(SUV replacement parts)
– In just five years the hobby that you shared with a group of friends has turned into a successful business with high-profile personnel and own production facilities. How did your start and develop the business?
– Pavel Kasikhin: It all started in a garage: I was passionate about motor vehicle construction and enjoyed modernization of mechanisms. With time, this turned into a serious hobby that helped me meet many like-minded people. We interchanged ideas and studied technologies together. Our expertise and know-hows became popular and people started coming to us when they wanted to tune up their cars. When we saw that we had enough experience and that customer demand was growing, we decided to open a company and took out a loan. At that point, it was more about creativity: we designed the parts and then send them to other manufacturers to be produced. The demand kept increasing, and in 2012 my partner and I hired out first employees. It was the first serious step for us. The second serious step was organizing our own production facilities.
In 2014, with the help of a leasing company, we ordered equipment from the USA and started working out manufacturing procedures. We did not have any staff experienced in managing the business and developing the product, so we had to do everything on our own.
– What are your most valuable results and what are your goals at the moment?
– Pavel Kasikhin: IZH TECHNO is recognized in Russia and abroad for two main reasons. The first reason is quality. Our target clients are hunters, fishermen, tourists, sportsmen, fuel industry workers. They all need 4WD vehicles with improved characteristics. It is just our profile – make the most out of a vehicle and create an even better one.
The second reason is flexibility and speed of work. For a few years, we have been building our own complex manufacturing base, and are now able to manufacture any piece here. We outsource only the most complex work, like heat processing and electroplating. This approach allows us to be competitive and manage risks. For example, in the morning, our designer receives a task to develop a certain piece, in the afternoon the design project and the required documents are sent to manufacturing, and the next morning the piece is ready!
As for goals, we are planning to broaden our product line and expand the use of our solutions to other types of cars. Even though we make niche products in small quantities, some projects repeat from time to time. Moreover, we aspire to shift from manufacturing separate parts to making complete units for automobile factories such as UAZ. It does not exactly mean supplying goods for the assembly line, but we are definitely aiming at producing larger and more applicable units, which could be integrated with the design of both Russian and foreign automobiles.
– You have mentioned using a BPM system for your projects. Can you please tell us more about it, when did you decide to use the process based approach?
– Ruslan Sibgatullin: When the company was small, it was possible to store all the information in memory and on paper. At first, there were only two employees, and then we hired a marketer, an accountant, a dispatcher and a technical writer. Of course, at first we all were like superheroes, doing all kinds of work, but as the company kept growing, the number of employees kept increasing, and their work and responsibilities became more clear and specific. Different employees had to manage complex yet typical tasks on our projects. It became difficult to handle it all manually, we needed a more thorough and automated form of control.
– Pavel Kasikhin: Moreover, our projects lacked visualization, plus, we wanted to turn some steps of the projects into business processes because they were very routine. For example, creating a package for a new product includes the following routine tasks: creating a prototype, preparing the design, placing an order to the printing office, color proofing. The same goes for other processes such as the installation of a unit, preproduction testing, and approval of technical documentation. This led us to collaboration with ELMA.
-Did you implement the system on your own?
– Pavel Kasikhin: Yes. Firstly, I was already familiar with the system. Secondly, from the point of view of the person who implemented ELMA, the system is a complete product that works perfectly right out of the box. Installation does not require specific technical knowledge or complex programming solutions; everything is simple, fast and transparent. What is more important, the system can expand and grow with your business. It is highly scalable and can turn from a simple out-of-the-box solution into a powerful corporate tool.
– Which processes did you automate first?
– Ruslan Sibgatullin: At first, we optimized the work of the administrative office and the finance department. Then we configured the KPIs and received a general idea of the employees’ efficiency. We also automated the document management processes. Here, apart from the standard features such as mail and memo handling, we also set up management of our design and technological documentation.
– How do you develop the system within your company?
– Pavel Kasikhin: We configure business processes for our projects. The speed of work in this area is crucial for company development. Each day we must keep up with technologies and create new solutions, and consequently adapt our business processes. Any delay leads to regression because the market capacity is small.
– Did your employees find it easy to adapt to working in ELMA?
– Pavel Kasikhin: Organizational change is often met with resistance, but when integrating ELMA with your company you do not really have to force your employees. ELMA has an intuitive interface and the users find it easy to navigate and do their work. You can keep to a minimum the list of things a new employee has to learn: start and complete the tasks on time and report any problems that may appear on a project.
Every day our team helps us to improve business processes. First, the improvements are documented and then implemented. The team finds ELMA very convenient, so they use it not only for projects but also to manage their own assignments.
Our production facilities and the office belong to one local network. At any moment, the CNC equipment operator, the setup man or the dispatcher can modify a current task or find a document. The managers can see the workload of all the employees, and control the schedule and the quality of task execution.
– What would you advise to those who are thinking about implementing ELMA business process management software?
– Pavel Kasikhin: By visualizing and automating your business processes, you become more competitive. I recommend starting with the trial version of the system and using it not for the entire company, but for one team or department. After testing the main features of ELMA, you will see how convenient it is to manage your work with a BPM system. The next step is to implement the system in your company and automate other business processes.