Babolat in the era of digitalized maintenance

To optimise its maintenance system and performance, Babolat shifted from paper and notebooks to a digital maintenance solution: a DIMO Maint CMMS software.

Babolat, a Lyon-based equipment manufacturer specializing in racquet sports, used to rely on paper-and-spreadsheet-based maintenance management. To optimize the follow-up of its business activities, the company decided to digitalize its maintenance operation by adopting the user-friendly and evolutive CMMS, DIMO Maint MX.

BABOLAT: world leader in racket string

rackets-store-babolat

Babolat video testimonial

Babolat (337 people, turnover in 2018: 135 M€) is an equipment manufacturer specializing in racquet sports with its headquarters in Lyon-Vaise. Founded in 1875, this family-owned company invented racquet strings. Today, its products can be found in more than 140 countries, 20,000 specialized stores, and 20,000 sports clubs. Babolat caters to amateur and professional tennis and badminton players (Nadal and Tsonga are Babolat users), as well as padel players.

In addition to rackets and strings, the company also manufactures and distributes shoes, balls, textiles, and luggage. With three production sites (Corbas in the Rhône, Besançon in the Doubs, and Ploërmel in the Morbihan), the company’s maintenance department decided to digitalize its management processes to curb the loss of information and thus improve efficiency.

Babolat (337 pers., 2018 turnover: €135 million) is a racket sports equipment manufacturer whose head office is located in Vaise, Lyon (69). Founded in 1875, this family-owned business invented racket string. Its products can be found in more than 140 countries, 20,000 specialised shops and 20,000 sports clubs. Babolat sells products for amateur and professional tennis and badminton players (Nadal and Tsonga are Babolat users) as well as padel players. In addition to rackets and string, the company also manufactures and sells shoes, balls, apparel and bags. With three manufacturing sites (Corbas in the Rhône, Besançon in Doubs and Ploërmel in Morbihan), its maintenance department decided to digitise its management processes to prevent information loss and gain in efficiency.

 

The initial goal: centralize knowledge to promote convergence of the various professions

babolat-warehouse

The Corbas operations center (5,93 acres, 60 full-time employees) specializes in logistics and the manufacture of synthetic ropes. Peaks in logistical activity occur between January and April, due to the preparation of tournaments and the launch of new product lines.

The maintenance department, headed by Laurent Sevoz, includes 4 experts in electricity and mechanics. The CMMS on the Corbas site oversees the maintenance of synthetic rope production machines, buildings, and warehouses equipment for logistics purposes. The convergence of mechanical and electrical professions is the main challenge envisioned for the future.

The maintenance department, headed by Laurent Sevoz, includes 4 experts in electricity and mechanics. The CMMS on the Corbas site oversees the maintenance of synthetic rope production machines, buildings, and warehouses equipment for logistics purposes. The convergence of mechanical and electrical professions is the main challenge envisioned for the future.

Claude Leroy, head of mechanical maintenance, explains that their manufacturing processes follow a linear batch production method carried out on a set of special and unique machines, including specific machines used to manufacture the rope and its ‘core’ via a process based on synthetic granules.

The site in a few figures:

  • Nearly 600 pieces of equipment,
  • More than 30 maintenance contracts with subcontractors on specific equipment (including buildings and forklifts),
  • More than 140 PI (preventive interventions)
  • Nearly 2,700 spare parts in stock,
  • More than 30 maintenance task-lists,
  • 320 vendor partners

CMMS spearheading the modernization of maintenance management

The Maintenance department used to rely on paper and Excel spreadsheets for daily management. Aware of the latest technological advances, they decided to modernize their processes by digitalizing activity monitoring, eliminating paper and machine maintenance notebooks, and, ultimately, curbing lack or loss of data.

