MANN+HUMMEL sets standards worldwide. It is my job to define and implement these standards at the production locations. I promote the establishment of our production strategy within the company and for this reason am in close contact with our plants throughout the world. Our production strategy is based on different elements, which themselves are based on ‘lean principles’, i.e. the principles of lean production. This regulation framework is our way of ensuring that processes and procedures are similar around the world and meet customers’ high expectations.
Another element is bringing together individual plants in one overall network. As a general rule, each plant has a clearly defined area of responsibility so that it can provide the best possible services across all plants and achieve success for MANN+HUMMEL as a whole. This gives us the option of developing existing strengths and reducing the impact of and eliminating any potential weaknesses.
It all comes down to production technologies
In order to ensure a successful future for ourselves and our products, the next thing for us to do is develop our production technologies further. For this reason, we have set up seven lead teams who will be working with the plants to develop and implement generally binding standards. This will have two major advantages. Firstly, if we manage to successfully agree on a global machine standard, we will be in a better position from which to negotiate with machine manufacturers. Secondly, we will develop the production network further. This will make the Group as a whole better. If all the plants are working to the same standards, we will achieve parity and will be able to develop technology for the Group further. Innovations may then arise on this basis, with the intention being for the technology teams to develop new procedures, new software tools or new automation solutions in the future.
Quality needs standards
We have over 50 locations and 35 plants worldwide. Any standard must be written so that it can be implemented globally. It has to be as concrete as possible to gain the desired benefit, but as flexible as is necessary to be able to adapt it locally. That is why we are involving all the plants in the development of a new guideline. We don’t sit in ivory towers and send unrealistic subject matter out into the world – we make use of the expertise and experience available in the plants. To increase the availability of machinery and equipment, MANN+HUMMEL has, for example, been conducting a complete overhaul of the existing ‘Total Productive Maintenance – TPM’ standard over the past year. For this, successful approaches from Brazil, Germany, France, Spain, the Czech Republic and South Korea were collected and taken into consideration.
An ongoing task
To implement new standards locally we have set up ‘Production Training Centers’. These are rooms located in the immediate vicinity of production departments, in which employees become well versed in standardised training content ranging from quality issues and occupational safety to learning about new processes.
Plants are expected to remain autonomous in all standardisation work going forward. Continual improvement affects each and every one of us and optimisation is part of the work we do every day – locations must continue to do this of their own accord.
Our production strategy is an ongoing task and the technology teams and I have plenty of ideas about what can be done in this area. In a blog article coming soon, the teams themselves will be given another slightly more detailed insight into their area of responsibility.