In my blog series ‘What does…actually do?’, I (Arne Bauer) give readers an outline of the jobs that certain people at MANN+HUMMEL do. It is my job as a roving reporter to look over the shoulders of employees at the locations in Germany. At Speyer, it was plant manager Markus Scheerle’s turn to have me following him around.
What does a plant manager at Speyer actually do?
A couple of quick strides are all it takes for Markus Scheerle to climb the few steel steps to the entrance of the production hall and walk into the first production area. ‘Perfectly tidy‘ are his words of praise to Andreas Christ, who is usually the first to see him in the morning. On his rounds, Scheerle shakes many hands – intensive interaction is enormously important to this plant manager, and not only to get his own personal overview, but also to express his appreciation to the employees: “The foundations for the success of the company are laid here in production.”
For the plant manager, work begins as soon as he gets out of his car in the car park. Throwing a glance in the direction of the incoming goods area, Scheerle checks whether routes are clear and ensures that occupational safety is guaranteed. “We haven’t had an accident for over 400 days“, he beams. Markings on the ground such as walkways and zebra crossings direct employees. Scheerle says: “It’s crucial that we can say that people arrive healthy in the morning and go home healthy in the evening.’
Ongoing improvement of working conditions is a cause close to the plant manager’s heart; he regularly obtains information from Frank Reichert about all matters pertaining to Health, Environment & Safety. Scheerle also devotes a lot of time to discussions with the works council. As a plant manager, he is keen to live and breathe MANN+HUMMEL’s culture, to be approachable and to listen: “I want everyone to be able to get involved.” More than 1400 proposals for improvements to the plant over the past year prove that this approach is working.
The morning DOM (Daily Operations Meeting) is an instrumental tool for the plant manager. Eleven managers gather around one bar-style table and put forward important key figures and procedures. “Tomorrow we need to have an understanding of why we are deviating here,” is Scheerle’s clear statement to the others. He ties up all the loose ends; he assesses topics and points out areas which are not working. After all, he is fully aware of his responsibility as a plant manager: “I see it as my role to create an environment in which several hundred people have a safe place to work.”
As manager of the production plant at Speyer, Scheerle is a member of the management team for the Industrial Filters Business Unit, which is also why he is currently working with Eveline Ticoalu (Finance & Controlling Business Unit IF) to prepare a presentation on the supplier status and stock development around the world. An array of diagrams and tables adorn the wall of his office behind his desk. Ms Ticoalu had barely left the office when logistics manager Jean-Marc Erieau came through the door to plan a logistics meeting.
A little later, Scheerle is delving deep into figures together with controller Gabriel Cil, the two of them looking to trace the inefficiencies of the past month. Following discussions about output, turnover, personnel costs, sales costs and calculation methods, Cil is positive in his summary: “I think we’ve done a good job.” The pair also scrutinise the performance of the individual production areas. Scheerle says: “We need to understand why performance goes up and down.”
Scheerle has been at MANN+HUMMEL for over 30 years and doesn’t hold back in coming forward with his opinion: “I think MANN+HUMMEL is a great company.” It’s the size and international nature and also the friendly atmosphere and close-knit nature of the company that do it for him: “China, Mexico, Singapore –we are in a position to offer our employees global challenges. And if I need support one particular day, I get an appointment with the Board of Management the next day.” Whether it’s management of day-to-day problems, ongoing improvement of working conditions or cost-effectiveness, Scheerle balances everything in his role as plant manager. That’s why it’s not so rare to see his white car and number plate in front of the building from the early hours until late!