"The advantages of Configure to Order over Engineering to Order are enormous"
Goudsmit Magnetics in Waalre is regarded worldwide as a specialist in the field of magnetic systems. The family business develops and supplies installations to hundreds of customers in the manufacturing industry, primarily in Europe and increasingly in Asia.
In close cooperation with Cadac, Goudsmit has now switched to a sales-engineering configurator. The advantages of Configure to Order over Engineering to Order are enormous," says manager Leander van der Palen.
Faster and cheaper with CTO
Recycling - one of Goudsmit's markets - is essential to building the much-desired circular, sustainable economy, so the demand for waste separators is growing explosively. The installations that extract and separate valuable metals from waste are particularly popular. Several years ago, the management already foresaw a strong growth in demand, and Configure Me consultants were called in to examine the entire business processes.
In the old situation, an engineer would always build a complete machine. Now, he builds the installation with standard modules.
Leander van der Palen
Manager Goudsmit Magnetics
''There had to be a profit, that was clear from the start,'' says Leander van der Palen, responsible for marketing and manager of the business unit where Eddy Current separators are built. These are machines the size of a large truck in which powerful magnets hurl various metals from a conveyor belt of waste and sort them at the same time.
In fact, each installation was designed and built all over again, customer-specific. In terms of design alone, this was a major task that quickly took up a working week. We also saw bottlenecks in production. For example, there were errors in the drawings, not all parts were in stock and transport sometimes caused problems. Some machines did not fit in a truck or a sea container, for example. In short, the total lead time of an order was too long. Engineering and production in particular could benefit from the implementation. Costs had to be reduced and customers had to be served more quickly so as not to lose them to our competition.
Three years ago Goudsmit initiated the transition from Engineering to Order to Configure to Order . Part of this transition was the implementation of a sales and engineering configurator that allows products to be configured for an order. This may seem like a long process," says Michel Nelissen, account manager at Cadac, which has owned Configure Me since June, "but these are far-reaching changes.
It is not a matter of installing a software program and that's it. Before the complete database can be filled, choices must first be made (standardisation) by a multidisciplinary team according to a new process. Besides filling, this process also provides for the maintenance of the database. Then there is the link with other systems in the company. Warehouse, production floor, logistics. All processes are affected. Accuracy is a key requirement. And perhaps the biggest change of all: the engineers are going to work in a completely different way.
Behind the scenes, everything is digitalised, the customer doesn't notice a thing. Only that he is served faster.
That's absolutely right," Leander van der Palen agrees. ''In the old situation, an engineer would always build a complete machine. Now he builds the installation with standard modules. In such a change, it is extremely important to convince, guide and take people along. That takes time. At first, people are sceptical and think that their work will be boring, because a valid design and the corresponding correct quotation are now ready in an hour. However, this is actually the key to much more interesting work, because now the engineer finally has time to work on innovation and expanding or improving the platform with standard modules. Installations like this can always be improved. With new magnet systems, for example. We also want to produce more and sell more outside Europe. There is plenty of work to do'.
With the engineering configurator, different types and sizes of waste separator can be assembled and produced. Doesn't that mean fewer options for the customer? ''No,'' says Michel Nelissen. The choice is even greater. However, standard modules are used for every installation. That makes no difference to the dimensions and the options. Behind the scenes, everything is digitalised, the customer doesn't notice a thing. Only that he is served faster.
The benefits are becoming increasingly clear in practice, says a satisfied Leander van der Palen. We can plan much better, produce faster and the bottlenecks in production have all but disappeared. This reduces the cost price and makes us more competitive.
Another significant improvement is in logistics and transport. The modules can be transported separately, so you never have the problem that the installation does not fit in a container. This offers more flexibility, both by road and by water. We are more manoeuvrable, and that fits in with Goudsmit's ambitions to capture more of the market outside Europe. And assembly is no problem. The modules can be attached to each other with simple bolts.
Goudsmit Magnetics is a perfect example of a company that wants to innovate and digitalise.
Michel Nelissen, together with his colleague Marcel de Goey who was previously involved in the project on behalf of Configure Me, looks back on an intensive period. Certainly, digitalisation is necessary, but it takes time. Marcel started with extensive knowledge sessions, then we spent a long time building the database, and of course we trained all the people involved. We are very proud of this. Goudsmit Magnetics is a perfect example of a company that wants to innovate and digitalise. Here we can show what we can do with our services, experts and software-solutions.’
Cadac is not yet finished in Waalre, Leander van der Palen promises. Next year we are going to implement software that will enable our customers to operate the online sales configurator themselves. And I think that after this example we can also make other product packages smarter within Goudsmit.
With 160 employees we develop and produce dozens of magnetic systems for hundreds of customers each year. It is obvious that we will use the sales configurator on several fronts. Cadac is an excellent partner for us. More of a partner than a supplier.