Ger Camp shares his vision on the manufacturing industry
The manufacturing industry and production in general are areas that are dear to Ger Camp. He is especially concerned with the people who work within the industry. He has been active in this field throughout his career; from filling lines in the food industry to assembly lines in the automotive industry, and from machines at steel companies to logistics in the offshore sector. Now, he shares his vision on the manufacturing industry.
People are your greatest working capital
At the age of 32, he decided to start his own business. Twenty-five years later, his company Numac had grown into a company with 1200 loyal employees. ‘Far too often, employees are reduced to a simple number of FTEs and nothing more, and machines are proudly presented as capital, despite the fact that loyal and dedicated employees form the greatest working capital of a company and the key to a company’s success. In selecting my employees, I have always chosen skilled and above all good communicative and friendly people, and I have always aimed for a mix between old and young, experienced and inexperienced, cautious and fast-acting. Our policy on senior citizens earned us the Numac Senior Power Prize, presented to us by the Dutch State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment, Ahmed Aboutaleb.'
His entrepreneurial drive has remained with him; two years after leaving Numac, he rekindled his career in 2009 with a number of companies within the Madolex Group. The common feature of these subsidiaries is the determination to make production processes efficient.
Learning from the past
‘The Netherlands has wonderful innovative companies. Take ASML and Nedcar, for example. If we want to become more successful, we must now find the courage to make bold decisions and learn from the past. In the 1980s, grants were awarded to move production to the Eastern Bloc and to China. In the years that followed, we saw exemplary companies such as Fokker and RDM disappear. The deterioration of industry meant the Netherlands was at risk of becoming a country of service providers: accountants, lawyers, and bankers. However, one job in the manufacturing industry is worth ten jobs in the provision of services and the associated supply structure. That awareness is beginning to seep through, and fortunately things are getting better now.’
"If we want to become more successful, we must now find the courage to make bold decisions and learn from the past"Ger Camp CEO | Madolex Group
A specialist department for the industry
‘In order to combine knowledge and insights well, I have been arguing for many years for a Ministry of Industry, a truly specialised department that in addition to innovation also focuses on thorough training in craftsmanship. Our country is not a pioneer in the chip industry, but also in mechanical engineering. Thanks to its focus on the right areas, the Netherlands is able to maintain its position at the front of the pack within these areas, and the industry can further expand its current position as the engine that drives the national economy. After all, there is huge hidden potential. The measure of efficient production is expressed in OEE - Overall Equipment Effectiveness. At an average company, this fluctuates between 50% and 60%. If we could increase the production output of all companies in the Netherlands by just 5%, competitiveness would improve enormously and we would also eliminate the budget deficit in one fell swoop. So there is still a lot to be gained.’
FactoryWatch creates ownership on the production line
Ger Camp’s preferred type of employee is illustrated by his example drawn from the food industry: ‘A small difference in temperature when blanching red cabbage can make a big difference when it comes to the tasty bite that vegetables need to have. The software and the machine are important in this regard, but the employee is the crucial factor for success. Toyota came up with a great mantra a long time ago: any employee can stop the machine if they think something is wrong. And I fully agree with that. Factory Watch is based on the same principle of personal responsibility. With Factory Watch, you as a producer gain direct insight into how your production department is performing, but the same applies to the man or woman at the machine. In this way, you can give your production worker a sense of “ownership” and that is exactly what you want to see in your people; ownership and consequently a real commitment to the results of your company.’