Digital transformation at FACO Metalltechnik
Effects on employees and management
Much is reported about the digital transformation, but what are the implications for management and each individual?
The importance of digital development is undisputed. It is also an early realization that digital innovation must be affordable and does not have priority per se. Modern machines with digital connections and a high degree of technical intelligence are cost-intensive and are only worthwhile if they are used consistently at high capacity. One of our considerations was to purchase a new, modern press brake that would enable faster, digital planning and programming of control steps from the desk. We decided against the six-figure purchase because the payback period was still too long for us.
Going digital means greatly limiting the use of physical documents and storing everything centrally. This works very well. In the meantime, one employee has become a process manager. This activity covers about 70% of his working day. For example, he takes care of the adaptation of our ERP software BüroWARE, so that all customer information can be found in one place and can be viewed quickly. This includes invoices, contact information, orders, CAD drawings and order changes. Digitizing documents does not sound very difficult at first. However, we had to learn in complex coordination processes that it also involves the synchronization of interfaces to suppliers and customers and extends into structures outside the company. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
We are currently setting up large screens at our production machines to save CAD printouts and improve the detail display. The changeover will take about six months, after completion we will have a more effective production.
There are also exceptions where we disregard the return on investment. We're excited about 3D printing, but it's not currently playing a role in future business models. Nevertheless, we are looking to purchase equipment to stay on the cutting edge of technology and learn new things.
In our online store you can find the standard products of perforated plates with detailed product descriptions. However, the store remains a compromise solution for us as we always offer at daily prices and it is necessary to contact us. In addition, our mostly extensive and individual solutions for processing cannot be represented by a store system.
For large inquiries we prefer to communicate "conservatively" by phone. Experience shows that nothing beats close personal contact with the customer.
Other industries are ahead of us in terms of innovation leadership. On the one hand, this is a good thing, because digital pressure to innovate does not threaten the company's existence if a new technology is not implemented immediately. But how do we weigh up what is relevant for us? Our customers are our focus. The satisfaction of those we work with every day is our top priority. Digitization is definitely an important part of our work. But it is not an end in itself and changes must always be 100% beneficial to our customers in the end.