Boers & Co Fijnmetaal Groep

2015 – Boers & Co Fijnmetaal Groep develops and produces fine mechanics and sheet metal in Schiedam, the Netherlands. They work for partners in the medical and laboratory industry, measurement and control technology and aviation. Boers employs 100 people.

The company is one of nine cases in the TNO study: ‘Smart Skills for Smart Industry’, which is included in the Dutch version of this knowledge bank (see reference below). Below you will find an extract of the case report regarding social innovation. 

Workplace innovation
Since 2010, the company is working on the implementation of Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM). QRM is a method for logistic improvement that aims for more flow and uses one key performance indicator: the time from raw material to delivery of a product (Manufacturing Critical-path Time, MCT).
At Boers & Co, this is especially done by flexibly allocating staff and allocating capabilities where needed in the process (process equalizing). Employees do not have to wait for orders, but can join the production process when and where needed.

Based on the QRM method, the division of responsibilities takes place as low as possible in the company. Boers & Co works towards in self-governing teams. Managers make way for internal and external coaches who go over self-governing teams and focus on how employees and teams can improve and develop. The self-governing teams are responsible for a result. The teams plan their work and make sure to realize that. Furthermore, there is a MES terminal (Manufacturing Execution System), which contains information about orders, products, technical specifications and the production process. Teams can also put in and share knowledge by this system. The goal is to work without a coach, for example, by teams helping each other and sharing knowledge.
The CEO’s role has changed dramatically: from managing to program management across diverse projects. For example, the CEO leads a knowledge management project that exceeds the teams. 

Driver of change
The driver behind these changes is the need to reduce lead times, thus reducing costs, as well as to become flexible and customer-oriented and still making high volumes. 

Consequences for the staff
Due to the technical, process and social innovations that take place at Boers& Co, the training requirements become higher and different. For the operators, they change from Vocational training level-2 to level 3 or 4. In addition, recently IT staff and industrial designers have been appointed having a high or university level vocational education. Other than specific technical skills have also become important: broad technical knowledge and skills, process insight (process parameter tracking, proactive process inttervention, monitoring quality standards), customer focus and ICT.
Boers & Co invests in its staff. Almost all employees are in permanent employment. New people are temporarily appointed (via an external agency) with the intention of a permanent employment after one year. Employees have an individual training budget that is used to meet the needs of this employee, the market and the new qualification requirements.
Much is expected of internal training, also by colleagues and informal learning from each other at the workplace. Management intends to implement a review system of 360 degree feedback and a system that allows the teams to determine the salaries of the team members. 


Govert Gijsbers,; Tijs van den Broek,; Jop Esmeijer; Jos Sanders,. ‘Smart Skills voor Smart Industry. Hoe werk verandert in de fabriek van de toekomst.’ TNO-rapport, TNO 2017 R10618.