Aloja Starkelsen

Jānis Garančs | CEO

Aloja Starkelsen dates back almost a century. In 1937, a small potato processing plant was established in a village named Ungurpils, in Vidzeme region. It was the foundation on which later, in 1991, a joint venture with the Swedish farmers’ cooperative LYCKEBY was established. Aloja Starkelsen is currently the largest producer of potato starch in the Baltic States and one of the world’s leading producers of organic potato starch. In addition to these products, perhaps you also have noticed Aloja jelly, vanilla sugar and baking powder on supermarket shelves.  

In June 2021, Latvian media published the news about ownership change in Aloja Starkelsen. Around that time our Primend representative offered them to start a cooperation – to help facilitate the complicated transition process, assisting with all IT related issues. When the company was acquired by IRLMD Food Solutions (Latvian-based company with many years of extensive international experience), the entire IT infrastructure had to be completely replaced. 

There was hard work and significant challenges ahead for both companies to accomplish major changes in a very short period of time. Negotiations on cooperation began in the summer, and by the end of 2021, the transition process already had to be completed. 

Our to-do list included separating the Microsoft 365 environments, organizing, and upgrading the network infrastructure, completely replacing hardware, implementing documentation for network equipment, and introducing IT security policies. We also had to deal wisely with various obstacles caused by the pandemic, e.g., few months long shipping delays. As the situation with the tight schedule could not tolerate such delays, our experts began looking for alternative options. 

To simplify the infrastructure and optimize costs, instead of keeping the local server, all data and systems were moved to the cloud. As Aloja Starkelsen's business and production are based in Aloja (in North Latvia, 120 km from Riga), the cloud also makes daily IT support much easier, providing the ability to handle everything remotely. When Aloja Starkelsen's opened their new office in Riga, we took care of their new IT equipment, network infrastructure and other IT related issues. 

Regarding the computer equipment, we provide it to Aloja Starkelsen as a service, not a product, by offering the option to rent it. A valuable advantage of such a solution is partial payments. The purchase of new computer equipment, costing around tens of thousands of euros, is quite large investment. Therefore, it is wiser to use it for more efficient goals, such as business development, production and human resources, generating higher returns. In addition, all equipment is insured. If a computer is damaged, the employee can continue working effectively from any other device until the damaged one is repaired or a new one is delivered. 

Daily IT support has also been improved. Previously, IT helpdesk for Aloja Starkelsen was based in Sweden, often leading to some delays in resolving issues. Moreover, the communication took place in English. Currently, IT support provided by our Primend team is quick, efficient, and offered in Latvian. 

Both companies have achieved great results with joint effort, and we plan to continue working together on new developments. Some of the prospective issues are implementing solutions for financial and production data analytics, establishing a predefined workflow, and others. 

Quality as a company value plays a very important role for both, to Aloja Starkelsen and to us in Primend. By providing professional and efficient IT support, and making day-to-day business processes easier, we ensure that Aloja Starkelsen can fully devote their time and attention to maintaining and improving quality of its products.