Trust-Based Customer Relationships and Secure Products

Trust is one of the Bittium values and a necessary condition for its business.

FOCUS AREA #2

Trust-Based  Customer Relationships and Secure Products

Bittium specializes in developing reliable, secure communications and connectivity solutions as well as mobile information security solutions, and in providing health technology products and solutions. Sustainability and responsibility cover the entire life cycle of products, from material choices to maintenance and disposal, including the securing of confidentiality and information security.

Trust is one of the Bittium values and a necessary condition for its business. It is an essential element of customer relationships, products, services and working methods. The continuous improvement of operations, innovative and agile product development, meeting the customer´s wishes and expectations as well as development in cooperation with the customers form the foundation of the company´s sustainable business model and competitive advantage.

Goals Actions Performance Measures Situation in 2020 Result in 2021
Building deeper trust with customers

Continued development of trust-based and performance-driven operating methods

Customer satisfaction survey NPS (Net Promoter Score) 46.9
(2019: 49.3)
 46.9
Project satisfaction survey NPS (Net Promoter Score)

58
(2019: 62)

 45.5
Enhancing the added value of information security Continuous development of the information security of products and operations Auditing and certification of products, business premises and business functions   Annual certification audits
and various information security
certificates
The development of the number of observations concerning information security threats.   The employees have been trained to report any observations of potential information security threats. A total of 149 persons participated in the training in 2021.
Information security management systems     Training on practices and procedures to maintain a high level of information security, training rate above 90%.

Highlighting information security threats and the importance of information security with various stakeholders and participating in information security development projects and forums.

    Participation in the following
development projects, for example: Post-Quantum Cryptography
(Finland), TIoCPS (EU),
CyberFactory#1 (EU).

Customer Relationships Based on Trust

Taking into account Bittium´s customers´ specific requirements pertaining to the company´s sector and technology constitutes the cornerstone of a trust-based customer relationship. The ongoing project to develop product information management focuses on more detailed specification of the existing practices. In the latter part of 2020, tools relating to the management of product information were introduced.

Bittium´s working methods are characterized by a strong focus on information security and ensuring the confidentiality of the customers´ data. The products are designed to be secure, always taking the customers´ needs into account. Described in more detail under ‘Corporate citizenship and sustainable business practises´, Bittium´s Code of Conduct is also an important element of secure and responsible way of working with the customers and other stakeholders.

Alignment between the Focus Area and the UN´s Sustainable Development Goals

 

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

3.4 By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.

  • Our medical technology products improve the quality of modern healthcare and are safe to use. Our products emphasize prevention, for example, in the context of serious complications caused by cardiovascular and neurological disorders. Our product portfolio also supports remote diagnostics, which can help healthcare services to achieve considerable efficiency and savings. Remote services enable the diagnosis of illnesses also during times when face-to-face contacts should be avoided – such as during a pandemic.

 

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

8.7 Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms.

8.8 Protect labor rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.

  • We operate sustainably in our purchasing activities. We avoid the use of minerals from conflict zones and counterfeit materials. These issues are covered by our monitoring processes. The requirements related to purchasing as well as procedures related to minerals from conflict zones and counterfeit materials are published on our website.

Customer Relationships Based on Trust

The cornerstone of trust-based customer relationships is to take into account the special requirements related to Bittium´s customers´ operating industry and technology. Bittium achieves this by carefully managing product information, among other things.

Bittium has continued the development of product information management that began in 2020 and the deployment of related tools. As the project involves checking that all existing product information is up-to-date, the work will continue in 2022. The plan is to also expand the use of the system in 2022.

Bittium´s working methods are characterized by a strong focus on information security and ensuring the confidentiality of the customers´ data. The products are designed to be secure, always taking the customers´ needs into account. Bittium´s Code of Conduct is also an integral element of the company´s secure and responsible way of working with customers and other stakeholders.

Systems and Standards

Standards define the industry´s common operating methods that make life easier for the authorities as well as the companies in the industry. Standardization also makes it easier to promote global exports.

Certified integrated management systems are an important tool with which Bittium can improve its efficiency and reliability, transparency and customer satisfaction. Customers increasingly expect Bittium´s products and working methods to be standardized and certified.

Bittium had six certified systems in use at the end of 2021. All in all, 400 different standards, approximately 100 of them on a daily basis, are observed in the company´s operations. All of Bittium´s management systems are audited by an external party each year.

Bittium also applies product branch-specific product approval procedures, such as MDSAP (Medical Single Audit Program) in health technology products. The changes in procedures, products and approval processes arising from the EU Medical Device Regulation were taken into account in Bittium´s Medical Technologies business in 2021.

