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Ready to book your SME Transformation journey towards Factory of the Future?

The ADMA Initiative, performed on behalf of the European Commission, strongly builds on a holistic approach.  Next to addressing transformation areas with a high technology content (T1 – Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, T2 – Digital Factory, T4 – End-To-End Customer Focussed Engineering and T6 – Smart Manufacturing), it also explicitly includes non-technological transformations (T3 – ECO Factory, T5 – Human-Centred Organisation and T9 – Value Chain Oriented Open Factory)

The ADMA consortium created a generic one-stop-shop approach for European manufacturing SMEs, consisting of 4 distinct phases:

Phase 1 : Vision & Ambition

During Phase 1, in order to capture the vision & ambition levels of the companies, the ADMA advisor will start spending time on checking the innovative capabilities of the company, the presence of an already Lean-oriented factory culture, their biggest challenges etc.

The SME will receive information and assistance on how to identify the biggest challenges, how to measure the progress of their company in their transformation process towards a factory of the future, as well as on how to define Key Performance Indicators to measure the success of the transformation process at company level.

Phase 2 : Registration & Scan

Both a short and a long version of the company scan has been made available through an online self-assessment web tool, containing a registration module. To enable the company to learn more about and actively engage with the holistic character and support possibilities of ADMA, the ADMA advisor invites the company to fill out the long version scan (51 questions). This scan exercise typically gets filled out by 4 to 5 different people of the same company. Every participant will receive a customized, personal scan feedback report. Moreover, the ADMA advisor will collect all answers into a scan analysis file and prepares a feedback session (see Phase 3).

Phase 3 : Transformation Plan

By integrating all answers from the long version scan into one scan analysis file, interesting differences between company colleagues can be exposed. Sometimes their answers align, sometimes they express different points of view. These differences need to be tackled before the company develops its plans for the future. A feedback session led by the ADMA advisor, combined with a guided tour of the workplace can be very useful in this respect. In fact, during these face-to-face conversations people hear each other’s reasons for giving certain scores and adjust their own point of view. In this way, determining the transformation priorities of the SME becomes much easier.

This feedback session yields the necessary information for the ADMA advisor to prepare an ADMA Transformation Plan. Next to summarizing the feedback session discussion, the ADMA Transformation Plan will also define and identify the (type of) partner organisations and other appropriate organisations necessary to successfully advise and assist companies along their transformation process towards becoming a next-generation factory, including relevant competence centres/clusters/field labs that provide companies with the opportunity to perform tests and trials with advanced technologies and systems, as well as organisations that can advise on innovative organisational modes.

Example of a typical journey towards creating an ADMA Transformation Plan of Marsi Group, a Slovenian Injection moulder and tool maker (21 employees) :

November 6th 2019Presentation of ADMA by Paul Peeters on Day of tooling in Slovenia
January 16th 20201st Meeting with CEO Mario Šinko to discuss the ADMA approach further
February 4th 2020Invitation to fill out the long scan
February 10th 20202nd meeting with CEO and employees to discus ADMA, factory visit
February 17th 2020 – 4 different Marsi employees fill out the ADMA long scan
February 20th 2020Feedback session between ADMA advisor Matjaz Milfelner and CEO and employees
February 27th 2020 – Start preparation of Transformation plan
March 10th 2020    – Transformation plan sent to Marsi

It has become very clear that SMEs do need (external) support. And the ADMA advisors are mainly there to understand, to listen. To understand the problems and to analyse the weaknesses and challenges to help them. Next, the ADMA advisors are there to support the SME to imagine the future, their possibilities, their chances and to begin with them the journey into the Advanced Manufacturing.

Phase 4 : Implementation Plan

Finally, Phase 4 of the ADMA one-stop-shop approach is all about how to actually implement those transformations relevant for the manufacturing SME’s journey towards becoming a Factory of the Future.

During this phase the ADMA coach will always customize the approach to the specific needs of the company. However, following implementation plan steps will prove to be applicable for any kind of manufacturing activity:

🔵 Step 1. ANALYSIS, vision and objectives

On the basis of the ADMA scan analysis described in the transformation plan, the company will now start further refining the ‘AS IS’-situation for well-defined ADMA transformation topics. Next, the ADMA coach will assist the SME in developing the implementation challenge description(s) more precisely, including the construction of specific, measurable objectives for each of the desired or necessary company breakthroughs.

🔵 Step 2. SYNTHESIS of potential solutions to meet objectives

The second phase is about closely working together with the team at the SME’s premises, thereby applying idea-harvesting techniques in efficiently organized brainstorm sessions. The aim of these joint workshops always will be to make sure that the search for potential solutions is well-structured and as complete as possible.

The ADMA coach will provide SME-support in the search for relevant solution options, including a provision of the needed resources, input from tech or solution suppliers and if relevant a listing of organizations that can help the company develop its objectives. Ideally, for every identified solution also a realistic timeline for implementation is being created during this phase…

🔵 Step 3. EVALUATION of identified solutions

This 3rd phase is all about applying a scoring mechanism to the list of identified solutions. Although this can be either done through a quick screening or through a detailed calculation, the mechanism should – again – always be tuned to the specific needs of the company.

A non-limitative list of possible evaluation criteria for the different solutions identified can include :

Investment-relatedReturn/Impact-related (= contribution to the objectives stated)
Budget needed to implement
Time to implement
Specific training needed
Amount of external support needed
Etc.  
Quality
Cost reduction
Process stability
Operator efficiency
Retention
Etc.

Data to exactly quantify the evaluation criteria are not always readily available. Therefore, ADMA coaches have started to use ranges of quantification values for making proper evaluations. An example:

🔵 Step 4. CONSOLIDATION of the ADMA implementation plan

Together with the company, the ADMA coach will write down what exactly is going to be executed at what timeframe by the employees, tech suppliers and other potential partners involved. Part of this implementation plan should always clearly state on the basis of which criteria the follow up to the plan will be measured. (When do we adjust, when is a re-evaluation needed, etc?)

Some key pointers

First of all, it’s all a team effort. Because you have to get to a very big commitment from the entrepreneur, the management.   And then you have to involve the people and take your time. The ADMA advisors and coaches will take – from Phase 1 to Phase 4 – several days with the company. And during these several days, the company team needs to be composed by all the stakeholders within the company. This means not only the managers or the entrepreneurs but also (a group of key) employees. Only then you can assure that the necessary feedback of everyone gets included into the project.

Want to get in touch with an ADMA advisor in your area? Please find the ADMA Partners and their contact details here. Is your country not listed? Please have a look at ADMA’s list of Supporting Organisations.

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