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  • Publication date: 2010
  • Date added: 8 June 2010
  • Organisatie: Biddle
  • Homepage:
  • Telefoon: 0512-335555
  • Postadres: Postbus 15
    9288 ZG Kootstertille
    The Netherlands


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Rating: Biddle is streaming it processes and the staff is participating

Biddle is streaming it processes and the staff is participating

2011 - Since 2009, within Biddle a team  works on streamlining processes to realize a faster flow of orders in shorter throughput time ( "flow" ) and reduction of waste. This is done together with TNO and in close collaboration with the staff of Biddle.
Biddle in Kootstertille (Friesland, the Netherlands) is specialized in the development, manufacturing and sale of air conditioners. These are air curtains, air heaters and fans. Several thousand of these devices are delivered to customers order, annually. The core activities in the production are punch nibbling, bending, spot welding, coating, assembly and testing.

Why is this social innovation?
The staff of Biddle were involved in the change process actively, which results in the processes being smarter organized and in less waste.

Streamlining the internal processes of Biddle to realize a faster flow of orders in shorter time ( "flow" ) with reduction of waste.

Since 2009, a ' Lean Team ' energetically works on streamlining of the processes of the firm. Meanwhile the staff, together with TNO had worked on the realization of a new design for roughing (sheet metal and spot welding) in a series of workshops.  As a sequel, in the spring of 2010 a start was made with the introduction of the assembly process flow. This means streamlining the processes for faster flow of orders in shorter time.
Especially striking is the passion with which the Lean Team Biddle together with staff can realize route sections always in short periods of time. This is mainly due to the active involvement of employees in the definition of the design. Employees enjoy  redesigning their workplaces and painting the machines and tools in the house color. On the one hand thus the staff is oriented in the same direction, but what is more in this way support is created for the implementation of the innovations.
Together with TNO alternative solutions are made visible pragmatically including the savings expected. On this basis, decisions are taken by the steering committee.
Biddle has reached a new milestone in the spring of 2011. After completion of the new organization of the manufacturing of sheet metal parts now the entire production for two product lines, the assembly line and the shipping of the climate devices is redesigned according to flow. Resulting in less hectic overtime work, less searching and walking around, smoother flow of orders and more output with the same amount of employees. " The change process that we have gone through together with TNO and the staff has also led to greater involvement and motivation. We 're not done, say Sjouke Land and Peter Bethlehem, the core players of the Lean Team of Biddle. We continue to innovate still further, both in our process and in the product design. We now want to start in the office as well. Lean Order Processing they call it at TNO " . Lean is not only for production, but also for the entire process from order preparation including the supply chain.


In the past year the following changes are made:
• A new design of the processes 'sides' and 'spot welding' with more efficient loading and unloading locations of material, supermarkets for simplified control material, organization of a machine tools and a presentation of drawings directly on a computer screen at the machines;
• Expansion of the feed path of the coating to the department for spot welding to simplify the handling of material of  the workstations 'sides ' and ' spot welding '. This also reduces physical stress by reducing unfavorable work situations;
• Establishment of a production cell for the technical service;
• Establishment of a Lean production cell with Kanban control for the manufacturing of heat exchangers (construction elements).

The renovated processes of Biddle are contagious for further innovation. " We have got compliments from various sides, both shareholders and customers," said the Biddle Lean team. "That motivates us to continue innovation to coating and assembly. This will ultimately reduce lead times and waste considerably.

Tips for others
• Visit other, similar companies, which are also working on 'Lean '. It helps to determine where you want to go with your own factory and can also protect you for certain pitfalls.
• Pay particular attention to the selection of an external partner who guides you in the Lean process. After all you engage in a relationship of a few months or more.
• Expect resistance to change. In general people do not like change and would rather stuck to what they do already for years. Keep explaining  that the intention is not to work harder, but smarter. And that now, unlike in the past, they can participate in finding the best solutions.
• Good preparation is half the battle. Do not expect that the workers themselves come with ready-made solutions, especially not when this has never been encouraged in the past.
• Make sure that the agreements are respected. Changes agreed during a workshop should also be effectively implemented.
• Changes that are agreed at the workshops must be secured. To prevent employees from falling back into old habits an active management is essential.

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