More and more manufacturers give their customers the choice of all kinds of options to “customize” their purchase. A big plus for sales, but a challenge for production. Because how do you produce such varied orders as efficiently as possible? That is a question that Total Productivity knows how to deal with.

Total Productivity invents and builds industrial assembly and production systems for the serial production of composite products. Think of production lines for Quooker taps, plastic beer containers from KeyKeg or razors from Philips, explains director Hans Totté. ”We serve manufacturers in, among others, the consumer electronics, (plastic) industry and the automotive sector and their suppliers, who manufacture wheel suspensions or sliding roofs, for example.”

Mass customization

Totté sees a big difference with twenty years ago: “While at the time one type of TV set rolled off the production line with a few thousand copies a day, now one piece can already be a series.

For example, at a well-known bicycle manufacturer, the consumer can put together his or her own bicycle online and determine the frame size, colour, tires and accessories. In principle, all bicycles are the same, but unique in design. Mass production becomes mass customization. This makes the production process much more complex. We have followed this important movement in the market. We design systems that respond to this, while maintaining efficiency and productivity.”

Creativity as a tool

Productivity is the keyword at Total Productivity, explains Totté. “For us, that is the sum of Man, Means and Method. The Holy Trinity. The machines in themselves do not necessarily deliver productivity. No, it is about the optimal combination of automation, human labour, methodologies and tools. How do you regulate the machine, how do you waste as little energy as possible and who operates the machines? Those people are just as important to the overall result. Creativity is an important tool in that design. Without creativity and cleverness you will not get as far as we are now.”

Speed ​​matters

Depending on the complexity of the order, it takes about six months between the first call from the customer and the delivery of the production line, says Totté. “Speed ​​is important. Manufacturers prefer to market their new product immediately. They prefer not to wait a few months before production can start. Sometimes we are therefore already involved in building lines for products that are still in the design phase, so that our work is ready at the same time as the final product and the street can start running right away. Time is precious.”

Intensive cooperation

Total Productivity deliberately focuses on producing companies in the Benelux. “We work closely with our customers on every project. The more complex the products are and the more variants, the more consultation is needed to understand each other properly. Then it is useful not to have to travel too far. A short distance to our customers makes it possible to provide optimal customization. Plus, distance isn't lean. The manufacturing industry has been undergoing a revaluation in recent years and has a preference for local production. Circularity and sustainability play a role for more and more of our customers. That is also a reason not to travel all over the world.”

Network organization

Another conscious choice is to work with a small core team, according to Totté. “We have chosen to carry out technical specialisms together with partners. We have an organized network of specialists around us. We use their specific knowledge and insights to build good solutions. Many regional companies eat from our rack. For example, regular partners write the software for us, build electrical boxes or other components. In this way we can still store a generous volume with a small team. New partners who think they can also add value to our network are welcome. We always keep our eyes open for new expertise and technological developments.”

TechValley

Totté also does this in TechValley, of which he is one of the “founding fathers”. The basic idea of ​​the collaboration is that you share knowledge with each other, so that everyone benefits from it. We are all tech companies, but we are absolutely not competitors. Some of the questions we have are quite similar, if you look at them in a very basic way. For example about vision technology. If you can discuss and discuss this with each other, it benefits everyone.”

“Kicks for nothing”

Totté's eyes light up when he talks about his company. After about 35 years in the business, he still enjoys his work every day. “I have such a beautiful profession! In a period of six months, we create and create working machines from the drawing board that do what you have previously thought of. Everything moves and turns and ready-made products come off the assembly line. To quote Van Kooten & De Bie: they are kicks for nothing, but when a new line does what it has to do and the customer is satisfied because it has achieved its goal, then that is a moment of glory for me.”

Hans Totté - CEO Total Productivity

Hans Totté

CEO Total Productivity BV

"Mass production becomes mass customization. Where at the time one type of TV set rolled off the production line with a few thousand copies a day, now one piece can already be a series."