The MONDRAGON Corporation is a federation of worker cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain. It was founded in the town of Mondragon in 1956 by graduates of a local technical college, and its first product was paraffin heaters. They joined the ADMA initiative as a Supporting Organisation (SO) brought by the partner EURECAT, a tech centre that helps SMEs adopt innovative technologies, and thanks to their great job spreading the ADMA Methodology, thay have become the best SO of the last quarter of 2019.
EURECAT helped MONDRAGON with the ADMA Methodology and supporting material for the elaboration of the Transformation Plan of UROLA, an innovative SME part of the MONDRAGON Corporation that offers solutions to produce blow moulded containers as well as the containers themselves.
We interviewed Naiara Goia, the Innovation Lead for Business and Social Transformation at MONDRAGON, to discover their experience as a Supporting Organisation:
What work have you carried out with SMEs so far?
We have carried out the Transformation Plan at Urola (short/long scan), providing all the added support to:
- Explain to them the methodology and their benefits to help them understand the process.
- Provide insights and know-how from similar experiences, to improve their production process (scan feedback).
- Encourage them to participate in the process as a way to boost their digital transformation (ADMA assessments bring in new insights and key transformation areas to be evaluated).
- Make visible the benefits of participating in the process: knowledge sharing, benchmark with other SMEs at European level, access to experts and other advisors, etc.
At UROLA they have two business units:
- UROLA Solutions: they develop advanced solutions for the packaging manufacture with blow moulding technology.
- UROLA Packaging: they manufacture a wide and diverse range of plastic containers for the food industry and non-food industries.
The company was awarded with the prize ‘The Best Technological SME’ among over 100 companies at regional level (Basque Country). They also participated in an Industry 4.0maturity assessment led by MONDRAGON two years ago. They have adopted several digitisation projects and carried out a set of initiatives proposed in the action plan, which shows that they have a clear vision for their path towards the ‘Factory of the Future’.
What would you indicate as your main added value when working with SMEs?
At MONDRAGON we support the SMEs’ digitalisation strategy, bringing in new perspectives and ideas to explore other references and/or best practices that can be inspirational. This helps to accelerate their digital transformation and enables them to activate new dynamics with different actors (ADMA community, other experts, the advisors…). We also raise awareness of the impact of advanced manufacturing technologies in the business and to make the benefits visible.
SMEs have limited resources and human capital devoted to this type of exercise, since they put the focus on daily business to respond to their customer needs. In our case it is remarkable that the employees (at managerial and non-managerial level) were involved in the whole process, so this fact has enhanced the understanding and the impact of the ADMA Methodology.
Which benefits do you think the SMEs want to get from ADMA? What are their real needs?
- Benchmarking their company with other similar companies at EU level.
- Discovering the needs of their company to keep or to win competitiveness.
- Prioritising the needs of their company and receiving sound transformation suggestions.
- Engaging with the ADMA Community, having access to a wide set of best practices, know-how and interesting references.
- Networking with experts and advisors to get advantage of their expertise and valuable contribution on the priority and strategies areas for the SMEs.
- Bring in new ideas to enhance the impact of technology and advanced solutions in their processes and products.
What will be the focus of your ADMA work the coming months?
We are very interested in being engaged in the Implementation Plan for UROLA. Therefore, we will work in close collaboration with our SME and the ADMA network of other advisors and experts. The goal is to support the SME to reach an efficient implementation plan of the identified and selected solutions (and if possible to help them make a multi-annual plan for the deployment of those solutions).
We are also willing to share our experience with other agents, and learn from other Supporting Organisations and SMEs in the ADMA network.
Third, we are especially interested in understanding the ‘Analysis of investments, impact and risk’. That is why it would be very valuable to learn from coaches and experts, to explore the benefits of such analysis for the SMEs. Ultimately, we will like to explore the options to scale and replicate the methodology to other SMEs in MONDRAGON Corporation’s ecosystem.
Besides, UROLA will focus on the following actions:
- Putting in place the innovative action following the suggestions in the Transformation Plan, with special focus in the following strategic priorities (key transformations) already identified (Digital Factory, Eco-factory, Manufacturing Technologies).
- Following the Implementation Plan. UROLA shows a special interest in the ‘Analysis of investments, impact and risk’.
- Complementing the implementation process with their ongoing action plan within the Digital Transformation Framework on their way to become a Factory of the Future.
What’s your advice towards SMEs that didn’t step in yet?
Tomorrow’s factories will be efficient, competitive, connected, green and smart. The world’s leaders in manufacturing are already well positioned, and have the resources to champion the needed transitions in this journey. If the SMEs do not embark on this effort to create an orderly transformation, then the risk of being left behind would rise.
SMEs will need support to make rapid transitions that will remake established systems of production and work, distribution and consumption. So this initiative and the ADMA community support is an excellent opportunity for all SMEs to start their journey to become a Factory of the Future.
What’s your advice towards other ADMA advisors to provide real added value to SMEs?
It’s very important to get involved with the SMEs’ team and to understand their needs. It is about understanding their challenges and opportunity areas, but also their difficulties and barriers. That is essential to better address their needs and priorities, and to bring in valuable support, feasible ideas and the good connections needed to provide read added value.
Another important aspect is the advisors’ task in encouraging the company, raising awareness and making visible the benefits of starting such a transformation journey. If the SMEs want to stay competitive, if they don’t want to be left behind, they don’t have the choice!
About Naiara Goia, Innovation Lead for Business and Social Transformation
Naiara Goia (@adma_mondragon) has 20 years of experience in the development of strategic complex projects with international dimension and in the management of multidisciplinary teams. She currently works for MONDRAGON Corporation, and leads multiple initiatives to promote digital transformation and the introduction of new business models in different industrial organisations.
Besides, she has the responsibility to understand opportunities enabled by social and technological innovation in the business context, as well as to explore the social benefits that it brings to the well-being of people.
Naiara is interested in networking collaboration to understand and provide an innovative community response to major socio-economic challenges that affect us all. She holds a Master’s Degree in Telecommunications Engineering and an MBA in Business Management.