Jetstone - Working smarter

2013 – Jetstone , based in Deurne with sites  in Sweden and Britain, produces custom made counter tops in different shapes and sizes of stone, composites and ceramics. In addition, tiles, baseboards and window sills are made. The approximately 100 employees are mainly specialized professionals.

Working smarter
At Jetstone products are made to customer order. To continue to meet the clients order and to realize shorter lead times and the desired flexibility, the company switched from a batch -driven production

(five departments) to two controlled lines. Here, the different operations are performed in succession which is a logical manner of operating. In the controlled line production  there is a strong correlation between the different process steps. Therefore it is important that employees are aware of each other’s tasks and that they are able to perform these tasks if necessary. Employees are now extremely versatile and are responsible for a part of the process.

The project ‘working smarter’, consisted primarily of an inventory and analysis of the current processes. In consultation with the board and management the goals were determined. Subsequently, employees were involved in setting up the production line and in the drafting of new and improved procedures and work instructions. Learning modules were developed and adapted to the changed situation. Employees were made aware of their own role within Jetstone and responsibilities in the production teams were established. Improved working methods and manufacturing results were monitored and used as input to inform and motivate employees. Based on the results of the employability matrix,  training programs were adjusted. The procedures and instructions are secured using a quality manual.

Functions have changed content; supervisors  and employees are now more versatile. Staff can also help their predecessor in the process. This increases the togetherness of the employees, while they are also critical to each other. The production lines are shorter, the hall is less crowded and more products are put  through. The risk of failures and damage in transit is limited and the peak load is reduced. The mastery of core tasks is increased. This results in a higher productivity and lower failure costs in the production. In 2011 Jetstone is elected to the best supplier of large kitchen companies in the Netherlands. The company can be very flexible now because the flow is in order. Employees feel more engaged with the end product. Because labor productivity has increased Jetstone has a competitive position in domestic and foreign markets. In addition, the more focus can be placed on innovation in products and services which is vital for a healthy future.

To start such a process  a good analysis and the joint establishment of goals is necessary. The process should be clearly structured. Feedback to the staff of objectives, results and long-term prospects is important to keep employees motivated.  Board and management have to propagate the change and in daily practice have to talk with employees to start the desired cultural change.

More information
See the websites: and www.socialeinnovatiebrabant

Themes: Smart working, Innovation & innovation capacity, SME

Sector: HTSM

Source: Case