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Draka: Global Presence with Local Capabilities

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The Velké Meziříčí, Czech Republic, facility

“Centers of Competence” around the world fuel Draka’s successes.

Draka Elevator Products/Prysmian Group provides cables, compensation chain, wireways, wire rope and other specialty products to the elevator industry. The world is certainly getting smaller, and Draka’s goal is to serve customers globally by providing business solutions locally.

As Josh Bersin, Forbes contributor, accurately stated:

“The word ‘global’ has now become the new buzzword of business. What isn’t global these days?

“While we certainly live in a highly interconnected world, the business world is not as ‘flat’ as Thomas Friedman once predicted. Quite the contrary, in fact. There is no ‘global market’ for goods and service; rather, there [is] now a set of globally connected ‘local’ businesses.”[1]

Draka has been manufacturing and distributing its products to the industry for decades from its headquarters in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. The company is organized into three strategic regions: the Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and Asia Pacific Area Countries (APAC). “Centers of Competence” have been established in each region with the intent to best serve customers in a globally connected local model. These centers are areas in each region in which the company performs R&D, engineering, manufacturing and testing in facilities employing the latest quality programs, such as 5S and Lean (see sidebar). The finished goods are then combined with purchased components and harness connectorization solutions to provide complete solutions to the customers in that particular region. Specific strategies are implemented at each Center of Competence in an effort to best serve it.

Draka also has manufacturing and distribution centers in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, China, Italy, Hong Kong, the U.K., Turkey and the Czech Republic. Draka serves the globe from these strategic locations with manufactured cable and compensation-chain products, specialty products (such as the Event Monitoring Device seismic detector), wire rope, load-weighing systems, cab interior lighting products and more. Customized solutions for pre-stripped and pre-connectorized cables and harnessing are offered and delivered on a daily basis.

Americas

The company occupies two 100,000-sq.-ft. facilities in Rocky Mount. Its SuperFlex®, Super-Duct®, Whisper-Flex® and Steadi-Flex®, all which carry a lifetime warranty, are produced at the company’s manufacturing plant. The nearby distribution center provides value-added services intended to make the lives and businesses of customers simpler and more profitable. This includes cut-to-length spooling and packaging, harnessing and kitting. Draka has satellite distribution centers in California, Mississippi, Texas, Illinois and New York. Value-added, shipping and will-call services are provided from these facilities each day.

In Canada, Draka’s products and kitting solutions are packaged and delivered out of its distribution center in Brantford, Ontario. In Brazil, the company has distribution centers and harness facilities both near São Paulo and Londrina to serve strategic accounts. It also manufactures flat and spaghetti cable for the South American market out of facilities in Sorocaba. These products include simple ribbon-type flat cable, as well as traditional jacketed flat cable in single and composite gauges, with or without coax or optical fiber. Ropelay configuration flat cables are currently being added to this list. Hoistway, signaling, controller and machine-room harnesses are also manufactured, and the import and stock of several parts and accessories is handled here.

EMEA

Draka covers the entire European, Middle Eastern and African (EMEA) elevator markets through its production and distribution facilities located throughout Europe. With the majority of EMEA R&D and production operations focused in Velké Meziříčí, Czech Republic, and distribution and connectorization activities located in Origgio, Italy, Draka focuses on bringing customized solutions for low-, mid-, and high-rise applications to the EMEA market. Sourcing both globally and locally has enabled the company to expand greatly in capability and capacity in the region.

The Velké Meziříčí facility serves EMEA as the main factory that produces a wide array of Draka cable specifically for this market. Using advanced production equipment and processes, the facility is able to serve EMEA to the same standards as those for which the company is known in other regions. Investments were recently made at this facility for a dedicated harness and connectorization center.

The Origgio facility is the main distribution and connectorization facility for all of southwestern Europe, the Middle East and Africa that specializes in high-rise/high-speed cable connectorization and fiber-optics connectorization. Additionally, Origgio serves as a comprehensive center for elevator parts (wire rope, sheaves, sockets, lubricants, etc.) and electrical cable.

APAC

To complement its two joint ventures in China, Draka decided to further invest in manufacturing compensation chain, low-rise flat cables, connectorization, harnessing and signal fixtures in the APAC region. Particularly in China, Draka is focused on a number of significant corporate investments in order to better its flat traveling cable offerings with a focus on mid-, high-, and super-high-rise applications. Additionally, sub-elements for flat traveling cable, such as communication pairs (high impedance, CAT 5-7) are increasing in demand, so the company is also investing to ensure quality consistency of these products across the board.

Conclusion

As Draka expands globally, so do its capabilities in providing an ever-growing array of products and services to the local markets that make up the worldwide elevator industry. By focusing on its three major business regions, the company is making significant headway into previously untapped markets, which, in turn, provides it with new challenges and the way to new innovations.

Locally, each regional market is different, but Draka has been able to tap into the synergies of its facilities worldwide through the implementation of its Centers of Competence model to provide each market with what it needs when it needs it. By approaching new business in this manner, the company hopes to take advantage of its local resources to provide new solutions for the global elevator industry as a whole. In addition to continually introducing new products to its varied markets, Draka plans to become an increasingly more globally focused company in the years to come.

 Manufacturing Methodologies

Draka specializes in plug-and-play harnessing solutions in the area to minimize customer installation cost and risk. Using Lean and 5S manufacturing methodologies has enabled the company to significantly improve internal production processes as part of overall business efforts to help ensure quality workspaces for the production of quality products. As part of a worldwide focus on capabilities, Draka facilities in its European, Middle Eastern and African, and Asia Pacific Area Countries region are also acting as a funnel for already well-known products and services, such as round traveling cable (manufactured in the U.S.) and plug-and-play termination.

The 5S methodology Draka uses at all its major facilities is focused on waste reduction across five major areas (sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain) for each work area. It is also applied for such purposes as storage-space optimization and facility layout improvements. Each month, teams of 5S-trained employees are tasked with assessing all work areas in each facility for listed items that relate to health, safety, environment, tools, equipment, processes, etc. They then provide comments, findings and recommendations on these items. To accomplish this, 5S performance scores are assigned for each listed item in each work area, then final total scores are calculated. Total scores for each work area are tracked on a monthly basis, and actions are taken by 5S-trained employees to improve scores (via “action items”) if necessary.

5S data is shared with each functional work area and cross-functionally in order to ensure all employees know about any active 5S initiatives so everyone can contribute to their success. Last year, Draka led several 5S initiatives across its various production, distribution and maintenance areas, and has seen noticeable efficiency gains tied to 5S initiatives in these areas.

References
[1] Bersin, Josh. “The World Is Not Global, It’s Local,” Forbes, 2013 (www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2013/04/23/the-world-is-not-global-its-local).
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