Heering is a fifth-generation family business that operates internationally and has specialized since 1865 in the development of innovative and sustainable transport solutions for the agricultural sector. The company has earned its position as one of the world’s leading day-old chick transport producers through decades of research into the biological and physiological aspects of birds in transit.
Is modular production smart? At Heering Holland in Vaassen they are already reaping the benefits of a recent switch to the production method. “We have been able to reduce the delivery time from 8 to 2 weeks,” says Frank-Jan Evers, operational director at the company.
Heering opted for modular production of products such as climate solutions for animal transport because the company saw opportunities to grow. Evers: “The owner of Heering wanted to continue working, but found that the production capacity was insufficient. Especially for the jump from 30 or 40 cars to the construction of perhaps 500 cars per year. You can’t suddenly pull open a can of certified professionals. Operating smarter is always an option.”
Product Architecture Mapping
By placing the growth ambition next to the existing production processes, it became clear which changes were needed. Heering used Product Architecture Mapping for this. The functionality of the cooling units was mapped, as was the variety per functional area and the available and required knowledge. Evers: “The aim was to make the production elements and processes scalable. A modular design with the use of cassettes for the cooling units turned out to be the Egg of Columbus. Thanks to the modular design, we can also greatly reduce the number of parts. This would also have a positive effect on the service and the delivery of the accompanying documentation. An additional positive effect is that we can improve the monitoring of the service, although that step is still in the pipeline.”
Automate the purchasing process with Tradecloud
Modular construction mainly means working smarter. It is important that a company also takes steps in the purchasing process. Heering does this by automating the order processing process. This shortened lead times, gave a sharper picture of the number of articles in circulation, and reduced the administrative organization’s administrative burden. “Supply Chain Platform Tradecloud ensures that no one is involved in the purchasing process anymore.” At Heering, Tradecloud works together with Exact ERP for the financial and production processes and Quootz as a sales process optimization system.
Fitting supply chain
Heering’s turnover quadrupled, the number of employees remained the same. “We have made everything transparent, everyone has the necessary information. This created time to focus on things that help the company distinguish itself.” Heering does this by continuously looking for suppliers that match the specific supply chain and the products that the Vaassen company makes. “You need to know which type of product you put in which chain. That is a level of abstraction higher than thinking in prices.”
Change = necessary
Producing companies will increasingly be forced to adjust their production processes, Evers believes. “Everything has to be faster, better and preferably more cost-efficient. Many companies are struggling with the growing variety of product versions by an increasingly demanding customer. Sales are struggling to translate customer wishes into flawless quotations and to make clear to the factory what they should make. The factory, in turn, struggles to work out what sales have sold. But also to precisely specify for the supplier, to produce / assemble, manage and service.” The operations director states that things can and must be done differently. “By organizing the cooperation between sales and the factory around the product, you can quickly arrive at a modular product, so that sales and factory speak the same language.”