Art Casting, a family business and art foundry based in Oudenaarde, has the ambition to offer the best artistic and technical total solution to its customers, mostly well known visual artists. The owners decided to professionalise the internal operation and bring the offer more in line with customers’ actual needs and expectations in view of the company’s growth.
Voice of the customer
Over the last years, Art Casting’s investments were based solely on the owners’ experience and intuition. As part of an extensive strategy exercise, Art Casting wanted to rethink the current business model based on a customer survey.
Together with Art Casting we determined which views the customer survey needed to yield. The result of this step was an overview of possible topics and a communication guide with a number of supporting questions to study the topics in more depth. With this information, eight in-depth interviews were conducted with artists (both existing and potential customers). The interviews assessed (among others):
- aspects they consider important today,
- their satisfaction about Art Casting (possibly compared to other companies),
- their vision on market trends, etc.
The results of the qualitative survey were used for an online survey into 21 aspects that are important in customers’ choices (such as quality, turnaround time, price, proximity, etc.). Based on the artists’ expressed preferences every aspect was given a weight factor.
The results of this survey were grouped in a number of analyses per market sector. These analyses allowed Art Casting to make well considered strategic choices in the company’s market positioning.
The customer survey showed, among others, that, in addition to the quality, the delivery period and the delivery reliability are also crucial for customer satisfaction. As more complex works and bigger volumes make the management and followup of the operations increasingly difficult, the owners of Art Casting decided to professionalise the planning of the production.
In addition to the analyses per market sector based on the results of the customer surveys, Art Casting’s planning and production was also professionalised following the implementation of a number of new systems:
- After modelling the current capacity of the different production departments and the rules to determine a realistic turnaround time, Möbius developed an order confirmation system for a professional estimate of the delivery date to maximise the chances this date is achieved. Following the input of the expected work time for every production step, Art Casting is able to determine whether a requested delivery date can be achieved based on the planned occupation of the different workshops and thus confirm more reliable delivery dates to the customer.
- The introduced master planning allows Art Casting to follow up whether any conflicts exist between the necessary and available capacity based on the progress of the orders and the expected and available capacity. The sooner a conflict is detected, the greater the chances it can be solved without compromising the delivery date.
- Scheduling in the workshop: the master planning on high level does not give the workshop manager enough information to distribute the work properly among the employees or to intervene on time when a job requires more time than initially planned. To remedy this, a physical planning board with Lego blocks has been introduced. The manager indicates the start moment, deadline, estimated work duration and employee for each job.
The customer survey allows us to understand our customers better and tells us how best to approach our different market sectors. We are able to provide an even better service, e.g. thanks to the hands-on planning board, and are already reaping the benefits of this investment today. Thank you to Möbius for this great job!