Haelvoet has been designing and manufacturing stylish and comfortable healthcare furniture since 1931. With more than 230 employees in Belgium and Romania, Haelvoet works daily on new, ergonomic solutions for, among others, hospitals, care institutions and small-scale residences.
For its professional customers, Haelvoet is constantly looking for the most suitable solution that increases the user's independence and allows the nursing staff to focus on care. Haelvoet is a total partner for healthcare furniture. From fixed furniture and interior finishing to loose furniture, logistics and aftercare, everything is done in-house.
More info at haelvoet.be.
From the constant drive to support manufacturing companies in their growth process, SQUADRON and Haelvoet came into contact with each other. Haelvoet's initial request was to draw up a digital roadmap for the coming years so that their digital processes would be safeguarded in the future.
Outdated ERP system
Due to the outdated ERP software, Haelvoet faced a number of challenges. For example, creating a quotation could take up to 3 days because of the complexity of the product and sales configurator in the ERP system. Besides the demand for a user-friendly configurator, the ERP system itself was called into question.
Need to digitise internal communication
Another major concern was internal communication. This was running unstructured via e-mail, phone, forms, etc. Although the system had been functioning this way for many years, questions began to be asked about this way of working as well as the efficiency of processing this important data. How much is lost? How much gets to the right place and to the right person? How fast is the processing done? Moreover, there was a clear need to be able to perform analyses, which was not possible with this way of working.
Based on Haelvoet's input and the joint brainstorming with SQUADRON, a Bluepaper was developed. This clearly explains SQUADRON's vision of the processes and the steps to be taken for Haelvoet.
Low-hanging-fruit solutions with the Qura-App
By engaging in dialogue with Haelvoet, SQUADRON discovered low-hanging-fruit solutions. These are ideal solutions that relate to the production process where most value is created within Haelvoet. And which can also be rolled out quickly and budget-friendly. One of the proposals was QURA. QURA is an application developed by SQUADRON.
With the development of the customised QURA app, any problem in production can be easily registered and tracked via smartphone, tablet and PC. This generated a lot of interest among the Haelvoet team.
Company visit to discover the practice
To reinforce this interest, SQUADRON arranged a non-binding company visit to STAS in Waregem, where QURA has been used successfully for years. This allowed Haelvoet's people to discover first-hand the added value of this app in practice. Working with team boards was also discovered in this production environment. Haelvoet's people also directly experienced the possibilities of these team boards for their organisation.
Start of a fruitful collaboration
The conclusion of this visit? The Haelvoet team was convinced that both QURA and team boards would be efficient solutions. On this basis, it was decided to start the cooperation with SQUADRON.
Production director Jan Knockaert of Haelvoet put these objectives first:
Haelvoet gave priority to working out the team boards together with Marcel Posthumus of SQUADRON. This was based on the belief that this system could make a significant contribution in the Haelvoet structure. An earlier project to implement 5S boards had not come to fruition. It was of the utmost importance that a sustainable and lively system that clearly creates added value be established.
Haelvoet holds ISO 9001 certification and consequently had procedures with numerous forms for employees to report problems. In fairness, Jan Knockaert testifies that this was not the most efficient system. To optimise this process, all procedures that took place via forms were elaborated in the QURA app.
Meanwhile, anyone can now make a report in a smooth manner. In addition to production disturbances on the shop floor, this can also include problems related to safety, maintenance, stock, planning, IT, design, logistics, communication, etc. For each report, a department is assigned to which a responsible person is linked.
Besides the app, Haelvoet has a portal with a clear overview. Here, the person responsible easily manages all calls, specifically for his or her department.
Gain in speed and communication
When a problem arises, the person responsible is notified immediately via e-mail, allowing the problem to be addressed quickly. The team leaders in production follow this up and feedback from these solutions is discussed at the daily team meeting around the team board.
Quickly integrated into the corporate culture
QURA has meanwhile become quite well established within Haelvoet. The app is used by the four production departments, the technicians on site and the administrative departments in Belgium. In Romania, the app is also used by the production managers and the quality department. Translations are done quasi automatically.
