On Wednesday 21 September 2016, we had quite an emotional experience.
8 years ago, Mr Troclet ended his long career as a foreman, after working for the EuroCave brand for 30 years.
His visit caused a bit of a stir amongst the teams with whom he had shared so much.
We took advantage of his visit to ask some questions...
I started at Bendix in 1966, then I joined Manufactures de Fourmies.
I started in manufacturing then I worked my way through all the jobs: from the production line to maintenance, models and the tool depot.
In fact, just before Manufactures de Fourmies filed for bankruptcy, there was not a lot of staff so we had to know how to do a bit of everything.
I was therefore present when these appliances, the famous wine cabinets, were created.
In 1980, when Mr Martin took over manufacturing of EuroCave wine cabinets, there were no more than 3/4 people to restart the factory…
With just a few workers, we slowly restarted manufacturing. Fortunately, I knew all the departments!
We restarted in smaller premises and it was a former employee of Manufactures de Fourmies, Mr Nicolas, who organised the factory and layout.
There were not many of us, so we had to fire on all cylinders.
For example, I “formed” and welded evaporators… something I had never done before and which was not at all easy; it required dexterity. I was also solely responsible for all the maintenance and development for several years.
Then, we came to the current premises where I set up all of the production lines.
I was always striving to improve the work stations. It was important to improve the performance of the production facilities and ensure that the work stations were adapted to employees.
I didn’t used to count my hours...
I sometimes even came in on Saturdays and Sundays!
Sometimes I had to work during my holidays. One day, I was checking the machines before restarting and a motor gave way… I had to have it all repaired during my holiday so that manufacturing could start again on time.
I enjoyed my work so much, it was as if a part of the company belonged to me.
And we were rewarded! Mr Martin, in the first few years gave us a share in the profits. I remember it well because at the time, it was not commonplace.
Then I entered the engineering and design department as development manager.
We designed by hand at the time.
Incidentally, when they installed a computer for me, all I did was switch it on and then off again at the end of the day. I never used it. It takes time to learn how to use a computing tool and time was something I didn’t have. I had to work fast!
I was also responsible for testing appliances in a climate-controlled room.
Then, eight years ago, I took my retirement.
Mr T.: Yes, that’s right, I designed the appliances.
Today, all of the work stations are well separated, but at the time, you have to understand that there were not many of us. If there were modifications to be made on the production facilities (cooling jigs, cores…), it was again me who took care of it.
Mr T.: The aim was to guarantee the criteria for storing wine.
When it comes to wine, you mustn’t have extreme cold. We therefore worked a lot on that point. Storage is also an important factor. To develop the shelves, we started with bottles and adapted the storage to their requirements.
I also worked on the plans of the first flush-fitting ranges and on meubles à vin. All of that was really exciting.
Mr T.: It’s nice to see all the people I knew, who I worked with all these years.
It brings back memories...
Some will probably say that I was hard, but at the time, in the workshop, there was no messing about. We couldn’t allow it. The atmosphere has always been good but the job had to be serious!
I imagine that it is still the case today by the way.
Anyway, I had a good team!
Mr T.: The layout has really changed. In my time, the machines were all lined up. The furniture has moved around, as it were...
Before, the workers moved, now it is the cabinets!
It is better organised, notably with the colour guidance system that you have implemented.
The layout of the work stations has also changed a lot, with the implementation of more ergonomic work stations, which adapt to the size of the operator, for example.
You can see that it is less physical thanks to the new equipment and new lines which facilitate the work.
Before, we carried heavy loads by hand, but it is no longer the case today.
I have also noticed technological changes made to the cabinets and improvements in the manufacturing techniques.
It’s great, it’s improving all the time!
But there are some things which haven’t changed: I have found many actions and operations which are practically the same as they were in the beginning… The principal has remained the same.
One thing that has struck me is that there are a lot more women in production. At the time, there were practically no women working at the factory.
Anyway, I have really enjoyed coming back to visit! Improvements have been made and it has modernized.
It’s nice to work for EuroCave.
Anyway, they give the impression of being happy!
Photos taken during Mr Troclet’s visit to the EuroCave factory in Fourmies - Northern France