„Die küche. Made in luzern." This is the brand core of kitchen manufacturer Veriset. For over 20 years, the Swiss family business has been synonymous with attractive, high-quality kitchens at competitive prices. We spoke with owner and managing director Ueli Jost about why the smart factory is such a quantum leap, particularly for his line of business, industrial kitchen manufacturing. Veriset was one of the pilot customers who tested and actively improved the service tool “#edgeisdigital” by REHAU to optimise and accelerate processes in logistics, work preparation and production.
Veriset relies on digital process control in edgeband processing
Mr. Jost, Veriset became the largest kitchen manufacturer in Switzerland under your leadership. What roles did automation and digitalisation play in your success story?
As I see it, digitalisation is one of the greatest success factors for our growth and efficiency. I set the stage for it at Veriset 20 years ago with our first interfaces between sales and production. A move that benefits Veriset today. You can’t just start digital processes. You need IT and data concepts, the right interfaces and trust in the right partners. Investing in a new machine is costly, but today the essential improvements in efficiency are made possible mainly by digitalisation processes.
What are the special requirements of kitchen building?
Every one of our kitchens has its own specifics, we manufacture with a high degree of variability and flexibility. That’s what our customers value above all. In practical terms that means – quantity 1. This is why consistency in the entire process chain – from development, planning, manufacturing, logistics all the way to sales and service – is extremely important. It’s how we ensure that our machines are working to capacity and thus profitably. And complexity just keeps on increasing. A relatively new feature is the “digital kitchen”, Veriset’s kitchen configurator in an app. Here, too, we lead the Swiss market.
What prompted you to introduce “#edgeisdigital” at Veriset?
For me, it was clearly process reliability. I want to have as close to 100 percent control as possible across all levels. That includes avoiding mistakes and tracing things back. Our standard is nothing less than perfect quality for the customer. The cost aspect is secondary. REHAU’s “digital edge” is an important building block along this route. And being a pilot customer was an additional benefit.
You have emphasised that “#edgeisdigital” helps to avoid mistakes. What kinds of mistakes had you mainly been dealing with?
One source of error is matching the edgeband with the board. Especially with solid colours like white, you don’t see right away if the two are not matched. Thanks to the digital matching, the wrong edgeband can’t be processed to begin with. Also, false machine parameters, for example contact pressure, are now pre-set in the process and don’t have to be set manually. In total, our employees have more certainty in their decisions and can work more effectively.
You opted for the high end version of #edgeisdigital. What were the reasons?
The REHAU system convinced me, and I expect there will be further levels of integration in the future. That’s why it is crucial that the data transfer includes all para-meters. Even if we are not yet using all of the possibilities today. As I see it, “#edgeisdigital” is a philosophical issue, a driver for progress and sustainability.
How would you quantify the potential for increased efficiency (and thus decreased costs) in your processes?
As I said before, we are not primarily concerned with savings potential. What gets us ahead is process reliability. It’s the mistakes that are expensive. Perhaps we will gain a few percentage points in terms of running our edgeband processing machine park to capacity. We’ll see.
Where and how did REHAU support you with building your digitalisation processes?
Our company has been working successfully with REHAU for many years, and we trust in the quality of their products. The digital edgeband service is new territory in our partnership. Our contact partners, on the other hand, we’ve known for many years. Yvonne Hänni is the face of REHAU in Switzerland. Now she also controls the logistics for edgebands for us with digital recognition. The technical project manager and contact for the implementation, Matthias Hacker, we also know from other projects. So the Veriset – REHAU team worked very well and we went to serial production after 6 months.
What further levels of expansion are you looking for?
In an industry as down-to-earth as carpentry, we appreciate pragmatism and reliability. The digital project with REHAU is based on transparency and trust as well. As of today, we have achieved a very high degree of interconnection between product, warehouse and production. Currently, we are working internally on establishing the conditions that will allow us to also integrate the order processing in the process chain via EDI interfaces. And a long-term partnership also guarantees us that we’ll again be right there at the front lines when new developments come about.