Ultramodern factory of Euroma

Euroma, producer of herbs, spices, and sauces, will host the second day of the IFFI event ‘Artificial Intelligence in Operations’ on April 26th. Participants will be welcomed to an ultramodern factory characterized by extensive automation. The factory was established in 2019 and became operational in 2020.

For the new location in Zwolle, three factories have merged into one new production location. “Besides Zwolle, we have locations in Nijkerk and Schijndel,” says Commercial Director Jasper Stavenga. “With the factory in Zwolle, the circle is complete. Euroma originally started in Zwolle but later moved elsewhere. In the search for a new production location, we coincidentally ended up in Zwolle.”

The new factory features extensive automation. “We opted for this for two main reasons,” explains Stavenga. “We wanted to improve the quality of our products across the board, not only regarding the end product but also during production. Automation has increased accuracy in mixing compositions and prevents dust formation during blending, thus avoiding contamination. The second important reason is the shortage of qualified personnel. We foresaw this five years ago.”

Building a new factory isn’t something you take lightly. How do you set it up? Which machines do you choose, how do you ensure the most efficient layout? How do you ensure scalability at the new location? “We couldn’t really ‘copy’ another manufacturer, as a factory like ours didn’t exist. However, we were able to examine various modules from companies in other industries. Together with our regular suppliers, we shaped our new factory.”

The new factory is functioning well, but it’s during the operational phase that you encounter things that might not work as well in practice as they did on paper. “We’ve made some adjustments already. We keep looking at how we can further improve processes. It’s a continuous point of focus, and we allocate time for it. At this location, we can continue for many years to come, initially within our new production facility. If necessary in the future, we have the option to expand further.”

In a modern factory, you need personnel with a different skills setup than in a more traditional company, Stavenga notes. “Previously, we were mainly looking for hands to do the work. Now, we’re more focused on Process Operators. To get these people excited about working for Euroma, we have a lot of contact with education institutions, including Windesheim. We offer various internships, hoping young people will choose our industry.”

According to Stavenga, the greatest efficiency gains have been achieved in internal logistics. “Although it’s difficult to say how many FTE’s we’ve saved, as we’ve merged three production locations into a new one.”

Euroma is exploring Artificial Intelligence. “We’re looking at the entire company. AI can help us standardize certain tasks. Safety is an issue; we want to protect our data. We still have a lot to learn in this area. The automation of our factory is a bliss for using AI. It means we have a lot of data available, which we utilize. Previously, decisions were much more based on intuition. Now, there’s data to support decisions.”

Jasper Stavenga
Commercial Director

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