Duracell wins Factory of the Future Award thanks to investment in the future

During the fifth edition of the Factory of the Future Awards ten companies received the title of Factory of the Future, the award granted by Sirris and Agoria to companies that best succeed in reconciling the technologies of the future with work tailored to people and the environment. The winner we are putting in the spotlight this time is Duracell, well-known for its batteries.

One of the key objectives of Sirris and Agoria is to enhance the contributions of the technological industry to a prosperous and sustainable society. Together with various partners Sirris and Agoria support manufacturing companies to achieve this, for example through the ‘Factory of the Future’ project, in which an award is granted each year to the best students of the class.

Factories of the Future invest in digitisation, smart processes and products and in global production, while also thoughtfully dealing with energy and materials and paying attention to involvement, creativity and autonomy of their employees.

This year the ten winners received the title of Factory of the Future from the Flemish Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois. The awards were given to BMT Aerospace, Bosch, Colruyt Group Fine Food, Duracell, Janssen, Lavetan, Mirion Technologies, Niko Group, Materialise and Rf-Technologies.

Anchoring strategy

The Duracell plant in Aarschot has been producing AA and AAA alkaline batteries for Europe, India, the Middle East and Africa since 1967. It is the only Duracell production site in Europe. Despite difficult times in the past, the commitment, dedication and know-how of the 450 employees ensured that the ‘blue factory’ has been a household name in the region for more than 50 years and will continue to be just that. An investment programme was launched in 2015, which had to bring modernisation and digitisation to the plant.

For its innovation, Duracell focused on different domains.

A focus on efficiency translates into a combination of smart automation, digitisation, targeted investments, which are all about high speed, high quality and decreasing production costs.

A focus on the strength of the organisation (‘Battery Masters’) is reflected in the involvement of employees as ‘equipment owners’ and ‘area owners’ in self-managing teams, ‘total productive maintenance’, via lean and continuous improvement.

Product innovation is made possible by a renewed local R&D team in close cooperation with the global R&D team and through far-reaching local partnerships and ‘POC’ developments. Duracell Aarschot is the group’s lead site for digitisation and machine learning.

Since last year, the team in Aarschot has achieved the best satisfaction scores of all Duracell production sites. This is partly due to the high level of involvement of the staff, which is not only noticeable on the shop floor, but also outside of it.   

Wondering what a Factory of the Future looks like on the inside? From 21 March to 9 June Agoria will again organise a Factory of the Future Roadshow, which will visit 19 of the winners. This roadshow is your chance to see how Factory of the Future winners operate, to connect with them and test your own challenges against their experience. More information is available in our agenda.