Belgian Cycling Factory: QRM in practice
With brands such as Ridley and Eddy Merckx, Belgian Cycling Factory (BCF) is the largest bicycle manufacturer in Belgium. The company, based in Beringen, is far from finished with its ambitions. Its next goal: to increase the number of bicycles produced from 20,000 to 47,500. The company hopes to achieve this with Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM). Gert Thora, IT manager at BCF, explained their QRM strategy during a visit as part of the QRM4.0 project.
Belgian Cycling Factory’s embarked on their QRM journey in 2020. The fact that QRM is not an off-the-shelf solution was well understood by BCF. They chose to focus only on those aspects of QRM that fit their organization. According to Gert Thora, the most vital insight is the company-wide approach to QRM. Because the strategy affects all parts of a company, both on the production floor and in the office, sufficient time was put into devising a plan of action.
A key focus for BCF is digitization and Industry 4.0. The in-house IT department of BCF built a customized product configurator. This allows customers to put together a fully personalized bicycle in no time. Moreover, the bike can be projected in your surroundings by using augmented reality. All those personalized orders make for a very dynamic production environment. BCF has built its own QRM application to deal efficiently with the flexible production.
The benefits of such an in-house QRM application are also felt by the employees. For example, they were involved in its design and could give input on what information should definitely be visible. QRM allows employees to take ownership of the targets to be achieved. At any time, the application provides an overview of the amount of work that is present in each production step or production cell. In this way, employees can decide for themselves where to help when their own tasks are completed.
Ambitious growth plans, satisfied employees, and quality products characterize Belgian Cycling Factory as an organization. A formula for success realized thanks to Quick Response Manufacturing and digitalization.