Engineering in a traditional Seville company consolidates its aeronautical positioning
September 7, 2011
The company emerged in 1970 founded by Antonio González Jaén as a pioneer in the engraving with strawberry. Thanks to his dedication to the quality of the product, service hours to the customer and the acquisition of the first machine controlled by computer in 1984, quickly became the most prestigious engraver of Seville. Thanks to this reputation began to make prints for Construcciones Aeronáuticas and enterprises of the aeronautical sector.
Darío González Fernández, son of the founder, studied Industrial technical engineering at the Polytechnic of Seville and joined the family business in 2001. In 2003 the company moved to a warehouse. From this moment was left to the direction in the hands of Darius and began to be applied in the company advanced knowledge of engineering but applying them with a traditional philosophy that the figure of the founder still had much weight in the company. At the same time performed complex calculations in production and apply advanced manufacturing processes, there was a love for the result, a maximum respect for the customer and a tight economy (contrary to the high indebtedness that foster school of business). In 2004 began service of CNC machining with a remarkable success, working with very important companies in the sector and manufacturing very complex parts.
Department of engineering
In 2007 we created a technical office with two industrial technical engineers. Its function was to research and develop products that the company had difficulties in terms of cost and quality and develop new products for the company. 50% Of their time engaged in these products, but also gave support in terms of calculations and programming to the work performed engraving and machining. They also supported work of quality and production when it was needed and industrial improvement projects. This Department was a significant increase in the cost of personnel of the company, but we knew that at some point it would give us results.
The first result of this Office came in 2008 when asked to produce the same accessories we already made offers but in this case for the new A400M aircraft. Thanks to the created Department, we offer, in addition to the manufacture, design and validation of the same. This point was determined to win the bid and finally sign two contracts.
New production and management systems are applied in parallel to this project:
- System of management of quality. The company is certified in ISO 9001 standards and aeronautical EN 9100 improving the processes of monitoring, assessment providers, communication with the client, training, etc.
- Lean Manufacturing. To improve prices applied philosophy originated in Japan which is improving delivery times and reduce waste.
- Introduction of ERP. He invested in the purchase and installation of software for integrated management that reduces our administrative tasks and gives you real time information on the functioning of the different areas of the company.
- Team meetings. They began to hold weekly meetings to organize production, to improve aspects of quality and to inform the company's strategies. Although during this time the company did not however produced staff understand the needs of the company, improving teamwork and customer response was coordinated.
- Collaboration with technological institutes. We started to perform collaborations with universities, technological centres, laboratories and attendance at technical conferences. Notable have been the results with the Andalusian Institute of technology (IAT) in the area of design, improvement of industrial processes and application of new materials.
- Specialisation and differentiation. To analyse the different lines of products, we realized that some had more than 400 competitors. This led us to concentrate our efforts on products very advanced technologically and others differentiate through quality and the use of new technologies.
We dodged the crisis
In 2008 he began to talk of crisis. I still have in memory the face of Bush announcing financial difficulties. I think anyone at that time thought how it would affect us. I admit that I do not. He had heard of many crises but none had nothing to do with it coming. The other were simple job cuts that lasted three months.
It was not until the second quarter of 2009 when not noticeable stop orders coincide with a cyclical drop in aeronautical work. We had to make restructuring efforts and monitor spending but at end of year production recovered and everything was in a long scare. From that time and result of the products developed and signed contracts invoicing continued to grow.
The following table shows the effect of the crisis in the Spanish economy concerning the rate of variation of the national gross domestic product. In the other table we can see that this recession has hardly affected the turnover of Tecnigrab, what is more, we see an increase in the same over the last year of 17%.
For the future
We could surely not now do what we did at a time of economic boom as it was 2007, so we had to increase the cost of staff of a major.
If I have to do self-criticism there are two points in which the company could have improved:
- Diversification. We have been able to diversify in other sectors such as rail or the naval.
- Internationalization. The always difficult and costly task of internationalization is still a pending task which we are currently working. There are other companies in the rest of the world who buy the products that we offer. An improvement of the economy in other countries is taking place outside the aviation sector.
We do not believe that the crisis will soon so keep working on the improvement of processes. A company should not wait for clients to request their new products or improvements in processes, but that the work must be constant internally and offer upgrades for free. Projects must be made in advance and trying to predict the future. This is the task of the employer. If you want to react when you have the problem above already it is too late, so we have to work today, to be ready in two years. The efforts that we must do today with a view to the future must pass by optimizing the manufacturing to adapt to the cost reduction that is taking place at the global level. Boeing and Airbus are working for years in this regard to compete with companies from emerging countries (China, Brazil, Russia,...).
We have started two r + d projects which we hope we will bear fruit in the next few years and have established a strategic plan for 2011-2016 that concentrate our efforts on three lines of business: identification tags, control panels, and shields.