Founded in 1989 by Nico Betzen, master blacksmith, the company bearing his name has developed over the years in various metal construction skills. La Ferronnerie d’Art Nico Betzen now has a modern workshop equipped with 2000m2, for forged work or modern units. It employs around 40 people and generated a turnover of €3.6 million in 2018.

As it celebrated its 20th anniversary, the company questioned itself and conducted an in-depth analysis of its situation to ensure that its processes are still optimal and, if necessary, to improve them.

The diagnosis carried out as part of the Fit 4 Innovation programme focused on the roles and responsibilities of each party; transparency from the initial request to order; budget control; management of technological innovation and processes; and purchasing and sales site management.

The company has given itself all the means to make this exercise a success: most of the working sessions were developed in groups and a room was specially designed for this purpose, with a whiteboard and a wall screen to collect ideas and visualise the presentations.

There were therefore many areas to reflect upon and improvements were considered at several levels: a clearer definition of everyone’s responsibilities for the basic processes, which made it possible to improve the day-to-day management processes. A communication plan has been developed and checklists have been drawn up.

A visual management system was also used to provide an overview of the status of current orders. “This has led to better tracking of requests and a 10% increase in the success rate,” explains Christophe Betzen, project manager at the company. “In the end, our revenue was improved and our performance was higher, as our orders were chosen more selectively.”

Saves on purchase

On the budgetary level, a tool has been developed to simply extract the necessary financial data in order to be able to continuously monitor the company’s financial situation. “It also gives us the opportunity to do simulations, which gives us a better control of the company’s future.”

The management of innovation and technological processes has also been an important part of the work carried out, with the introduction of a “project” approach allowing better control of these processes, allowing both higher production and a lower error rate.

Finally, a complete supplier analysis was carried out and contractual relationships were reviewed. “This allows us to save between 2% and 5% on our purchases, better understand our supply chain and find new suppliers.”

The experience has been sufficiently conclusive for the company to consider further development.

  1. “This programme is clearly a good programme when you want to improve your internal processes. The next step in our development could be to request admission to  the Fit 4 Digital programme, in order to examine in depth the durability of existing software packages as well as the potential of the new IT solutions available.”

Photos: Blitz/Luxinnovation

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