The relevant industry standards are applied in the design of the electrical safety and performance features of Bittium´s products. Customer, country and market-specific requirements are also taken into account in hardware development.

The products are tested, verified and approved as part of the R&D process by both internal and external auditors. For example, in Europe, the products are required to carry the CE label and the related Declaration of Conformity (DoC).

Product development projects are also audited in accordance with the PSSL (Product Safety, Security and Liability) audit procedures as part of Bittium´s End Product Process (EPP) requirements. Employees receive PSSL product liability training.

 

Information Security Management System

Ensuring information security constitutes such an integral part of Bittium´s business that the company has developed a specific management system, including a management group, for this purpose. Information security objectives and responsibilities as well as the resourcing of operations are defined in the system. 

The management system covers information security-related policies, guidelines and templates pursuant to the relevant standards and requirements (ISO 27001, Katakri 2015 and FSC) as well as the requirements set by the customers and by law. In practice, they completely cover the information security of the company´s operations and also the information security of the physical premises and employees.

Bittium has a real-time monitoring system for information security threats, and the employees also report any information security threats they observe. Employees also receive training on the use of working methods and procedures that help maintain a high level of information security.

No serious information security non-conformities were observed in 2021.

Product and life cycle risks are systematically assessed as part of the product development process. With respect to products, Bittium takes into account the safety and information security of materials and components as well as compliance with product liability regulations in the company´s target markets.

Sustainable Purchasing

Bittium´s products contain a range of electronic and mechanical components. The sustainability of the purchasing chain is ensured, for instance, through material and component supplier requirements and material assessments. Bittium maintains a database in which it records all the materials and substances contained in components.

Bittium conforms to sustainable business practices and requires the same of its suppliers. The company´s partners must comply with Bittium´s Code of Conduct as well as the Bittium Supplier Requirements. The Bittium Supplier Quality Manual was updated with details in 2021, and it is available on Bittium´s website. Suppliers are always expected to comply with the latest version of the guidelines.

Suppliers are also audited according to pre-defined criteria. Audits are carried out as a self-assessment based on the Bittium Supplier Requirements or as an audit conducted by Bittium. Most of the audits conducted in 2021 were based on self-assessment. However, especially in Finland, conducting audits physically at the suppliers´ premises was possible to some extent in spite of the pandemic. As regards international suppliers, local partners have been used for audits. This approach has enabled on-site audits in China, for example.

In 2021, Bittium started a development project entitled Marimin with the aim of finding more Finnish and European suppliers of critical components. A large number of suppliers has been evaluated under the project and, for certain critical components, it has been possible to move deliveries to Finland and Europe.

Employee training is also an important part of ensuring sustainable purchasing. Sustainable purchasing is part of the environmental training package that Bittium´s employees complete independently.

Identifying the origin of minerals

Bittium´s products are made using minerals that may also come from countries that violate human rights or cause environmental destruction by mining such minerals. Bittium urges its suppliers to comply with the legislation on conflict minerals and the relevant recommended reporting practices. In this way, it can be ensured that the minerals used in Bittium´s products do not originate from conflict or risk zones.

In practice, the legislation requires sustainable purchasing and transparent supply chains with respect to certain minerals, such as tin, tantalum, wolfram and gold from conflict areas. These minerals are typically used in household goods and their electronic components, such as mobile devices and computers. External databases are used for monitoring.

In 2021, Bittium did not receive any reports on suspicions concerning minerals from conflict areas.

Avoiding counterfeit materials

Counterfeit materials are any materials whose origin, age, composition, configuration, certification status or other feature is presented falsely and with misleading markings on the material, packaging or container.

Bittium is aware of the risks associated with counterfeit materials, both when purchasing materials as ready-to-use components and when using the previously mentioned raw materials. Bittium is committed to conducting the necessary assessments to avoid using counterfeit materials in its products. The company has developed a supplier reporting method to avoid the use of counterfeit materials. The procedures address different stages of the purchasing process, starting from the selection of suppliers. Bittium´s employees are trained to identify counterfeit materials. By combining product information management with information in the material database, Bittium can respond to customer expectations regarding real-time information management in relation to counterfeit materials.

Due to the impact of the global component shortage on Bittium´s operations, new suppliers have been added to the supply chain to ensure the availability of certain components. While this may only be a temporary arrangement, diligent assessments have been conducted on the new suppliers to ensure that the materials are authentic.

No counterfeit materials were found in Bittium´s products in 2021.