Brief overview of 2020 and 2021
First of all, Happy New Year to you and your team. We all expect 2021 to be a much better year and that includes team Forge LT. All the best to you and your company getting back to the path of growth and prosperity! With this blogpost we briefly wanted to review 2020 as well as share our plans for 2021.
Covid19 in 2020 and 2021
First wave was pretty much non-existent here in Lithuania and there were no direct health concerns at Forge LT. The summer came and besides normal precautions, business returned back to usual setup. But we all expected the second wave to be worse and longer for which we prepared.
Obviously, that happened and everything we learned during the first wave, we are using that knowledge to live through it with some extra introduced precautionary measures. All in all, it seems like everybody just got used to being extra careful, working from home and continuous Covid tests. We hope that we will be able to live through it until April/May without any major breakouts.
Order situation and finances
Although the global economic situation was completely crazy in March and panic was setting in Lithuania, we didn’t really feel any impact for a couple of months due to inertia of our business. Things started to slow down around May/June, order intake decreased and at the end of the summer that first wave of postponed and cancelled orders finally impacted us as well.
As expected, the order intake decreased during 2020 Q2~Q3, but by surprisingly mild percentage. Nevertheless we are grateful that the decrease in business wasn’t overwhelming and we didn’t have to lay off any employees. Unfortunately, other Lithuanian industries and companies didn’t have that luxury
Despite all these challenges, we still managed to deliver more orders (also, revenue) than in 2019 and delivered a pretty healthy EBIDTA. That allowed us to meet 2021 with a strong, stable position and a budget for further investments into our company (more on it further down the post).
Development and investment plans in 2021
2021 seems to be a perfect year for our development plan. Due to economic uncertainty, large investments into new machinery are quite risky, but the “stars aligned” perfectly and even before Covid we knew that 2021 is going to be all about business “hygiene”, production efficiency and a leap towards real digitalization. As we joke around here, we have the racing car, now it’s time to start racing professionally! Here is what we have on our agenda:
Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) integration
Connecting all of our main forging lines as well as CNC machines into one OEE monitoring system, showing performance in real-time as well as reporting statistics weekly or monthly. A huge tool helping our production team to understand where we are wasting time and efficiency.
In-house phone App / Web-based Software
We are developing our own in-house App to digitalize processes for which we haven’t found a ready-to-use solution. Real-time tracking of quality issues, measurement reporting, certification of measurement tooling and so on. That’s only a part of the quality module. Besides quality, we plan to integrate modules which will improve internal communication, production support (help), motivation and so on. Two full-time developers are working on the platform.
We have many different small upgrades we want to do in our factory – internal logistics, inventory management, health and safety upgrades, LEAN/5S improvements and many other relatively “cheap” mini-projects. Business “hygiene” so to say.
So, how do YOU benefit from all of this?
Production reliability and quality
The in-house App will improve real-time monitoring and tracking of ongoing quality issues during all production phases and add another layer of precautions so there would be no chance for a faulty part to leave our workshop. Quality and measurement reporting will also be completely digitalized and will be tracked in real-time as well.
Improved delivery reliability
The installed OEE monitoring system should provide us with critical data about inefficiencies in our production processes which we can use for improvements and that way, shorten the lead time and improve production and delivery reliability. If we are aware of the ongoing issues the moment it happens, we have more control over them and possibility to react quicker.
Improved information transparency and ease of sharing
Our in-house App are developed in a way that sharing information would be as easy as possible. Our target is to improve communication both internally and externally, meaning eventually we want our close partners to monitor the progress of their orders in real-time, see what kind of problems we having and how did we solve them. Ultimately, our strategic target is to make our workshop feel as one of our partners own, so all development decisions are based on this general target.