Expert interview

Interview to Maderas García Varona

17 Feb 2023. 16:22
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  • SME maturity
    1. Methodology
    Scope to digitize
    1. Support processes

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Almudena García from Maderas García Varona tells us about their commitment to digitalisation.

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1. Why did you decide to start your digital transformation? Maderas García Varona is a group of companies and we belong to the primary sector. Our commitment to digitalisation is because we believe that there is no other option. Little by little, all sectors have to be incorporated, we have to digitalise and it is true that we belong to the forestry world, which is a primary sector and not very digitalised. Our benchmarks are other sectors, perhaps more manufacturing sectors such as the automotive sector, which always seems to be more advanced and we consider that there was no option, we have to digitise ourselves because it is an opportunity to be more efficient, to have more traceability and to modernise and adjust to the modern times that are coming.  It is a difficult process because there are no benchmarks for many of the processes we want to carry out, but it is easier because there are other sectors that have started this process and there are certain things that they have been implementing and that help us and give us a reference. That's why we don't have to innovate in terms of digitising processes by creating new tools. What is an innovation is because they are things that we have not done before. So we have the concepts, we know that we have to achieve traceability. For example, for our company, we started the digitalisation project with the slogan "STOP paper". For us, the most important thing or the start of our digitalisation was that all the production reports should not be done on paper as they were being done now, but that this process should be done from the operator's workstation on a tablet with a digitalisation process. Once we are already in full implementation of this process, we still have certain machines that are not 100% implemented, we could then move on to a second phase of digitisation. We believe that we had no choice in the digitisation process, it is an obligation and a responsibility to have our company in line with the demands of our customers and the service we want to offer in the coming times, complete traceability and maximum efficiency of our processes.


2. What key actions have you carried out in your digital transformation? We started our digitalisation process with a first phase that we called "STOP paper". In it, what we were usually doing, which was the control of production written down in notebooks, we have gone on to do all this production control on tablets. This has led us to implement a complete digitalisation process in all work stations and with this we have achieved maximum efficiency because we have avoided typing data. Up to now, our process consisted of our operators taking notes in a notebook at the production points, going to the office and then typing the daily production data into the computer. All this is now connected. A specific programme has been created for each position and for each machine in production and with this, the operator types the data and it is registered in the computer, being much more efficient and having the data in real time and at the moment. And it also means that from there we can include more data, because in this first process of "STOP paper", in the digitisation of the workstations, what we are doing is an initial collection of data to then have all the data digitised. Then, in the second phase, we can carry out real-time analysis of the data that we have so far, so that we can continue to expand our digitalisation process and have much more information and be able to analyse all the data that we obtain from the workstations.


3. Why do you think it is important to have a blog like the one you have on your website? The truth is that we like it and we are strongly committed to having a digital presence. In fact, we have made contracts with countries digitally and without even having a visit, and we believe that we have received a lot of aid for having this digital presence and that they have been able to make contact with our company. They know what we do and that we are a real company. Regarding the blog, for us it is a fundamental tool because we post company news there and we also post news or information about the products we make and often when we have certain queries and doubts, we even refer our customers to visit the blog and we resolve them. It is also true that when we see that a question or a doubt is very common, we try to make a post about it and we give answers about our day to day or about the things we do. It is also a way of positioning and generating content about what we do and telling about the progress we have made in all aspects, both at company and product level.


4. How are the steps you are taking/want to take in terms of digital transformation benefiting you? We are in a globalised world and our digital presence through the blog website and our social networks, gives us visibility all over the world, we now export to Asian countries, we export to the United States and to the whole of Europe. That is a support, being digital. This is part of the visibility, the issue of being on the web and providing answers through the networks and digital media. As for the digitisation of processes in our company, we don't consider it an option, it was an obligation, we have to be more and more efficient. Value chains are becoming shorter and shorter, we have to give an immediate response and make the most of the opportunity that digitalisation gives us. Large industries such as the IT industry or the automotive industry have already been digitised and little by little it is reaching all sectors in the country. So it is a filter, it will come sooner or later, but we want to be in the group of those who do not miss this opportunity and really, as you go through the process, you realise how important it is to obtain data in order to be able to make analyses and to be able to make good decisions.


5. What advice would you give to other SMEs that want to digitise their business successfully? We have to bring our businesses into the 21st century. Today, smartphones have helped us a lot at the level of operators, the subject has been simplified, they no longer need a lot of knowledge and things are becoming simpler and simpler. For me, one of the first barriers was to digitise certain unskilled jobs. That has been one of the first barriers that we have been overcoming and it is possible. Today it can be simplified in such a way that any operator can make a record on a digital device. From there, there are many benefits. We already have a plan for phase two in which, with the data collection we are obtaining, we will be able to create dashboards and make more decisions about the processes we are doing and automate the records of what we do. All of these are advantages, because the world is competitive, we are already competing with countries of all kinds and we have to be in the 21st century, and if our companies are not, other countries' companies will be. I encourage everyone to start this digitalisation process because once you get into it, you see the advantages and it is a road of no return.


6. What are your plans for the future in terms of the digitalisation of your business? In this first process of "STOP paper", in the digitisation of the workplaces, what we are doing is a first data collection to then have all the data digitised. Then, in the second phase, we can carry out real-time analysis of the data we have so far and then we can continue to expand our digitalisation process and have much more information and be able to analyse all the data we obtain from the workstations. We started the process with "STOP paper" in the factories and in the production workplaces. Then we kept moving forward and now we are developing an APP because the growth of our company has been vertical and we have moved towards forestry management and now we are also involved in digitalisation in terms of the purchase of wood in the forest. With this, what we achieve is traceability from the forest to our sawmill and then to the production points, which gives us many advantages in terms of traceability and knowledge of what we transform, because what it allows us is to have information, and with the information you can make decisions. Right now that is one of the keys to having a company in the 21st century.

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