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Agility and Customer-Centricity

Faced with the impact of the 2008 downturn in the Spanish building market the Etex plant in Portillo faced some tough decisions. The fluctuation in seasonal demands meant flexibility was key and colleagues in the plant needed to expand their skill-base – becoming all-round specialists on every machine. The team we invested in a new factory lay-out to optimise the flexibility of production lines. Colleagues rose up to the challenge of a difficult and volatile market with an agile, demand-driven production system, powered by a multiskilled on-the-ground production team.

Etex colleagues exchanging valuable expertise

Workers who were specialists in the technology of one production line needed to learn to operate the other lines. To train all workers, colleagues rotated over a period of several weeks – learning new techniques, skills and gaining valuable tricks of the trade from their experienced colleagues.

To match the new flexibility of our people, we also optimised the flexibility of our production lines. The re-engineering took several months of intense collaboration with other Etex factories. It was truly international teamwork, involving the specific know-how and expertise of our entire Etex organisation.

Flexibly approaching seasonable demand would make us more resilient and even better at keeping the customer at the core of our solutions.

Fernando Casado Aparicio, Portillo Plant Manager

Investing in flexible production lines

While the future is never certain, we approach it calmly because our operations are optimised to fit with the market.

Alberto Martín, Production Operator

The new factory layout allows us to switch production much faster. Today the plant can make products for not only the local plant in Iberia but also for France. Now, in any week, any moment, the business can respond to market needs and seamlessly switch between panels, corrugated sheets and hand mouldings. The Portillo plant improved on all levels: efficiency, quality and service level, leading to increasing profitability.

The team saw the need to tap into the Etex expertise spread out worldwide: colleagues went to Etex Lithuania and to Etex Vitry in France to be trained in hand moulding. This intensive exchange of expertise further strengthened the bonds between Etex colleagues and has become a model for exchange from factory-floor to across international borders.

The company also spotted the opportunity of supplying to local agricultural businesses which now make up a significant part of the Portillo’s plant’s customer base. This further set the grounds for turning around the business and ensuring it remains at the heart of the community.