For years Reinaerdt Deuren based its production on make-to-stock. The sizes of batches became smaller and smaller as the number of different designs increased. This was the reason for the company to take the strategic decision to change its production method into make-to-order with a batch size of only one item. ICT Group ensured that the new production line communicates seamlessly with the ERP system and that Reinaerdt Deuren is ready for future challenges.
Reinaerdt Deuren, which is a part of VolkerWessels, produces high-quality interior doors in approximately 10,000 different designs for domestic housing as well as the utility construction market. The company’s largest production site in Haaksbergen has a machine park that was geared towards standardised products. “For years we had large clients that purchased large numbers of identical doors, but this is changing”, says André Ebbekink, Financial Director at Reinaerdt Deuren. “The combination of size, appearance and performance requirements has resulted in an enormous diversity in designs, especially in the utility construction market. In addition, the construction process requires products that can be applied directly, with a minimum number of steps to be performed on the construction site. Processing steps that are required for the exact dimensions and milling operations for hinges and locks are preferably performed in the factory. The market wants just-in-time deliveries that can accommodate demands such as last-minute changes in dimensions. It goes without saying that speed is of the essence in this process.”
This was the reason for replacing the most important production line. The new line is capable of specification-independent production in a batch size of a single item. “A unique door is rolling off our belt every thirty seconds”, says André with a proud face. “However, this new line presented a challenge in terms of data exchange, for we had to convert a customer’s order in the ERP system into the production of a custom-made product.” In the past, the customised ERP system and the machine were intricately integrated, but now, Reinaerdt Deuren has opted for Navision’s standard software. Ebbekink: “We were looking for a modern interface between Navision and the machine – an interface with a modular design that allowed us to control the rest of the machine park in the same manner. An important requirement was a better and more transparent separation between ERP and the machine control, allowing us better insight into what’s going on in case of any control errors.”
“It was a strategic choice to team up with ICT Group and we certainly haven’t regretted making this choice.”
– André Ebbekink, Financial Director Reinaerdt Deuren
Reinaerdt Deuren came to know about ICT Group via the network. “We soon found out how much knowhow they have in the domain of production automation. The demo made us feel very confident”, André explains. “For us there was every reason to join forces. ICT Group translated our ideas into a concept that defined the technical configuration of the production automation. On the one hand we wanted a stable environment, but on the other, we want to be sufficiently flexible to accommodate future changes in our machine park. Actually they’re two sides of the same coin, but ICT managed to combine these requirements.” This was confirmed by Koen Peppelman, Business Unit Manager Machine & Systems at ICT Netherlands. “Ensuring that a door will roll off the belt every thirty seconds requires a very robust and smart solution. Together with Reinaerdt Deuren we followed an iterative process to design an interface that combines flexibility with stability.”
The software was developed simultaneously with the construction of the production line. The machine manufacturer and ICT worked together to develop the design for the interface. It took the team no more than nine months to make the step from a concept to an operational product. André: “Initially the machine manufacturer wanted to work with an older interface by means of text files, but ICT suggested that the interface should be controlled via databases. The machine manufacturer went along with the suggestion and now they even went as far as incorporating this new type of interface in their new machines.”
By now the production line has been operational for nearly two years and Reinaerdt Deuren is ready for the next step: even more efficient usage of materials. “For example: which type of wood do we need to buy, and in which sizes, in order to minimise the amount of wasted material during sawing? And how do we configure our processes as efficiently as possible to realise this? The fact that we have an incredible level of diversity makes this into a huge data issue.”
Another challenge is the need to stay up-to-date with the rapidly increasing digitisation of the construction process. André: “A growing number of construction companies are working with BIM, which stands for Building Information Model. This means that our portfolio must be available in digital format in a library.
Considering these developments, André certainly appreciates the benefit of having ICT Group as a partner. “They provided great support during the first phase of our digital transformation, and now they can help us in the thought process about future developments. It was a strategic choice to team up with ICT Group and we certainly haven’t regretted making this choice.”
Koen is happy that the two companies are facing these challenges together. “Reinaerdt Deuren is full of enthusiasm about our method of agile software development which involves a step by step transition from a concept to a working product. This method fits in seamlessly with the innovations Reinaerdt is planning to implement.”