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The NAPA Way – new self-managed route to success

by Juhana Salminen, Quality and Process Coach at NAPA 

How a 30-year-old maritime software product company has turned its course to a new era

Selfmanaged route to success

In its 30 years of operation, NAPA has become a global leader in software, services, and data analysis for the maritime industry. We provide data-led solutions for safety, efficiency, and productivity in both ship design and operations. Starting as a small business unit at the Wärtsilä shipyard in Finland, NAPA has grown to be a truly global company with nearly 200 employees in eleven countries around the world.

In autumn 2016, we started to investigate self-management and Teal organization as a way to organize and operate our company. After investigations and a series of internal workshops, we made three remarkable decisions:

  1. Changing from a functional organization to business units (three business units + business support)
  2. Taking into use self-management, i.e., no bosses/superiors, as the management model. This meant in practice that the number of superiors dropped from about 40 to 1.
  3. Control and approvals were replaced with transparency and freedom to make decisions.

The new organizational units were staffed during March 2017 and “New NAPA”, as we called it back then, was launched April 1st, 2017. No, it wasn’t an April fool joke although some may have wanted it to be.

Afterward, it is easy to say that it has been worth it although the ride has been a quite bumpy one, especially in the beginning, in 2017. However, our achievements so far are extremely encouraging. We must have done something right during the last three years.

The year 2019 was NAPA’s 30th anniversary, and what a great year it was. This is what we achieved:

  • Best customer satisfaction ever and a huge improvement from the previous years
  • Hugely improved employee satisfaction and the continuous upward trend
  • Good improvement in revenue in three years and the highest revenue ever
  • Remarkable improvement in profit in three years
  • Best sales in New Contract Value (NCV) ever
  • First time zero non-conformity from ISO 9001 external quality audit
  • Best measured product quality ever
  • We don’t know any other (software) product or ISO 9001 certified company in Finland being self-managed. Please let us know if there are any other self-managed product companies. It would be extremely interesting to meet and learn from each other.

This is the first blog post in a series of blog posts revealing our journey, sharing our learnings and our thoughts for the future. These blog posts tell the NAPA Way – the way how we together manage and continuously improve NAPA as a company, as a workplace, and as a member of society.

Do you want to be part of a great success story? Please visit NAPA Careers.


This blog was first published on LinkedIn on 14 February 2020 by Juhana Salminen.

This is the first blog in a series of postings about The NAPA Way – the way how we together manage and continuously improve NAPA as a company, as a workplace, and as a member of society. The first article tells about our achievements in our three-year-journey in self-management and Teal.


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