The choice of a user-friendly solution with DIMO Maint MX

babolat-maintenance-team-meeting

Laurent Pruneau, CMMS manager, considered several vendors and compared the three most relevant solutions. “We needed something intuitive and easy to use with an ergonomic interface – which is not the case with many CMMS solutions – because not all the staff in the maintenance department were familiar with computer tools.” Mr. Leroy, for his part, was seduced by the user-friendliness of DIMO Maint’s home page.

A quick start

Corbas was the pilot site. “Once we decided on the solution in September 2018, we started working on the database, the tree structure, the identification and coding of equipment, maintenance task-lists, etc. DIMO Maint helped us with data collection and transferred competencies at the administrator level for the tool’s parameterization. Our internal technical users were also trained by DIMO” says Mr. Pruneau. Deployment took three months, covering preparation, implementation, and further training.

Breaking the barrier of habit to gain efficiency

“Getting used to the solution was somewhat tricky at first because we were feeling a bit apprehensive. We had to change our habits, but as we started using the solution, we noticed five major benefits,” admits Mr. Leroy, namely:

  • Convenience,
  • No more data loss,
  • Efficient information feedback,
  • Creation of a database,
  • Time-saving.

The operations centre in Corbas (24,000 m², 60 employees) specialises in the logistics and manufacturing of synthetic string. Logistical activity peaks between January and April in preparation for tournaments and the launch of new product lines. The maintenance department, led by Laurent Sevoz, includes four electricity and mechanics experts. The CMMS at Corbas involves maintaining synthetic string production machines and logistics warehouse equipment as well as building maintenance. The main challenge ahead is converging the mechanical and electrical jobs.
Claude Leroy, mechanical maintenance manager, explains that the manufacturing follows a discontinuous linear process performed by a set of special and unique machines; specific machines manufacture the string via a process based on synthetic pellets as well as the “heart” of the string around which the strands are twisted.

Some site figures:
• Nearly 600 pieces of equipment
• More than 30 subcontracted maintenance contracts on specific equipment (buildings or forklifts)
• More than 140 PWs (preventive works)
• Stock of nearly 2700 spare parts
• Over 30 maintenance routines
• 320 partner suppliers

 

CMMS as a modernisation vector for maintenance management

The maintenance department was using paper and Excel for its everyday management. Mindful of technological progress, it wanted to modernise its processes by digitising activity monitoring and getting rid of paper and notebooks for machine maintenance, to ultimately prevent absences or loss of data.

 

Choosing a user-friendly solution with DIMO Maint MX

Laurent Pruneau, CMMS manager, consulted several providers and benchmarked the three most relevant solutions. “We needed something intuitive and user-friendly with an ergonomic interface – which most CMMS solutions don’t have – because not all maintenance personnel are good with computers.” Meanwhile, Mr Leroy was impressed by the user-friendly homepage.

 

Easy to use

Corbas is a pilot site. “Once we chose a solution in September 2018, we started working on the database, the tree, the identification and coding of the equipment, the maintenance routines, etc. DIMO Maint supported us by teaching our administrators how to set up the tool and transfer data. DIMO also trained our internal technical users”, says Pruneau. Deployment was completed over a period of three months, covering upstream preparation, implementation and further development.

 

Letting go of habits to gain efficiency

It was a little tricky to learn at first because we were apprehensive about using a computer tool. We had to change our habits, but the more we used the tool, the more we observed its five major advantages”, says Leroy:

• Practicality
• No more data loss
• Reporting information
• Building a knowledge base
• Saving time

 

Future multi-sites and mobility

At Corbas, the solution is now available to requesters for all aspects of curative and preventive maintenance, but it’s a long-term job, it’s a perpetual project that monitors our evolution over time”, says Pruneau. “For Ploërmel, we are aiming for an effective deployment over a 10-month period starting in January 2019; the final objective being to equip Besançon to close the CMMS project”.

For now, we have not connected the solution to other information systems; the company is booming with the implementation of production management solutions at Corbas. In the future, Babolat plans to adopt the tablet mobile application.

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