In addition, the people on the shop floor receive feedback not only on the interim status but also on how a sustainable solution to their specific problem was achieved. This way of working, stimulates involvement and is important for Haelvoet.
A production problem is identified in the assembly department. This is reported in the QURA app with text and photos that can be quickly entered on site via smartphone or tablet. Immediately, the product managers in Belgium receive this notification. The problem is discussed during the daily team meeting and is often forwarded to Romania the same day. With the old procedure, this process usually took a week. Now this can be done immediately.
Meanwhile, the intercompany split of the QURA app has been rolled out for the branches in Belgium and Romania. And around blocking goods that do not comply with quality control, the app has also been expanded. The integration of QURA within the sales team for complaints reporting will be launched soon.
New stock management solutions with QURA
Despite the ISO 9001 procedure with forms, Haelvoet is struggling with an error burden of stock data in the ERP system. Correct stock is vital for Haelvoet production. Although Haelvoet's QURA app was not initially developed for this purpose, SQUADRON will soon implement an extension to this app that will allow people to easily pass on stock adjustments. The fact that this can be done in the same app means great added value for Haelvoet.
Comprehensive analysis tools
Furthermore, Haelvoet wants to work on comprehensive analysis tools in the near future to encourage team leaders to take even more targeted actions. The objective is to pinpoint exactly where specific production problems manifest themselves.
Jan Knockaert, Haelvoet:
"The cooperation with SQUADRON went very smoothly. In the beginning it wasn't obvious because we couldn't form a picture at all. But by working on it myself, I did start to get an idea of the possibilities of the app. At SQUADRON's first proposal, we were not yet on the same page. But SQUADRON then switched gears very quickly, enabling us to quickly reach the desired result."
Dries Dewulf, SQUADRON:
"The great advantage of the technology we use is precisely this flexibility. You can switch and make adjustments very quickly because of our working method. It is a utopia to believe that you can install the same app in every company. Every company is unique and has its own way of working, SQUADRON dares to go along with that. This helps in change management because people feel you have insight into what is happening on the shop floor. This app is not sold in a standard form as there are many on the market. We start from the basics. This represents about 70%. The other 30% is customised for the client. That is precisely the strength of Microsoft PowerApps."
Marcel Posthumus, SQUADRON:
"It was nice that the QURA app was developed together with the team boards. The same mindset used by the team leaders for the team boards could be used to build the app in the same logic. And that is very company-specific."
Jan Knockaert, Haelvoet:
"SQUADRON remains an important partner for us. We can always count on them for support. We have now also started a new project with SQUADRON to create an HR training flow where we also use the Microsoft Apps. This is also an advantage in terms of budget and licence management."
A culture change is clearly noticed within Haelvoet. Both working with the team boards and the QURA app are perceived as very positive among employees. The enthusiasm of the team leaders also soon became apparent as people were walking back and forth on the production floor much less. And engagement on the shop floor palpably increased.
"It is now a year that we have been working with the QURA app and we already have more than 2,000 notifications. Everyone can now give input via smartphones, tablets and PCs. We can conclude that the QURA app is intensively used."
The sawing department cuts all kinds of panels and a robot assembles them into ready-to-assemble packages. If one notices an error in one of the parts during assembly, one takes a picture of the barcode and the error is reported in the QURA app. Immediately, the wood department planner receives the error report and the piece can be put back into the sawing schedule. The savings in time and efficiency are enormous compared to the old procedure with the forms. Moreover, an analysis of the causes of the errors can now also be made. And optimisations can be made structurally across departments on the basis of concrete data. This not only results in time savings and profitability, but also has an ecological impact due to much less loss of materials.
Jan Knockaert, Haelvoet:
"I can say that with Haelvoet we have found a reliable partner in SQUADRON. We can regard the evaluation of this project as very positive. The extensions of the QURA app and the new projects we are developing with them prove this. The team boards are used daily and represent real added value in our teamwork. What we have worked out with SQUADRON affects the whole company. We have managed to replace all procedures that went through forms with a user-friendly app which has not only made the communication flows within our company much faster and more efficient, but also provides important data to further shape our business."