Combine extrusion and plastic injection molding in one facility. Add amazing human reactivity. This is part of the secret of success at Ensto’s Néfiach plant.
Having production facilities for both extrusion and injection molding in the same factory is not common. It gives Ensto a significant advantage.
“For office equipment we can produce everything,” says Jean-Marc Uria, Production Manager at Ensto’s Néfiach plant.
The factory runs four extrusion machines and 10 injection molding presses. Altogether, the factory produces about 500 different products each month for Ensto Workpoint electrification line, including ducts and poles in plastic and aluminum, plus sockets and socket boxes. This amounts to 180,000 meters of trunking and between 900,000 and 1,200,000 injected pieces per month.
“We consume about 80 to 100 tons of PVC in a month,” notes Uria. “In plastics we run three shifts per day, Monday through Saturday.”
But all that machinery and labor is not dedicated to a routine of stuffing a warehouse with goods. Néfiach’s production is highly reactive and often custom.
“For office equipment we can produce everything,” says Uria. “We are incredibly reactive. Even located 800 kilometers from Paris, any product can be delivered in 24 hours.”
By “any product” Uria means just about anything you could want. His team has made six-meter long socket poles from aluminum, when competitors make only three-meter poles. They created trunking in 12-meter lengths. They have made circular shaped ductwork.
This kind of flexibility is not as standard as one might think. Ensto’s biggest competitors use what might be called the Henry Ford business model: You can have any color you want as long as it’s white.
But the Ensto Néfiach plant actually will make any color you want. One impressive example: Ensto made trunking in Coca-Cola red for the beverage company’s office.
While competitors generally deal with wholesalers, Néfiach does a big part of its turnover directly with contractors. And the electrical contractors are not mom and pop affairs, either, but can be huge businesses, handling jobs like sports stadiums and television towers.
“The electrical contractor’s worry is how to manage time,” says Uria. “We can produce in any size so that he can work faster and more efficiently and win time.”
Custom work is more easily said than done, and the process isn’t something easy for competitors to replicate. Extrusion is sometimes likened to an art, and Uria has been with the company since 1993. Over that time, he’s built up a team of 30 professionals.
Shipments and logistics are also handled directly out of Néfiach, managed by Uria and Logistics Specialist Laurent Doisneau. The logistics operator making one additional check before goods are delivered to customers means one more advantage.
Uria likes to say that “Customers order today for delivery yesterday.” While doing exactly that may prove challenging, Ensto may come the closest in the industry.
Author: Scott Diel