Modern production is the basis

Let us introduce another member of the company's management - Martin Barát, plant manager. Since July 2012, stoves at HAAS+SOHN Rukov have been manufactured under his leadership. He came to us from the automotive field and the newly introduced processes carry this manuscript. We asked him a few questions.


How has production - processes, technologies, design solutions changed during your tenure?

At the time I joined HAAS+SOHN Rukov, production processes were reminiscent of a heterogeneous whole, where individual production centres, in essence, provided themselves with material and information. Only with the introduction of logistics, which "externally" ensured the movement of materials, orders and packaging, the processes began to become more unified and more focused on efficiency and quality. Thanks to this, we were also fundamentally able to change the assembly principles, whereby without logistics it wasn't possible to standardise assembly lines and achieve their efficient use.

Logistics also made it possible to increase production flexibility, especially in response to a completely different product structure, where large-scale products replaced products with less turnover, but in greater variability. Also, the advent of the current flagship products, pellet stoves forced us to a completely different, and up until now an unknown system of assemblies using electronic components, etc.

Another stage of streamlining production was the complete digitisation of information transmissions, such as plan information, quality requirements, current drawing documentation, etc.   


Are technological or production changes a reflection of customer behaviour and requirements? Does the all-the-time mentioned Industry 4.0 also have an effect on this?

Of course, as I've already mentioned, by changing the product range, we have a continuous adaptation of all processes in production - from material storage to the actual packaging of finished products. I don't want to be too specific, because I don't have that much space here, but I think this happens in most productions of our character, and we certainly are no exception in this regard.

These demands for change don't just apply to the processes themselves, but also to machines, equipment and technologies. In our company, a typical example of this is a large investment in a new paint shop, where we had to respond to the end customer's increased quality requirements as well as to the tightening of legislative requirements, especially in the environmental field.

If this general phenomenon is towards "Industry 4.0", I can't judge it, as its definition is subject to debate, but our company is certainly ready to make more use of automation and robotics in the future. We'll see what the future years and decades bring.


In November 2019, the company successfully passed the certification to ISO 9001 and 14001. Were significant changes in production necessary for this?

Obtaining these certificates is certainly proof that our company is strong in management systems and is more or less, an official evaluation of our continuous efforts to move our company in a modern direction. Although we were confident that our processes had been meeting these standards for a long time, we did not take certification lightly, just as we did not take the audits of some of our major customers lightly, who are world leaders in this regard.


What about people and their quality? Do you feel that the quality of people, the approach to work has changed in recent years? Especially at a time of thriving economies and almost zero unemployment? Has this changed during coronavirus?

To be honest, this topic is more for a psychologist or sociologist. If I had to relate this to my 15 years' experience in management, the evaluation of the next generation wouldn't be very positive. The task of every manager is to be able to respond to this situation and adapt processes so as to minimise losses caused by poor quality high school graduates and high turnover caused by low unemployment and the fight for every quality workforce.

As for the 'Covid-19' phenomenon, I'm not sure, and I'm even convinced that it won't improve this situation. I can only hope that this could contribute to a better position for really good workers.

I would just like to conclude by adding to this question that quality workers and people of all generations are poor quality as well. I just feel like we're not able to work with them since young age.


What can you say in conclusion?

I would certainly like to take this opportunity to thank our employees for how we have managed to tackle this year's crisis after all those restrictions and they have remained loyal to us.

Thanks for the interview.

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