HGF chooses Jeeves to continue to grow as a world-class producer of rubber products

In 10 years, HGF, AB Halmstads Gummifabrik, has gone from being a traditional rubber manufacturer to become an innovative and award winning company living by the motto “a world-class producer of rubber products”.

In May 2016, HGF will take another step toward becoming an even stronger partner for customers in the automotive, energy and mining industries, by starting to use Jeeves as their ERP-system. The turnkey solution that is customized after the company’s individual needs by Jeeves’ IT consultants is rare in many ways. One example of how, is that the ERP-system will be directly integrated with the manufacturing and mixing equipment.

In 2009, HGF won Halländska Leanpriset, which is a regional Lean-award, and in 2011 they came second in the run for Svenska Leanpriset, which is a national Lean-award. In 2015, they won Halmstad Global Award. The motto “Lean on us” sums up the entrepreneurial spirit, the team spirit, and strong customer focus that characterizes HGF. The company has been cooperating with many of their customers for over 20 years and is specialists when it comes to fulfilling their customers’ needs for sealing, cushioning and protecting rubber products. They also have a long experience in so called 2k-casting where two rubber materials, or rubber and for example metal, are combined. At the business unit in Halmstad the company has a staff of about 100 people. HGF also has an additional production facility in Latvia where they mostly manufacture products for the automotive industry.

The company set out on their endeavor to become a world-class producer of rubber products in 2006 by introducing the HGF Productions System (HPS), which is based on lean manufacturing principles. The key factor that made their Lean-project successful was robust processes based on the goal of “making everything fit together”. They set up new routines and systems for control, follow up and improvements. All company employees were included in the project and received new training. The effort quickly paid off in the form of a reduction in stock, opened up shop floor space for production, improved efficiency and improved delivery precision.  

Real Time Management on the shop floor

HGF is a company that is characterized by a strong drive for innovation and they do not overlook the administrative processes in their continuous strive to improve their business operations. A few years after HGF had become a recognized lean-company, they asked themselves: What are we going to do next? Can we connect HPS with our administrative processes? A needs and requirement analysis was done in 2012, but at the same time it was already quite obvious to the company’s management team what could be improved when it came to their administrative system environment. “Over the years it has become a mishmash of many different systems. The downside of this for our employees is that they have to go back and forth between many different systems, which is of course not particularly efficient. We set up a simple but important goal of efficiency, which was to be able to do as much as possible in the same ERP-system. Jeeves met our basic needs when it comes to the main processes. This is the major reason why we chose Jeeves, but another important factor was also the flexibility of their system. Our company is not going to stop evolving and we need an ERP-system that can be scaled and customized when our business grows”, says Joakim Nordin, CFO at HGF.

When the first phase of the project is completed, there will be about 50 Jeeves system users in Halmstad. The production facility in Riga will then be integrated into the system as well in phase two. Jeeves will be able to simplify many routine operations and shop floor employees will in time receive a completely new Real Time Management-tool (RTM).

One of the factors that makes Lean so successful is that responsibility is shared throughout the whole organizational hierarchy. The employees feel included in the decision making and that it is ok for them to make suggestions. We want our business processes to be simple and robust and if a problem should arise in production, we must be able to fix it quickly. If we are going to become even better than we are today, information must be distributed throughout the whole organization automatically and in real time. With the help of Jeeves and QlickView, we are going to create a visual system that will make it possible for our employees to see, on screens attached to every machine, what is going to be produced and where they are in relation to production goals”, explains Joakim.

HGF has their own machinery with everything from their own mixing unit, 20-something rubber presses and their own tool making equipment. In the first phase of the project, starting in the spring of 2016, the integrated solution with Jeeves, QlickView and Axxos will be tried on a select number of machines. Jeeves will also be integrated with the mixing unit. Recipes and production schedules for different blends will be sent from Jeeves to the mixing unit, which will then send the production reports back to Jeeves.

There are five people involved in the Jeeves investment project at HGF in Halmstad. These people are managers of functions such as sales, purchase, supply chain management, production and finances. The common ambition is that the company’s hold on the position as “a world class producer of rubber products” is going to become even stronger. HGF is working hard on visualizing this throughout the whole organization. Planned activities, follow-ups of activities and KPI:s, all of that is going to go into Jeeves and then presented in QlickView.

An important goal of efficiency is improved project management

“We want to be able to get all the activities into the project members’ Outlook-calendars, when a project is set up in Jeeves. Then they can plan when the best time to do the work is themselves. Our customer projects are cross-functional and there are many people involved. Keeping the schedule is, of course, very important. A visual system to help keep track of project status has already been developed and is ready to be set up in Qlickview. Thanks to this, project management will become more efficient and we will be able to be an even stronger partner to our customers”, finishes Joakim Nordin.