Rastede-based ZB Holzsysteme is not a classic carpentry business, "but rather a hybrid between an industrial business and a woodworking shop," as the company's CEO and founder, Manuel zum Buttel, who is brimming with ideas, puts it. Anyone who talks to zum Buttel can quickly tell that he thinks in big steps and always wants to be far ahead of his time. productionManager, the digital job folder from HOMAG, perfectly fits the requirements and workflow of the pioneering woodworking company. "I've been hoping for a system like this that offers increased production transparency since we moved into the new 1200 m 2 hall in 2017."
Increasing use of HOMAG products
Today, ZB Holzsysteme uses almost exclusively HOMAG machines: a CNC machine (CENTATEQ), an edge banding machine (EDGETEQ), as well as a SAWTEQ B-300 panel dividing saw and a STORETEQ S-200 as a saw-panel storage combination. In addition to productionManager as a digital job folder, the company uses productionAssist Feedback as a digital feedback assistant on the software side.
Software that grows with the applications
Following its foundation in 2006, production at ZB Holzsysteme initially took place in an old building on a big farm — "and in terms of space, there was little room to expand for the machines we bought at that time," recalls zum Buttel. As soon as the machines were moved into the new hall in 2017, the agile company's current location, it was full speed toward digitalization. For zum Buttel, things progressed very slowly but steadily at first. The cabinets were being built as they came out of the system — so, completely neutral. Step by step, he adapted the software to fit his requirements. However, this resulted in ever larger volumes of data. For ZB Holzsysteme, integrated data structures are therefore essential — from receipt of the offer to job completion.
Integrated data structures
This is exactly where productionManager comes into play for the innovative and versatile company: "I always wanted to have an overview of each job's progress toward completion based on the current status of the orders, so I wanted to know exactly where the respective job is and who is working on it on which machine." Every employee should be able to make use of the same knowledge. The transparency applied to everyone. Since joining the company as its first employee in 2008, Katharina Höppner has been Manuel zum Buttel's right hand in both the manager's office and for decisions in production. She is more than just a well-organized advisor, because she makes the decisions and is actually at the controls when it comes to using productionManager.
More control over production
When productionManager is supplied with data from the individual workstations, everyone has constant access to an overview of all the jobs and every employee always knows where each job is in production. This provides Höppner and zum Buttel the desired amount of control over production. "This was also why we decided to test and use productionManager since the beginning of the year, as no other system offers this level of transparency. The crucial point was to have an overview of all jobs, and to always be able to immediately record the scheduling."
The system's performance is perfect for the Rastede-based carpentry business. productionManager offers integrated digital use of planning and design data and puts an end to endless amounts of paperwork in production.
The interplay between the digital job folder and the productionAssist Feedback digital assistant provides additional added value. productionAssist Feedback is a component of the digital job folder. In principle, it allows the components and items that are to be processed to be displayed on the feedback workstation. Optionally, several feedback workstations can be set up. productionAssist Feedback reports back to productionManager on which components and items have been processed for each workstation. Components and items can be reported as "finished" with just a click. Of course, items can also be reported as finished directly from the HOMAG machine.
The island of digital simplicity
Nowadays, production without data is hard to imagine. This is a fact that zum Buttel knows too, which is why he manages his edgeband material using the edgeband assistant and his production data using productionManager. Step by step, the CEO is getting closer and closer to digital simplicity. Hendrik Albers, software expert at HOMAG, can see simple ways to achieve this goal: "HOMAG cloud-based solutions offer a great advantage in that the digital solutions and their components can be used individually. Each customer can use the individual module that solves their specific problem. We offer digital solutions from material and job management to optimization and cutting, right the way through to digital assistants for production and service."
“The machine needs input; it has to be integrated from the work preparation step right through to the production sequence. This has to be achievable without using a lot of paper, because endless amounts of paperwork with job folders on the machines and in the hands of various employees often leads to chaos.”
Manuel zum Buttel, CEO and founder of ZB Holzsysteme
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