Ms Harnischmacher, Ms Sartison, how is it that your segment is becoming increasingly "smarter"?
CH: I think we simply started early on with our optimisations. When the prize was introduced in 2007, our net productivity figures were rock bottom, we recognised a need there.
Did management shake you up?
LS: When the figures were presented, many of us were initially frustrated, we said: We will never get the "smart bonus". But then we started to think about what we could change.
CH: Yes, somehow this awakened our fighting spirit, we wanted to prove that we could do better.
So did this bonus motivate you?
CH: It was a springboard for a kind of mood to start afresh, at least. And then after this we didn't want to stop at all, we really enjoyed it. And this has continued to this day. So you wanted to increase productivity.
What did you do?
CH: We simply started talking to our teams. We did this in passing during our everyday work, and this is how we collected ideas for changes.
LS: At the start, this also called for a change in attitude. We tried to move our employees more in the direction of working in groups. To show that we are moving away from piecework. That is my workplace, that is my chair, that was the attitude of the "old hands" from the piecework time. Integrating old and new employees into the group without any resentment was also a major challenge. These are things that took time.
You said that you collected your colleagues' ideas? What were these ideas?
CH: For example, a colleague of mine said, I don't want to assemble it in this way, I don't want to handle it in this way, this way is more ergonomic. Another colleague preferred to use a small trolley for picking, like in a supermarket.
LS: Yes, these were minor issues, actually simple things, which, however, put together made a difference.
And with these trivial issues you then gradually turned the whole segment on its head?
CF: Yes. A good example is the box in which we currently install the modular jack/Western plug connector. For historical reasons, all the work steps were spread over the entire segment, in spatial terms. For each work step, all the parts had to be packed into the box and then taken out again. This alone increased lead times significantly. Today, we have collected all the work steps in this box and reintegrated a step that was previously outsourced. From an ergonomic perspective, it's very good, the height of workplaces can be adjusted, employees can sit or stand.