Essex Furukawa Implementing Agile Digitization Solutions In Europe

April 12, 2022

Essex Furukawa is amid a cultural shift as the company has charted a course to leading the industry in not only magnet wire production and innovation but also sustainability. Many of the actions taken since the announcement of Vision 2030 have been made with large, measurable gains in mind. The teams in Europe—specifically sales and finance—have drilled down on processes and have resolved that unwavering commitment to incremental change can create remarkable and monumental results.

Spanning magnet wire plants in Germany and Serbia as well as a parent company plants across the continent, the collective group—lead by the European IT team—has set to automate multiple systems, thusly eliminating large amounts of paper waste. The joint commitment to Agile Digitization and maintaining a Zero Waste to Landfill status has already helped to eliminate waste and reduce cost, as well as increase speed in working with customers across the continent.

Sasa Marjanovic, IT Director, Europe, explained that the cumulative results have come from several origination points. He said that the team was focused on digitization of the business processes, implementing Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) as well as improving the traceability of materials.

“Digitization of the business process through replacing the manual signatures with the digital ones, avoiding paper, and making the process much faster was essential to modernizing our operations,” he said. “We considered the opportunity to improve a direct business touchpoint with automotive customers in Serbia, where the sales department requested EDI implementation to allow the exchange of the orders, shippers, and invoices electronically.”

“We also avoided unnecessary printing of documents, which minimized scrap and manual work, and decreased the usage of paper. Whereas better traceability of products in the system helps to avoid paper, and it expedites the process.”

Implementing the systems has already yielded outstanding results. In Germany—where the project originated in February 2021, more than 10,000 Purchase Orders and Requisitions have been approved electronically.

The EDI, recently started in Serbia, is still being studied for the impact on sustainability and efficiency, but the early returns are promising. Similarly, the “EDI implementation came at the direct request of the sales department,” Marjanovic said. “While it’s a small step to take it is another step forward.” Finally, the digitization of the material traceability process in Serbia, has been an early success. Only one year in, the solution streamlined more than 8,000 documents, and it has significantly increased the efficiency of the production process.

The accumulation of small victories have created a large amount of change in Europe. It is also something that Sustainability Project Manager for Essex Furukawa, Austin Robinson, hopes can help spur change across the global footprint of all Essex Furukawa Magnet Wire.

“Every time we communicate regional plans it has shown to either motivate others to look at creative solutions or share their success stories,” Robinson said. “From those conversations we can plant other idea seeds for growth.”

“The more times we can celebrate a victory, large or small, it is still a celebration. It is still a victory for Vision 2030 and sustainability.”

About Essex Furukawa

Essex Furukawa Magnet Wire LLC is the leading, global provider of magnet wire that is used by most major OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, and industry leaders in the automotive, energy, industrial, and commercial & residential sectors. The Atlanta-based company is a global joint venture formed in 2020 between Essex Magnet Wire and Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd., both leaders in magnet wire product development, and custom solutions. The combined entity, relying on the strengths of both Essex Magnet Wire and Furukawa Electric, draws on more than two centuries of combined experience and knowledge to push forward innovation while also remaining focused on delivering manufacturing excellence and outstanding customer service.

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