. All of which in a world where the globe set a record in overheating year by year.

Course of strategy

A threatening future? Which role will VEKS play? Which choices should VEKS make – and not make?
VEKS was facing a necessary change which should not only be directional (as this is what strategy is all about). VEKS also took hold of the actual core of the company, i.e. mission and vision. 
A strategy development course was launched in the early summer of 2016 coincident with the fact that the Executive Board connected an external strategy consultant to facilitate the process. The first task of the consultant was to conduct impartial interviews with the chairmanship and a number of Board Members during the summer. The interviews were followed up by conversations and workshops with VEKS’ management team and selected key employees. 

Political frames
Next step was sparring with the Board of Directors based on the presentation of the Management. Therefore, the politicians in the Board of Directors participated in three workshops. The objective of the autumn’s first workshop for the Board of Directors was to discuss VEKS’ reason for existing... What is the ambition? Should VEKS head for commercialisation? Should VEKS look for mergers in the sector? A proposal for a new mission and vision was presented and the discussions of Board of Directors ended in a decision and adoption of a new revised foundation. 

In connection with a workshop later on, the Board of Directors discussed in more detail the meaning and consequences of VEKS’ new objectives. With the new political propositions, a basis for the fact that the administration could continue their work on developing stories, strategies and finally the projects was established - where the strategy was acted out and transformed into reality. 

The vision
It has been important to VEKS’ strategy development to create a joint understanding – and preferably community. Therefore, the next step was to make the vision substantial.
The meaning of the words in the vision: VEKS wishes to be the preferred partner in energy co-operations, deliver efficient and sustainable energy solutions and retain and expand their customer base. 

Cooperation - the preferred partner in energy co-operations because we wish to integrate energy solutions for an interconnected area and because we believe that the key to increased efficiency and an improved environment take place through increased cooperation.
Efficient - efficient energy solutions because we work on secure, long-term and competitive solutions considering the customers.
Sustainability - sustainable energy solutions because we undertake a special responsibility for the environment and climate control measures. 
Customer focus - to retain and expand the customer base - because we believe that the greatest possible number of customers gives us a chance to offer the best possible products at the lowest prices.

Projects taking shape
The Management of VEKS also participated in the three board workshops to ensure a joint understanding. The next task of the management team was to select focus areas, strategy projects and to find out when the different things were to take place in the form of action plans. Since VEKS’ Management is the prime mover, the management development is integrated in the strategy development. Apart from being godparents of the strategy, the managers must also “translate” what the new choices mean to the individual department. As a consequence hereof, all strategy projects have one of the managers as project responsible.  The manager in question will appoint a project manager – typically one from the staff and together they put together project and perhaps also steering groups. 

VEKS’ 19 strategy projects

More environment
• New sustainable energy solutions*
• More own production
• Optimise the environmental performance and working environment*
• Human resource development

Efficiency and growth
• Fusion and cooperation
• Cooperation with the district heating companies*
• Development of Køge CHP Plant (KKV)* 
• Distribution growth in Køge
• Plan for control rooms in Albertslund and Køge
• Professional project management and control*
• Efficient planning and coordination of tasks (visual operation management) * 
• Long-term investment and improvement of efficiency (asset management) *

Improved and increased cooperation

• Energy consultancy for housing associations, etc.
• International co-operations
• Professionalise agreements and contracts*
• Retain and recover the customers’ confidence*
• Improved communication with the owners and customers*
• Management development programme
• Interconnected IT solutions*
* Is initiated

“Exciting”. “Hot air in binders”. “Time just flew”. The staff had widely different expectations and not least approaches to the strategy work. Therefore, the involvement was/is essential to the integration of the strategy in the organisation. Besides two workshops for all staff members, the strategy process has been to communicate at staff briefings, permanent theme at departmental meetings, features at VEKS’ Intra, etc. At the last workshop of the year, all employees could ask questions and contribute with advice to selected current projects. But it is not all about words! VEKS has already initiated 11 of the 19 strategy projects and the project managers have been appointed. Both enthusiasts and sceptics are included – often across the organisation’s departments. 
The last step in the strategy development was that the Board of Directors adopted the implementation plan for the strategy on 9 December 2016. The foundation was established and ready for the realisation which is based on efforts and involvement of the whole VEKS organisation. Thereby, the lines are drawn: Now, VEKS “only” needs to realise all 19 strategy projects before 2020.

VEKS’ strategic perspective
Strategies are the paths we choose in order to adhere to our mission and reach our vision.
Strategy is about selection and rejection. Focus and prioritisation are decisive. Not all is equally important.
Strategies must be nurtured by continued focus and follow-up. 
Some strategies die out because the world changes. And people dare to admit it. 
Strategies should be rationally based, however, also require elements of intuition, courage and fantasy. 
Strategies are not science.

Dangers on the road 
Does strategy have higher priority than everything else?
How does the strategy development complement the operation?
Will the daily operation kill the strategy?
“Where did we put the strategy? Are we still focused on our tasks?