The recent global pandemic has put more pressure on almost every industry than ever before. We have seen emerging trends in digital transformation and automation increase in popularity, as business owners have been forced to realize, with urgency, the need to implement improved policies and strategies.

However, there is still some hesitancy with regards to the rollout of automation, especially in South Africa, because people still think that implementing automated processes will eventually lead to the loss of jobs.

Laverne van Wyk is a Director at Haldan Consulting and an experienced Industrial Engineer. She explains that in order for businesses to adapt, they need to change this mindset:

“People should begin to realize that the automation of processes is actually about easing my job, so that I can analyze information and focus rather on the value-add for the customer.”

Insights from the Acoustex Group: It’s time to change the mindset

Laverne spoke to André Swartbooi, a Director at the Acoustex Group, to gain insight into the strategies, goals and values that the Acoustex Group has adopted in order to be successful in the Automotive Industry, despite all the current challenges. Acoustex has been honored as the recent winner of the prestigious Exporter of the Year Award 2022.

André explained that the COVID pandemic was used as an opportunity to change and do things differently at Acoustex:

“What COVID told us was: You need to change the way you are doing things – Because if you stay the same, in 5 years’ time, you’re not going to be around anymore!”

Acoustex, like so many other manufacturers, had customers applying more and more pressure on them to automate everything. The required changes had to ensure that once the customer placed an order for something, the supplier could be confident that this information was fed into their production systems and that their shop floor teams were immediately aware of what needed to be produced in the next few hours.

André added that, from a management standpoint, introducing more automation in your processes can even serve as a form of business security:

“You must not forget that the people working in your company have a life outside of the company… Sometimes [their] focus isn’t always there if you don’t automate. That extra 0 in data capturing can be catastrophic. That’s where the [automated] system also helps. It’s a safeguard to protect your business in the long run.”

Instead of relying on your staff to push keys and enter data manually, the magic of automation allows people to simply analyze the information and move onto the next step in the process. This not only speeds up the process, but also helps to prevents mistakes from occurring – like in the example above, an extra zero can cost a company a lot of money.

Haldan Consulting: Real-time Data for Real-time Decision Making

Acoustex appointed Haldan Consulting to assist them with making their systems more efficient, by embracing digital transformation and automation. André explains that:

“Haldan […] opened our mindset.”

Haldan Consulting brought in a team of industry experts to combine innovative solutions with best practice techniques, to allow Acoustex to re-engineer their processes and maximise their business growth.

Acoustex uses three of Haldan’s products and services: Firstly, Haldan is their SYSPRO ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Solutions Partner. In addition, Acoustex now utilizes two of Haldan’s in-house software solutions: namely HaldanMES for Production Monitoring, and AutoEDI for Supply Chain Management.

AutoEDI: Supply Chain Automation & Validation

AutoEDI Logo

AutoEDI has brought about a huge improvement in the efforts required to manage their supply change activities. Inputs and orders are received digitally from their customer. This information feeds into the planning system, SYSPRO ERP, which in turn feeds directly onto the production floor. Because there is automation and integration in place across these areas, they have been able to implement program verifications which always ensure that all the data is valid.

Once the information is accessible on the shop floor, production teams are able to immediately action order requirements, as well as any changes that might be required. As the product moves into the finished goods area, it is efficiently labelled and scanned. And, the customer is immediately notified that the stock is available.

Transform your business with access to real-time information

Their staff are no longer constraint by spending most of their day capturing data, transferring it to different departments, and checking that their teams have received information correctly. They aren’t wasting time in getting the information to the decision-maker because everything is transparent, giving their managers and supervisors access to real-time data all the time.

HaldanMES: Shop Floor Visualization & Performance