A smooth workflow, from offer to delivery, with minimum internal waiting times and maximum deployment of capacity
With more than 55 years of experience, Goudsmit Magnetics is one of the world’s leading magnet manufacturers. The development, engineering, and production of magnet systems takes place at the company’s headquarters in Waalre in the Netherlands. These magnet systems are destined for use in metal separation, metal handling, and recycling in a variety of branches of industry worldwide.
In 2009, the turnover at Goudsmit Magnetics dropped for the first time since 1959 due to the economic crisis. The company also faced the problem of inadequate delivery reliability. Things had to change! The ‘Lean’ course of action was initiated and the company was able to double profits in 2013 while retaining the same level of turnover. How? Through the optimisation and standardisation of processes and workflows.
The focus was placed on the factor of time: a smooth workflow, from offer to delivery, with minimum internal waiting times and maximum deployment of capacity. Jurgen Beks, Operations Manager, explains, ''In a 'war room' setting, we examined all our information and production flows, after which we set up four steering groups for planning, production, first-time-right information, and standardisation. Independently of each other, they soon came to the conclusion that the work processes needed to be completely overhauled in order to create an organisation with better planning possibilities.''
Standardisation & automation
Besides the structured establishment of product specifications, large-scale investments have been made in the engineering department relating to standardisation, product configurators, and Product Data Management (PDM) software. Autodesk Vault has been chosen for the central management of product information and for revision and version management.
We now have 100% control and up-to-date insight into current orders, and can get instant answers to questions about orders.
Technical Director - Goudsmit Magnetics
Time and cost savings
''As we no longer wanted to keep reinventing the wheel, we opted for the NXTdim Best Practice from Cadac Group. Finally, we no longer have to take care of implementation, development, and maintenance in house, which saves us a lot of time and expense. In addition, we have adopted the PDM vision and the product-based thinking of Cadac Group, and these now occupy a central position throughout our organisation.''
More time for R&D and innovation
Ad Jacobs, Technical Director, continues, ''Previously, various things used to go wrong on a regular basis, as sales staff, production staff, and suppliers were not working with up-to-date design information. Now, an engineer must first release their design before the other departments can start working on it (first-time-right information).
While ERP used to be 'sacred' to the entire organisation, CRM is now part of the sales process, PDM is part of the design process, and ERP is the primary tool in the production process.'' Rob Heeren, Application Manager, adds, ''Every system now has its own fixed procedures and added value within the organisation. We are noticing that, thanks to PDM, the engineering department once again has time for R&D and product improvements. PDM therefore provides us with more than just savings in terms of man-hours.''
Rob Heeren continues, ''Correct versions, revisions, and working with drawings released by the engineering staff is not only important for production, it is also essential in the purchasing process. Here, too, we have taken big steps forward with the development of a purchasing portal.
In the mornings, our buyers need only glance at the new orders and then send them to our suppliers (of whom there are around 100) with the touch of a button. Our suppliers then receive an automated e-mail containing a link to the purchasing portal, where they can assess, accept, or reject the order including all the documentation and drawings. As the purchasing portal is linked to the PDM system in real time, there are no longer any discussions about which version of a drawing is the latest version. This therefore means an end to sending files to and from, and to e-mail exchanges that become untraceable and unmanageable.''
Fast, efficient, and, above all, reliable
The purchasing portal makes the entire ordering process clear and transparent. Ad Jacobs explains, ''We now have 100% control and up-to-date insight into current orders, and can get instant answers to questions such as: Has the supplier looked at the assignment? Is the supplier going to take action? What is the order status? What is the delivery time? And so on. It is very visual, with colour-coding and smart filtering options.''
''While previously every order was treated as an exception, we can now focus our attention on orders that are genuinely different or 'special'. The rest takes care of itself,'' adds Jurgen Beks. ''Our buyers are therefore no longer occupied with tracing the order flow (in a whole range of Excel spreadsheets), but rather with identifying bottlenecks.
Instead of placing orders, our buyers are now concentrating on actual purchasing activities, and negotiations at higher levels. Whereas we previously needed three employees taking care of the ordering process full-time, we now only need one.''
A wealth of information for suppliers
Jurgen Beks continues, ''All our suppliers make use of the purchasing portal. They consider this to be a great step forwards, too. It offers them a wealth of information, and that information is also completely up to date.
Without having to look in their own systems, they know exactly what they have to deliver, the quantity, by when, and at what price, as well as which orders are still open, and they can download the correct version of the drawings (as released by the engineer).''
The next step
Processes have now been automated. The flow has been optimised throughout the company. Production times have halved, and the delivery reliability has increased from 50-60% to 95%. Jurgen Beks adds, ''As we now have greater control over and insight into our engineering and purchasing processes, we can work much more efficiently and get more done with fewer people. The next step is a paper-free production and invoice handling process, to ensure that the production staff always work with the latest versions and revisions.''