Super Cerame has produced stunning ceramic tiles in Morocco for over 50 years. This family-owned company had the experience, knowledge, and expertise to become the leader in their field, with a 50% market share. In his commitment to innovation and digitization, the Managing Director recognized the need for change: from pen-and-paper data collection to a modern, digital system.

We spoke to Super Cerame’s Performance Director and the engineers in charge of Evocon across their four factories about their journey with Evocon. Many thanks to our partner, Mohamed Taher Mouni, for helping implement Evocon in Super Cerame’s factories and translating the interview.

Family Tiles: A Background 

Super Cerame had done things a certain way for decades. Some employees had been there for over 25 years. Their prowess in ceramics ensured its products were designed to meet all market demands. The company can satisfy every client’s needs, offering products that are practical, functional, and made with beautiful designs. There was a feeling within Super Cerame’s ranks that they could do better though. The market is always evolving, and the need to innovate and grow in efficiency is a necessity for a company of Super Cerame’s status.

Super Cerame appointed a new CEO, Mohammed Lacham, with a massive passion for Six Sigma and operational excellence. He realized that Super Cerame had to change to remain competitive. They needed visibility. They needed accurate data. They needed to digitize. 

Tiles being made in Super Cerames factory
Manufacturing the tiles

Naturally, there’s pushback if a CEO comes along asking for a company-wide overhaul. To change everything from a manual solution into a digital one was daunting. Would digitalization require more work? Would a new tool be overly complicated? These doubts and questions meant a digital solution had to be clear and straightforward. Easy to set up, use, and understand. 

Mr. Lacham’s search for a solution brought him to a Moroccan Industry fair, where he met our partner and founder of Beyond 4.0, Mohamed Taher Mouni, in an Evocon booth.  Mr. Taher Mouni, an expert in digital transformation, showed Mr. Lacham that Evocon could provide all the solutions he was looking for. After a few meetings, Mr. Lacham made a promise.

If you can set up Evocon on a line in under two hours, we’ll install it in all our factories.

Lacham Mohammed, Super Cerame CEO

Evocon was installed on that first machine in 15 minutes. Thus began the start of Super Cerame’s journey with OEE software. 

A Trusted OEE Partner

Super Cerame explained that the speed of installation was an important factor in why they chose Evocon. They started with 51 licenses across their four factories, and installation took only two to three hours. The speed enabled them to install another 79 within a week. Today, they have 127 licenses across all their factories. 

Before installing Evocon, the company didn’t feel as efficient as they felt they could be. Engineers and maintenance teams spent their daily meetings discussing data accuracy when they could have been working on production strategy. Once they installed Evocon, those pressure points faded. There was one source of data. The source was accurate and no longer subjective. 

The other factor in their choosing of Evocon’s OEE software is something that appears throughout this story – understanding. Operators could now understand the importance of OEE and explain its components (availability, performance, and quality). With that understanding came responsibility: everyone knows who is responsible for each target. In other words, Super Cerame was able to reveal its hidden factory. Mistrust dissolved, and their daily meetings became much more productive as they no longer spent time interpreting data.

Evocon being installed in a Super Cerame factory
Installing Evocon

According to the performance director, when the workers saw the software, they immediately saw its value. The data was 100% accurate. There was no more manual data entry. The software had an immediate impact on their quality of work. On top of that, everyone now had visibility and access. The director could see everything he needed on his phone, no matter where he was. The workers on the shop floor could bring up the information they wanted in one click. 

The CEO hired twelve new engineers exclusively for the Evocon project. They assisted in climatizing everyone to the new system and implementing operational excellence across their four factories. 

You can’t improve what you don’t know.

Mohamed Taher Mouni

First Steps: Understanding the Data

For Super Cerame, the first and most important objective was knowledge. They wanted to understand their data truly. They wanted to learn what was working and where the bottlenecks were. The old manual method got the necessary data but was simply too slow and prone to error. After installing the data-tracking software, operators could compare the previous manual data with Evocon’s to realize the software’s accuracy.

