We talked to Xavier Claveria of SmartMon about real-time production control for any type of machine and he had the following to say about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Xavier Claveria: In general, everything is going quite well. I am happy to be with my family at home and continue working on my projects as usual. I have realized that I have everything that I need in my own home and learned to value the details and the small things in life. I have never been so close to people who are physically so far away.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded SmartMon.
Xavier Claveria: I have always been passionate about machines and factories. When I was young, I started working on industrial engineering projects. As a consequence, I founded my current company, which is SISMAQ SLU. At the beginning of the internet, I started working and collaborating on some SERED Networks projects. I was the CEO of ACTIWEB, a portal web page that allows anyone to create their own website without any programming knowledge. Despite the success of ACTIWEB, I left the project to work on something much more innovative that would change my life and the world of factories too. This project, called SmartMon, is a system to control the production of machines in real-time.
I have always had the idea that a factory could capture and store data in the cloud and be able to have full control of its production from anywhere and whenever. For this reason, I started the project and got a few results. It has been these last three years when this project has had a spectacular boom that has far exceeded our expectations. We are currently leading the sector in Spain, and our software is being implemented worldwide in countries such as the United States, Chile, Argentina, and Italy.
How does SmartMon innovate?
Xavier Claveria: The SmartMon project is based on the implementation of systems for Industry 4.0, specifically in the digitization of factories, production control, and systems for analyzing production data and quality control. We have developed our own OEE / MES software and adapt it to each client’s needs, thanks to the feedback received from factory managers and workers.
We always value the ideas of our employees, who we motivate to make this project grow. The most important thing in innovation is understanding the specific needs of the market and each client to implement it correctly to obtain the best results.
These experiences can be reused in other sectors or types of customers. Our staff is made of leading professionals in their areas, and we try to give them the maximum autonomy since many of the ideas that have made this company great have come from clients and their employees.
Our goal is to apply the necessary technology to achieve a system that is easily adaptable to any machine that generates information on the performance and quality in real-time of the factory, manufacturing orders, machines, and employees. We are also constantly adding new features to the platform to make it more unique and innovative.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Xavier Claveria: We thought that due to the Covid-19 recession, factories were going to invest less money in projects like ours. However, the need for teleworking have only accelerated the change of companies to new digitalization technologies. For this reason, this year has been the best year for our company.
We are in a globalized world with very high competition and increasingly lower economic margins. For this reason, factories need a system to improve and solve real problems.
Implementing SmartMon can significantly increase the company’s profits thanks to the analysis of the data it provides. It is a system that helps to manage the necessary change, diagnose problems, and make decisions from anywhere.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Xavier Claveria: All beginnings are hard and even more so when you are creating an innovative product. In the beginning, we hardly got any results. The world did not seem prepared for this, and many decision-makers simply did not understand what it meant to implement and improve a system like this one. They simply told us that this was not going to work in their company or that they did not need it. It was a fear of innovation.
I had to risk my own time and money on an idea that might have not worked because the world was not ready for it, but I knew that this idea was going to turn out to be something big.
I have learned that everything comes if you persevere enough. I’ve learned that you can have the best idea in the world, but if you don’t know how to explain and demonstrate it, the message will never come across.
The most important lesson that I learnt from this project is that to go far, you must always be accompanied. You cannot compete alone in this world, and it is important to have support, collaborators, and workers to make your project bigger.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Xavier Claveria: Pressure and stress are inevitable. Above all, exercising or doing activities that allow you to disconnect can make a big difference in how you face hard situations. It is true that I do not have much time to do these activities, but it is positive to go out to do sport, chat with friends, meditate… after disconnecting, I return to work with more desire, and when I have a problem, the best solutions come to my mind when I’m doing daily activities.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Xavier Claveria: Nowadays, our competitors are companies with large structures, and therefore their services will need a large investment in hardware and software, sometimes difficult to assume by small companies.
The world is changing fast. The big will no longer beat the smallest, but the faster will beat the slower. That is our strategy for staying in the game. In the world of software, the one who adapts faster to the future than the others is the one that will be more successful. For that reason, it is important to stimulate the imagination, enhance creativity, and never say no to an idea to offer an easy-to-use, simple, and effective product.
Your final thoughts?
Xavier Claveria: High competition in manufacturing companies increasingly demands the control and digitization of production. Traceability systems are becoming something essential to companies. The fourth industrial revolution has arrived.