Workplace Innovation at Metaglas
A case study
2023 – Metaglas designs, produces and installs slender profiled aluminum windows, doors, sliding doors and vertical sliding windows for new construction, renovation and transformation projects. The company makes custom products, often in co-creation with the client or customer. The family business is located in Tiel, the Netherlands and employs approximately 75 permanent employees.
Strategy and vision
With the increase in technical complexity, the company wants to place more emphasis on engineering. The company wants to be at the heart of society: it pays a lot of attention to sustainability, diversity and being a good employer. There is a lot of attention for innovation, which is mainly expected to come ‘from the employees’.
The Workplace Innovation
The renewal of work organisation and labor relations started with the introduction of ‘MetaWay’, a program for ideas management: ‘We continuously improve our process and product, everyone, everywhere, every day: the MetaWay’.
Together with the employees, the production process has been brought into a ‘flow’: the semi-finished products now flow in logical steps from R&D and design to drawing and engineering, to sawing/CNC to assembly/pressing, to mounting.
In the new organisational structure, there are project teams and production teams. A new planning system has been introduced: ‘PROPOS’ (derived from QRM, see www.propossoftware.nl) that fits better than the old one with a large product variation and allows more autonomy for production employees.
The implementation was started in production.
Once a week, the director provides a written update on how the company is doing. The ‘consultation structure’ has been brought to the production floor. The day starts with a ‘Day start’ and there are a few ‘Stand ups’ at a planning board per week. And canteen meetings have been introduced where there is room to put forward ideas.
HR supports the policy of deploying people for ‘what they are good at’, shortening lines and giving people more autonomy.
The company has experienced additional growth in turnover since 2018 and has also moved into major transformation projects in the market. The lead time has been shortened, stockpiling has decreased and the overview of production has increased. The employees in production have been given a lot of room to move, both physically (partly due to the clearance) and in the work itself: autonomy. Team leaders continuously involve their team in the improvement process.
- The best ideas come from the floor.
- People want to change but don’t want to be changed.
Report Case study Metaglas. Fietje Vaas, May 2023, TNO. See appendix