Evocon's Database being accessed from a Super Cerame office
Accessing Evocon from the offices in Tetouan

The secondary objective was to improve operational excellence across the board. But they could only do that once they had all the necessary data. Establishing the baseline takes time, as well as getting everyone to know where they are starting from.

The operational excellence engineers shared a real-time example of this. One of Evocon’s tools, Shift View, allows an operator to view an entire shift in real-time. The display shows a minute-by-minute breakdown of whether the line is operating or not. Shift View records downtime if a machine is not working. Operators can then comment on the stop and explain why it happened. The stop will be uncategorized if an operator fails to comment on the downtime. Looking at their factory data, there were initially many uncategorized stops.

When explaining why this was, they referred back to the importance of a long-term learning process: in this case, a process of 3 stages. 

Step 1: Simply collect the data. 

Step 2: Engineers noted that on two stations, commenting on downtime should be compulsory: the first machine (the press) and the last (the triage machine, separating tiles by quality). Starting in 2023, operators would add comments on these stations 100% of the time. They realized the information around these two machines was vital; therefore, the recording was mandatory. 

Step 3: Collecting in-depth information from these two stations was a really positive step. They serve to motivate a larger change throughout Super Cerame’s factories. In 2024, commenting on downtime has become mandatory everywhere. Change has already begun. In November 2023, the percentage of uncommented stops was 33% for one factory. In January 2024, that number was down to 7%. 

Pushing people to make too many changes at the start of a significant culture shift could have been damaging. Slowly changing the culture over time can create positive, long-term work habits that benefit the company. It was explained that as long as OEE and the quantity were accurate, everything else would come with time. 

Missing the Connection: Overcoming Obstacles

Evocon devices require a connection to the cloud, and Wi-Fi proved a stumbling block. Super Cerame’s factories are so large that 600m of cable is necessary for a wired connection, which was not viable. On top of that, with the ovens reaching temperatures of 1200oC, a cable would simply not remain intact when plugged in. Mr. Taher Mouni helped install new access points to improve the connection quality. 

In the summers, data loss wasn’t uncommon. Temperatures can reach around 50oC, and factories are full of dust from producing tiles. These factors played havoc with Super Cerame’s servers and led them to crash on occasion. However, Evocon’s support team was always there to offer a solution. Readily available and contactable, the support team reassured Super Cerame that their production was in good hands in extreme circumstances. All the data was backed up and easily restored.

Evocon's Shift View in action
Evocon’s Shift View in action

With Evocon, all the data is factual, which enables us to make the right decisions.

Lacham Mohammed, Super Cerame CEO

Feature Comforts: Getting the Most Out of the Software

The engineers speak highly about how different software features have improved working life in Morocco’s leading tile manufacturer. Operators have been assisted thanks to Shift View, and the real-time data it provides.

Making KPIs more visible has been motivational, as the operators now feel more responsible for maintaining high standards. 

The Checklists tool has also been a feature embraced by the company thanks to its high customization capabilities. Using it, they have been able to track raw material stock in their silos, as well as enabling shift workers to record raw material quantities.

Worker analyzes Shift View
Worker analyzes Shift View

“When You Know Better, You Do Better” Maya Angelou

Super Cerame’s data approach is refreshing and motivating. Using long-term planning, they ensure workers remain engaged and passionate. They realize they don’t have to fear change. They feel empowered and more equipped.

The deployment was smooth, and it helped us monitor all our factories across Morocco in real-time.

Super Cerame’s Performance Director

Super Cerame has some ambitious yet achievable dreams and targets in its sights. On top of continuing to reduce uncommented stops, it want to implement an alert system. For example, an alert will inform the operator if the speed is too low. They’re hoping this will help to prevent quality issues. With Evocon’s data, they hope to find data on new metrics, such as raw material yield. Yield would help significantly with cost reduction and wouldn’t be possible without accurate, real-time data. 

Super Cerame believes it has secured its future in the market by thoroughly examining its operations and processes. With in-depth data, the understanding of their factories is greater than ever. This deep understanding of their hidden factory will lead them to make well-informed decisions and efficient resource allocation for years to come.

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