“Our integral plan for improvement has four clearly defined areas: Increasing quality, reducing delivery times, planning improvements and optimal organisation”
10 May 2021
Aitor Olaizola, JUARISTI Production Director.
Aitor Olaizola joined JUARISTI in 1999 and since then he has worked on numerous projects, including both assembling machines at JUARISTI and being in charge of commissioning machines in customer’s facilities. In 2018, he was made assembly manager and last year he took on the role of Production Director. Manager of an ambitious project to improve the production system, Olaizola is working on new methods of organisation and continuous improvement to reduce delivery times for machines and improve the quality of the processes.
“We check non-conforming operations more exhaustively. And we have set verification benchmarks in much earlier project phases, starting when the pieces are received”
JUARISTI is in the midst of a major production system improvement process. What are the goals of the project?
It is an integral improvement process for which we have set up a multidisciplinary team and we are dedicating a lot of times and energy to it. We are working on four main areas. We want to improve the quality of all our products and processes, guarantee that we meet delivery deadlines and shorten delivery times whenever possible, achieve more exhaustive planning that takes all the variables into account that have an impact on deadlines and optimise organisation methods to handle projects more efficiently.
What is being worked on to improve the quality of the processes?
We want to ensure that all components and processes meet the maximum quality standards. We check non-conforming operations more exhaustively. And we have set verification benchmarks in much earlier project phases, starting when the pieces are received by the suppliers, and with very strict compliance indicators. On the other hand, the new equipment and processes that are being done in the advanced manufacturing center are going to help us verify pieces in early phases and achieve much more efficiency in assembly.
How can delivery times be reduced?
It is going to be direct consequence of the increase in the precision of the process. By lowering the number of non-conforming operations and reacting to them with more agility we can manage to shorten times in all production phases. On the other hand, we are being much more exhaustive in planning and working with a more long-term view and involving suppliers and all the internal departments at JUARISTI in that planning. By doing that, we can get the entire value chain to have more fluid communication and work with greater synchronisation.
“We are being much more exhaustive with planning, involving suppliers and all the internal departments at JUARISTI”Aitor Olaizola
What measures have put into operation already and which ones can be expected in the short to medium term?
It is a process of continuous improvement that is going to last a long time. Most projects we work on are not for stock products, so we are constantly developing new processes and we analyse how to improve them. Despite that, there are some phases that are common to all projects and that is where we have to act when studying improvements. We are studying production milestones where we can achieve the greatest time reductions and we analyse the causes that explain the delays and come up with solutions for them. We believe we can achieve a 30 – 40 % reduction in delivery times, which is going to drastically improve our production capacity.
What are the pillars of the production process at JUARISTI?
Quality and flexibility. Quality because we are very demanding with machining tolerances for our critical pieces and very detail oriented with assembly. And flexibility because we completely adapt to the customer’s demands, even when they are communicated to us at the latest phases of production. We have a very agile response capacity for all changes.
Are those last-minute changes in plans very frequent?
We want our customers to be fully satisfied with our product. Sometimes the general characteristics of the machines are defined on a project, but there is a certain margin for decisions made later. And in the pre-acceptances or machining tests when the customer physically sees the machine, new ideas come up and small last-minute requests are made. I think that meeting those demands is something that sets us apart and something we could not do if we did not have a very dynamic production department.
In the production area, how do you handle projects with special characteristics that deviate from standard configurations?
In the last year, we have changed our organisation methods to have more fluidity, especially for those kinds of very special projects. We have split up the production department into different areas of technical specialisation – mechanical, electronic, hydraulic – and we have assigned area managers who we have periodic meetings with. That is how we have achieved better planning for all projects, especially ones with special characteristics.
How is the production process being adapted to new technologies and market demands?
We are always adapting to the requirements of our customers, who also evolve. Recently, for example, several of the most recent projects are designed with ePLAN, which facilitates the integration of all the electrical schematics and makes it possible to send them to the customer and handle them. It is a new demand that several customers are making, and we want to progressively implement it into our new machines. In any case, we always adapt because, with every new innovation or technical office development, we have to define new processes from scratch.
What new technologies have they started to incorporate into the production process?
We are gradually incorporating new tools as we find a need for them. In the last year, in addition to all the new Accuracy Cube equipment, we have included three new automatic tool warehouses, which lets us have the tools properly classified and conveniently accessible. We have also recently started using ten computers on the floor so all the operators can access the information for every project at all times.
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