Digitalisation is a journey, not a destination

“There is no place for emotions nor opinions in production planning and increasing efficiency. Instead it is necessary to see the adequate picture of what is happening in production,” writes Ivo Laan, Production Director of Krimelte, the leading European manufacturer of construction chemistry products.

For Krimelte, who celebrated its 25th year in business last year, keeping up with the pace of digitalisation and automation has been one of the strategic goals for years. “If we look back on the so-called pre-digitalisation era, we cannot quite exactly remember how things used to be; there was probably a great deal of confusion with data and documents,” recalls Laan, adding that they were primarily motivated to move towards digitalisation due to the desire to stop doing anything that could be done by a machine instead of humans, and wishing to retrieve more detailed production data that would allow information-based decision making.

Digitalisation points out, where the shoe pinches

Today, the company has digitised the whole production chain and feedback to ERP – the parameters required for production and quality assurance throughout the process, levels and temperatures in containers, traceability of materials, stock management, purchase and sales processes, and quality control, to point out a few essential examples. For monitoring and analysing production lines, Krimelte uses the GlobalReader solution, which collects data from lines and transfers the data through a cloud to a browser; which can be viewed from smart devices. “Since we have in our house a person with solid knowledge in information systems, we had no major hindrances in integrating the solution,” tells Laan, saying that their main excpectation in implementing the solution was to see where issues arose in production, which was achieved. The solution included further integration of the ERP to log parameters, order materials and dataset feedback.

Laan says that digitalisation in Krimelte is far from finished and that there is still plenty to do in removing needless work. The future ambition is to establish ERP communication with production equipment, which would make adjustment easier.

More efficiently, faster and flexibly

According to Laan, digitalisation has a very powerful impact – efficiency, speed and flexibility increase, while reporting and communication become faster and smoother. The biggest business advantage lies in the flexibility, which Krimelte can offer to its clients – datasets move quickly between the client, supplier and company without anyone having to enter anything.

Proper background check leads to the right partner

At the onset of digitalisation, firstly it should be established what is needed and what is the goal. Enough time and human resources should be reserved for carrying out digitalisation. In the first instance, industrial enterprises can get help from service providers who have developed IT solutions for the digitalisation of various business processes. “It pays to carry out a background check on the market first, in order to find a suitable partner,” recommends Laan. Another option is to ask for advice from consultation companies who provide comprehensive advisory services in digitalisation matters. It would be worthwhile to keep an eye on the various aid and training programmes of Enterprise Estonia (EAS), as well as the support funding intended for boosting exports. “It is not certain whether we would have been able to procure our injection moulding machines at the time when we did it without the aid from EAS. Looking back, it was the right step to take, the project proved to be highly successful and we have procured even more high-pressure compression presses for plastic since,” Laan says, givin an example.

The future is environmental-friendly

When speaking about the future, in addition to growth in terms of product portfolio and geographic reach, Laan also points out corporate responsibility towards the environment and surrounding nature. “Eco-friendly and the green approach have always been important keywords that are becoming more and more essential in our field. For this reason we pay more attention to nature preservation. The slogan of our mission is We save energy, which expresses the significance of our product solutions in achieving the air-tightness of buildings and as a result lower energy costs for real estate owners.”

The article was published on Enterprise Estonia (EAS) homepage on 14th October, 2020: https://www.eas.ee/digitaliseerimine-on-teekond-mitte-lopp-punkt/

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2020