Following the ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications recently achieved by Fonroche Lighting, and to learn more about what the production department does, we talked to Nicolas Kudlikowski, chief operating officer for the last two years. He explains how the production facility operates and the various environmental and continuous improvement actions currently in progress.
Production at Fonroche Lighting: how does it work?
Hello Nicolas. How does the solar streetlight production team operate at Fonroche?
We have 15 people working every day at the company’s production facility, split into several work areas.
- The battery team handles two production lines for assembling, programming and testing the Power365 batteries and packaging them for shipping. They also perform the important task of configuring the circuit boards in our off-grid streetlamps, which are individually programmed for each project. It’s a highly innovative technology that’s been developed from A to Z by our in-house R&D department. And it’s the only technology in the world to guarantee lighting 365 nights a year.
- The LED staff assemble the LED light units and systematically check that each one lights up correctly.
- A team of forklift operators and stores staff keep the assembly lines supplied with parts and materials. They also pick finished products, prepare orders and manage incoming and outgoing packages and pallets.
The team leader coordinates and supervises everyone, tracks progress on orders and liaises with the supply chain and administration teams.
Fonroche Lighting is a growing company, which has won major contracts in Senegal and Benin. Our workshops have a production capacity of around 40,000 streetlights a year, which ship all over the world!
Orders are flooding in every day, which means we need to hire new staff. In 2018, we created three full-time jobs.
Eco-friendly production of sustainable streetlights
What steps is Fonroche Lighting taking to protect the environment?
To offer truly eco-responsible products in the marketplace, it’s vitally important to manufacture them without adding to the world’s CO2 emissions. We’re working on this issue every day, even though a solar streetlight in itself has a minimal environmental impact.
Our R&D department, for instance, is constantly on the lookout for the latest eco-friendly components. Logistics doesn’t use air transport for international shipments anymore, but opts instead for sea freight. In addition, to ensure every last component of our products is recycled, we’ve formed partnerships with companies at national level.
What specifically are you doing at the production facility to help achieve these environmental goals?
First, we’re sorting and separating waste. Every employee is briefed on this at each stage of production. We’ve also signed an agreement with a local company for collecting flexible plastics, such as packaging film and bubblewrap.
Second, we’re saving energy. Switching off lights and computers and turning the thermostat down a notch are just some of the steps we’re taking to reduce the ecological footprint of our products.
All these actions helped Fonroche Lighting achieve ISO 14001 certification, which reflects the company’s commitment to continuously improve our environmental performance. The auditors were impressed by what we’re doing!
Lastly, how important is continuous improvement for customers and employees?
Certification is a great achievement, but getting it renewed each year is even better. A whole host of continuous improvement projects are planned for 2019 to ensure that our customers are satisfied — as well as our staff.
The work stations at the production facility will be redesigned to make them more ergonomically friendly and to boost efficiency. We’re drawing up new procedures to formally define the different jobs our teams perform and help raise standards of professionalism.
As regards customer satisfaction, new tests are being carried out on our solar streetlights to ensure installation is sustainable and in line with what customers want. Our Quality department is working every day to improve the traceability of raw materials. What’s more, incoming components are now sampled to verify compliance and better manage supplier quality.
Thanks, Nicolas for all that!
We’ll leave you with a short video sequence: