Fit For Future
Our experts in the workplace
The imagination of our employees is what drives us creatively. That’s why BHS has firmly embedded a continuous improvement process (CIP) in its company culture since 1999. This tongue twister refers to the approach of keeping the door open to new ideas and thus accelerating our learning curve as a company. The prerequisite is handling problems with an open mind. In keeping with its motto ‘3 Fs – fit for the future’, this programme seeks to make our internal processes more efficient and, as a result, increase the competitiveness of BHS. It concerns setup processes and the improved use of resources. Individually or in project groups, employees devise small improvements or key concepts, e.g. in relation to energy saving or increasing efficiency in production.
Achievements are not just the optimisation of processes alone, but also the high level of employee motivation. The willingness to get involved remains as strong as ever: over 1,000 ideas are submitted on how we can do things differently and better each year. All ideas are rewarded by the company, and great ideas might even receive several thousand euros.
"Sometimes the employee sees things that even the superior cannot see. The specialist expertise, thinking behind processes and the resulting improvement suggestions from within the organisation are priceless for the company." Jörn Volkmann, Head of CIP
The reduction of setup times is always an area of focus in project work. The setup process of the relevant machinery is analysed in detail by a project group. In the first stage, setup fitters trace their paths themselves using a so-called spaghetti diagram. Following that, the project team uses its ingenious ideas to find ways to carry out its setup work more quickly and simply. In some plants, the setup time was reduced by up to 50% thanks to this joint project work.
BHS employees are regularly involved in the optimisation of their working environment and therefore learn how to take a structured approach to problem-solving at the same time.
Smart idea for annealing kiln inspections
It’s a great thing when a private hobby helps someone in his or her work. The annealing kiln used in the firing process of cup production in Weiden is a 40-metre-long tunnel, which is only around 20 centimetres tall and therefore difficult to access. This meant that every inspection involved a great deal of effort. Department Head Stefan Prölß, a passionate modeller and gifted handyman in his free time, had a brilliant idea. He converted one of his model vehicles so that it could fit into the narrow shaft, fitted it with a camera and moved on to the inspection run. “It is obviously pitch black in the kiln, which is why I fitted the car with LED headlights,” says Prölß. He manoeuvred the vehicle through the kiln using a remote control and was able to inspect it for deficiencies via a monitor. Thumbs up for this excellent idea which saved us a lot of time and effort!