Connected systems are high on Väderstads wishlist when it comes to this year’s IndX process. But they are also in it for the element of surprise and encourage any startup that believes they have solutions that could benefit Väderstad to apply sooner rather than later.
– But we don’t want to be too specific about what we are looking for. What we like so much about IndX is that it has provided us with ideas and solutions that we have not thought of on our own, says Johan von Mecklenburg, Product Development Director at Väderstad.
– Still, connected systems are high on our agenda. And we are not only interested in connected machines, we are looking for solutions for a whole system. We want the data from connected items to provide both learnings and suggestions regarding for example maintenance, says Joakim Freyschuss, R&D Business Developer at Väderstad.
Succesful PoC’s from previous years
This is the third year where Väderstad participates in IndX, and from the previous years they have completed several successful Proof of Concept projects (PoC). The most well-developed one is along with the Linköping startup, T&S Engineering that started in 2020. Their solution within automatic reviews of CAD drawings is about to be permanently implemented at Väderstad. From 2021 Väderstad moved forward with the startups Renbloc and Forknav. In the PoC with Renbloc they have done a mapping of the energy usage in Väderstads factory to understand how they can optimize the use of green energy.
– We are very pleased with the results that Renbloc has delivered to us. To become more sustainable is important for everyone, including us at Väderstad. In order to do that it is valuable for us to understand our environmental footprint and how we can influence it, says Johan.
The other ongoing PoC from 2021 is with the Estonian startup Forknav who has a solution for positioning of items, such as machines or pallets. They are right now working on a new way to navigate through Väderstads outdoor storage of finished products.
– We are only weeks away from trying the solution live in our warehouse and I have a very good feeling about the project. I would be very surprised if we decide not to keep working with them after the PoC, says Joakim.
Spreading the innovative way of thinking
In 2022 IndX tries on a different costume and presents itself with a brand new process. The new process includes an all year open application, four Pitch Days instead of one and three competence teams within the IndX focus areas: Sustainability, autonomy and connectivity.
Väderstad hopes that the new IndX process will lead to an improved interaction between the partner companies and the applying startups. As well as bring more continuity and stability to the procedure.
– It also opens up for us to meet with more startups! In the years before, we have limited ourselves to letting only 10 startups pitch. But in this way we open up to being introduced to many more, says Joakim.
Another new part of the IndX process is the competence teams. Three groups of experts from all the partner companies, one group for each focus area. Johan and Joakim believe that it is a great way to involve more employees in the IndX process but also that it is beneficial for the startups.
– Thanks to the competence teams we can make sure that the startups meet with the relevant people right from the start. If the startup is aiming towards a PoC within sustainability, they should be able to meet the people who will be leading the collaboration straight away, says Joakim.
Another side effect of the competence teams is that the innovative way of thinking will spread through the company and to the different departments.
– We are a groundbreaking company but we can always do better! We must never be content with our own drive to innovate. It is part of our mission to constantly innovate and find new angles. And that is IndX for us. A way to constantly challenge ourselves, says Johan.
A second chance for applicants
In 2022, the partner companies will re-review the IndX applications from 2020 and 2021. Some of the companies will be contacted to make a pitch in 2022 and the rest of the applications will be saved in the IndX startup bank.
– We look at it as a knowledge bank for innovations, and that is an amazing resource for us. Out of all the amazing ideas that startups send us through IndX, we can’t possibly be ready for all of them. Sometimes we need to mature and sometimes the startup does. But by saving the applications and having yearly reviews, we can revisit interesting ideas. The startup bank will be a shortcut for us to get started with new ideas and PoCs, says Joakim.
The collaboration with the other partner companies (Siemens Energy, Toyota Material Handling and Saab) is another big part of what makes Väderstad invested in IndX.
– It is very fruitful for us to take part in other perspectives and ways of working. We can also see how we have different strengths and inspire and learn from each other, says Johan.
– For the employees who are part of the competence teams it is also a very good networking opportunity. To have experts from different companies meet and discuss solutions together is a rare opportunity, adds Joakim.
IndX is an initiative by: