Innovation is something that comes naturally to JASA, but sometimes setting impossible goals is what pushes innovation forward. That's exactly what happened with the Next Generation Sleever, JASA's star machine.
Eduard de Haan, JASA's CEO and Hendrik van den Berg, director R&D have a clear vision when it comes to innovation. "Everyone thinks innovation is about improving the product, but it's much more than that. Innovation happens when you look at every aspect of the process and how it works together." But that's still exactly how the Next Generation Sleever started: improving the first model. "The Sleever sold really well in 2016, and we wanted to improve upon it", Eduard says. "We started with the idea to create the Sleever 1.1, but we had so many good ideas that we decided to skip the 1.1 and create a 2.0 model."
During the innovation process, we looked at all the aspects of the machine that are essential for the customers. "Production speed, faster changeover times, operator safety and energy efficiency are all aspects that our customers deem highly important," Hendrik van den Berg explains. After making the Sleever 1.0, JASA learned through feedback from her customers that there were a lot of aspects that could be improved. "We set impossible goals for the Next Generation Sleever. We wanted to reduce the cost price with 30%, use 50% fewer parts and have 60% less assemblage", Hendrik explains.
To achieve this, the Research en Development (R&D) team needed to change their way of thinking. 'Out of the box' thinking was the key phrase here. But that wasn't as easy as it sounded. "That’s why at the end of 2016 we had a session with Beacon Partners. This R&D strategist helped us to tackle this improvement process effectively and efficiently", Hendrik explains. "As a result, every aspect of the Next Generation Sleever surprised me. We did a really good job facilitating this improvement process, we had several trainings, machine safety being one of them. We also interviewed our customers to get their feedback. At the same time we hired Oriana Batista to help streamline our R&D processes. It helped whole R&D team to make significant strides towards improving the Sleever.
One of the most important things about the Next Generation Sleever is the fact that it’s built in a modular manner. This means that the basis of each machine is the same, but only specific parts are custom made for customers. "For instance the Sleever cassette," Hendrik explains. "The cassette is custom made for each customer. When customers have to change over the Sleever, they only have to exchange the cassette." Because you only have to change the cassette, the changeover time is less than five minutes. When the cassette is changed the machine automatically adjusts the belt, this means there is no manual adjustment needed.
Sleever, the improvements
The changeover times are not the only improvements you’ll find in the new Sleever. "The previous Sleever model processed 30 to 50 packages per minute. The new models process 50 to 100 packages", Hendrik says. That's double the capacity.
The Sleever also boasts an improved operator safety. "Since the last model, we improved our safety rules and regulations," Hendrik explains. "We also send our engineers and developers on a training specifically for operator safety. This way we can ensure that we create a top quality machine on every level."
A part of improving the safety of a machine is making a risk analysis. This is an objective way of looking at a machine to determine if its safe enough. "Through our risk analysis we made big strides in the improvement process," Hendrik explains. On top of that, a lot of time was invested in reviewing the innovation processes. "Because of that, we created a whole new way of innovating and improving to lift our machines to a higher level."
In the basis innovating is all about the product. "Our customers want to get as much out of our machines as possible," Hendrik says. That means processing as many products as possible with as little as possible production hours. "To achieve this, we talked to our customers to map out their needs and processes."
The Sleever goes USA
In making the Next Generation Sleever, JASA created a great piece of technology for the American market. JASA USA will start with their main focus on selling the Sleever and the complementary machines that fill the trays. Currently, the convenience market in the USA is extensive and still growing and the first American customer is already a fact: Veggie Noodle is the first that’s going to work with the Sleever.
And the improvement processes? That's never finished of course. With the speed at which the technology is developing, JASA is always looking at ways to improve their products. And that includes the Sleever.