I am a civil engineer electronic by training. In 1997 I joined AGC Mol (then still Glaverbel) a glass manufacturer at walking distance from my home. At first I managed the general services such as plan maintenance, purchasing, miscellaneous projects and evolved to site manager of the Mol plant in 2008. Over the years, apart from understanding the importance of the technological evolution, I familiarized myself with approaching business processes, negotiating with the Unions and creating a long-term vision. In that period I also acquired an MBA.
Glass is perceived as a very common commodity… just melt sand and you have a window! The reality however is very different. Glass has known an impressive evolution in the building, the automotive and not the least, the electronics industry. Indeed, most of the products we manufacture today were not even thought of 10 years ago, and in the future, innovations will accelerate this process even more.
I have always been convinced the AGC plant in Mol has an important innovative role to play in the future of our industry. To be able to cope with this innovative process, we needed a complete new float line, with a furnace capable of producing 400 Tons of extra thin (up to less than 0,5mm) glass per day, on a 24/7 basis all year long. In order to achieve the huge investment this would require, I had to submit a very detailed business plan for the coming 10 years. To build up this new line, our production needed to be stopped for seven months, while external specialists were installing the
new device. During this period, I involved the whole team (blue and white collars) in this motivational exercise. At the end of 2019 the line was ready, beginning 2020 we could start to produce and we had fulfilled the four challenging objectives:
• timing, keeping the seven months as a maximum of stopping the line
• not a single accident (own people and contractors) causing no leave of absence
• closing the operation within the allocated budget
• having a great start of the new production process
It was a great project, and a great experience where innovation is key. Personally, I believe innovation can only happen when ideas are shared and clearly communicated. It’s not only about huge projects, it also has to be included in your daily way of thinking, of working.
This is the purpose of INNOWIZZ a kind of idea box we maintain to involve all our employees. As a result, innovation gets into your genes and helps the company to move ahead and in the right direction.