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Luxembourg did not score double. One year after FerroTech, this year’s ProdPilot  Grand-Prix was awarded to German company Parts Europe, a distributor of accessories, spare parts and clothing for motorbikes, quads/ATVs, jet skis and snowmobiles. It received the award for its “Introduction to Lean Management” project, which has considerably improved its internal processes through the principles of lean logistics.

Three Luxembourg companies had applied for this Interreg initiative, which aims to reward SMEs whose innovative productivity concepts contribute to the sustainability and economic success of the region: the SME Minusines and the large company Husky, which were selected in the final, and System Solutions.

Minusines: improved knowledge transfer

The almost century-old Luxembourg company Minusines, which specialises in the distribution of electrical equipment and professional lighting solutions, was nominated for its project “Reinvention of the traditional customer experience”. This is part of the global digital transition project “Minusines Digital & Beyond”, carried out with the support of the Ministry of the Economy.

In particular, the company has installed soundproof videoconferencing systems to enable its customers to place orders or request consultations with sales staff or experts without having to make physical contact.

“The COVID-19 crisis was certainly an accelerator for this project, but we were already engaged in such a process of modernising our retail space as part of a Fit 4 Innovation project,” explains Laurent Saeul, CEO of Minusines.

The system developed allows both to reduce customer waiting time and to ensure the optimal availability of sales staff and advisers. “The transfer of knowledge from our experts to customers has been greatly facilitated and improved,” notes Mr Saeul.

System Solutions: a collective redesign of processes

System Solutions specialises in IT infrastructure management and offers services for data centres.

The company has also participated in the Fit 4 Innovation programme. As a result, it launched the “Transformation 23” project which ran between 2018 and 2020 with the aim of increasing its productivity by implementing tools that improved the efficiency of the teams’ working methods.

Its efforts focused mainly on improving ticket processing and the customer invoicing process. “This process redefinition work was carried out with all the players involved, who were asked to validate each of the steps implemented,” explains Robert Roux, founder and CEO of System Solutions. Participatory workshops were organised with all departments in order to build an action plan.

In the end, the company substantially increased the number of hours billed for the same number of employees and greatly reduced the number of outstanding tickets and their processing time: “We divided the average resolution time by four and the ticket response time by two,” notes Mr Roux. “The implementation of these new billing and ticket management processes has resulted in a considerable increase in the company’s productivity.”

Husky, the smart factory

Husky specialises in the supply of injection moulding equipment and services for the plastics industry. Since 2016, the Canadian-based company, whose European technical centre is based in Dudelange, has been engaged in an Industry 4.0 digitalisation process as part of its “Factory of the Future” project.

The project does not only cover the rigid packaging production tool, but also the company’s sales and after-sales organisation. “We have thus devoted resources to rethinking the way we monitor the performance level of products throughout their lifecycle,” explains Mr Christophe Keller, Digital Solutions Manager at Husky.

This led to the SkyPERF project, a digital platform that hosts information on the performance level of any project related to PET bottling. The tool developed provides information on the performance commitments as proposed to customers to all parties concerned, and facilitates the sharing of experience including difficulties and potential solutions proposed.

“The system does not only concern the performance of a product, but also all related information, such as the conditions under which samples are produced and their final quality,” explains Mr Keller.

Implemented for the first time in Luxembourg, SkyPERF is planned to be rolled out worldwide in the course of 2021 and extended to the entire portfolio of rigid packaging products leaving Husky’s factories.

 

“Our Luxembourg companies are once again demonstrating that they are fully aware that change is necessary to be more competitive,” explains Caroline Muller, manager of the Materials & Manufacturing Cluster of Luxinnovation, who was member of the ProdPilot jury. “As this Grand Prix shows, they are already implementing solutions that enable them to be more productive, more efficient and more responsive to their customers.”

“With the quick-check tool, which we developed in the frame of Project ProdPilot, we offer the companies an outstanding tool to identify improvement opportunities related to their readiness for Industry 4.0 and lean operation. The Grand Prix, which was won by a Luxembourg company last year, is a great opportunity to show the competitiveness of the SMEs in the Greater Region, who heavily rely on our research support,” adds Peter Plapper, Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Luxembourg, the other national representative in the jury.

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