ZND manufactures and supplies fences all over the world. At the Olympics and the Tour de France, for example. And big chance if you walk past a construction project, there’s a ZND fence around it. In 2017, Rivean took a stake in the company to speed up growth. And in 2021, former McKinsey consultant Marcel van Kesteren came in as CEO to deliver on this goal.
The challenge: lot’s of data, little insight
Van Kesteren immediately started executing a company-wide digitization strategy. As a result, tons of sales and production data became available. ZND wants to use that data to improve operational efficiency.
A good example is the buying steel. Well it so happens that the price of steel is hugely volatile. With the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, its price has risen dramatically. So it's vital for ZND to buy its steel as efficiently as possible from international markets.
But here's the thing. Almost every country works with different systems and data definitions. This made it difficult to make sense of the data and make optimal purchase decisions. That's why ZDN was looking for someone who could straighten things out on this front.
The solution: standardized management dashboards
ZND turned to Sweav for help. Sweav member Maarten turned out to be a fit for the challenge. He formed a team together with CEO Marcel and CFO Jo de Clerq. Here's what they did:
- Step 1: look at what intel management actually needs to improve operations. How much customer demand for fences is there and when? How much production capacity is there in the factory? What is the current inventory level of steel wires & tubes? If you cleverly link these questions together, you will know how many more you can produce.
- Step 2: find out which data sources they need. At first, everything still went through Excel. Now data is automatically imported from systems like ERP, Salesforce, Production Planner and maintenance production tools.
- Step 3: connecting all data to a central data warehouse. From here dashboards are being generated that help management make important decisions.
Result: more focus, more efficiency
Maarten: "We have made Excel superfluous. Now production managers don't have to spend hours entering data after a day of hard work in the factory. They save time for other things. Management now has the intel to make better decisions, like understanding how pricing affects volume and knowing how many fences to produce to match future demand.
ZND & Sweav partnership
Many companies have an ambitious growth agenda. Digitizing is of course part of this, but often the knowledge to do this is not (yet) present in the company. ZND is a great example of a company working with Sweav to bring in top talent to speed up these kinds of projects.