World leader of automatic door systems for buses
Ventura Systems, founded in 1994, employs 250 people worldwide, 180 of whom work in Bolsward. A tour of the factory shows that there is a lot involved before a door system for a (regional) bus can be delivered. Engineers, software specialists and mechanics are constantly working on improvements and refinements. The requirements are high', Kevin Visser knows. A bus door must always work and be safe.
Ventura Systems has the wind in its sails. Public transport is growing, governments are investing heavily in mainly electric and clean buses and so the orders for door systems are 'pouring in'. And not just here in Bolsward', says Kevin Visser. Our sales offices in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany are also doing extremely well. And not to forget the US, where we have a second production location.
It all gets very complex
Totally fine of course, but Ventura Systems is reaching its limits. It is all becoming very complex', says director and co-owner Jan Lont. We supply large and small bus manufacturers, including Daimler, VDL, MAN, Scania and Volvo. In Europe, Asia and America. Manufacturers who are constantly innovating and want to bring new bus types onto the market. Older types are also still being produced and sometimes a door of the same type and design has to be replaced.
This means that we now manage an enormously wide range of products. We have more than 1600 different types of glass in our database alone and a multitude of parts for the systems: aluminium profiles, closing rubbers, electric motors, compressors, lighting, sensors, and so on. Overview is important.
Ventura Systems has the wind in its sails. Public transport is growing, governments are investing heavily in mainly electric and clean buses and so the orders for door systems are 'pouring in'. And not just here in Bolsward.
Technology Manager - Ventura Systems
Each order is processed separately
Several years ago, Ventura Systems switched to order-driven production. 'We don't keep anything in stock', Kevin Visser adds. Each order, for about 18.000 door systems annually, is now processed separately. We do not produce anything here. We design within the existing specifications and order all components and semi-finished products from suppliers. Here in Bolsward or in the US, our people assemble the door systems after which we deliver them to our customers. The need for more automation was growing. We sat down with Cadac. Their approach started with clearly formulating our vision of the future and then defining measurable sub-goals.
Achieving sub-goals by identifying competences
Next, an inventory was made of the competences needed to achieve the sub-goals. An important competency is to be able to process orders through different processes such as Configure to Order (CtO), Engineering to Order (EtO) and Design to Order (DtO). With so-called scoping workshops, project plans have been made that deliver the required competencies based on IT solutions. Finally, with a Proof Of Concept based on Autodesk software, Cadac Organice Vault, NXTdim configurator and PLM it was demonstrated that the final solution would work. In essence, Ventura will be standardising and modularising extensively, but not at the expense of flexibility and possibilities.
The design of a program plan
Designing a program plan for a future-proof ICT environment is certainly not a non-committal task. It took quite some doing to get clear with the management of Ventura Systems what the ambitions and goals are for the longer term and what is needed to realise them. They were tough conversations', Kevin Visser recalls. Shouting that you want to be the best sounds nice. But what are you prepared to do in return? Together with Cadac we are now drawing up product definitions so that product platforms and master models can be used to configure an infinite number of combinations for customer-specific orders. That is quite a change, but in this way Ventura can profit optimally from the power of repetition. To realise a change, more is needed than software tooling. Taking the people with you and guiding them is at least as important and here too Cadac fulfils an important role.
Really going into depth
Bert Assen, Strategic Account Manager at Cadac, agrees. When we are asked if we can take a customer to the next level, we see it as a strategic challenge. Not to install a "piece" of software, but to really go into depth and make a plan together to achieve the objectives. That is how we at Cadac become a partner of the customer instead of a supplier. We stand for Enabling digital.
A good investment
In the end, Jan Lont and Kevin Visser had to defend the program plan with investments for the projects to the shareholders. We succeeded', says Kevin, 'because we have a complete argumentation in which the projects are related to our vision, with an accompanying planning and argumentation of the Return On Investment. There are no open ends or financial surprises in this cooperation. After eighteen months, we start earning back the investment'.
Flexibility is key
Constantly adapting and innovating, is the automation plan of more than two years really geared to these needs? Yes, definitely', concludes Bert Assen. All projects and the program plan are regularly evaluated and adjusted if necessary, because the development of the market, the organisation and the technology does not stand still. Flexibility is key.