Inspiring ways of living

Etex is headquartered in Belgium and operates more than 110 production sites in 42 countries. Founded in 1905, Etex wants to inspire people around the world to build living spaces that are ever more safe, sustainable, smart and beautiful. In 2020, as part of their strategy, the company accelerated with its digital innovation, and so they launched their Industry 4.0 Program, aimed in part at digitalising their shop floor and uniting their various stakeholder groups into a more cohesive whole.

The right place to start

As they began looking into digitalising their manufacturing processes, they of course soon pondered the age-old question – traditional MES approach or something different? They decided to give low code a try, and connected with Apvine to carry out a trial project. The next question of course was what process to start with.

In the spirit of a joint initiative between IT and manufacturing, it was the manufacturing team that came up with a specific use case, registering scrap. A pilot plant in Kapelle-op-den-Bos was selected and the project began. A few weeks later it was up and running with great success. It is now being further developed to provide OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) data through functional integrations with Etex equipment and processes. The next step will be rolling the app out on a global scale within the organisation.

More than just low-code

Apvine not only helps with the design and development of the app but first and foremost with the methodology used in the project. Applying our trusty agile approach, we explored governance, architecture and license structure through workshops, and got end-users involved in the strategy and design process as early as possible.

What we really like about Apvine is their pragmatic approach. They’re down to earth and tailor their services to our needs, and they really made an investment to set up a sustainable partnership with us.
Steven Vansteenkiste - IT Lead for manufacturing applications, Etex

Building bridges within businesses

One of the biggest initial benefits from the track is the new relationship formed between IT and manufacturing teams. By giving the manufacturing team such a prominent role in the project they’ve become very enthusiastic about digital solutions and low-code technology. “They were very engaged during the design process and are now running the road show to roll the Scrap Registration App out in other facilities.”

Future development plans

Etex believes in a two-speed approach to development between low-code and traditional MES. They plan on using low-code to create fast, modular, light-weight applications focused around digitalising paper based processes, while using MES for its off-the-shelf functionality –and algorithms that are already baked in.

Learn more about Etex