Agile teams in production

Working methods instead of rigid structures 

Today, agility, adaptability and innovative mindsets are established in all successful companies. At first sight, however, such methods may not appear to be suitable for all areas of activity. Now Kuraray’s facility in Troisdorf has found a workable solution to this dilemma: agile, future-oriented working practices have been introduced at our production plant for Trosifol® PVB interlayers for laminated safety glass. A model that could catch on in production!

Since I got involved in this pilot project, I’ve got a much clearer picture of how the steps in the production process fit together. Now I can find the right solutions more easily by talking directly with my colleagues.

Alexander Wollersheim, Technical Coordinator Electronics, Production Troisdorf

New work and agile working methods have been standard in management, administration and service units for some time. Flexible, proactive collaboration across different levels of the company, where people take the initiative, has already been tested and implemented in many areas at Kuraray. 

But in production plants where every cog in the wheel has to mesh exactly with another, rigid structures are often regarded as essential. Frank Wiedemann, plant manager in Troisdorf, had been wondering for some time whether agile working methods could also be used in production plants. Together with an external firm of consultants, representatives of Production Quality Control and Maintenance, and the Works Council held intensive workshops to develop a new agile concept for the production lines in Troisdorf – embedded in established routines. 

As a pilot project, three building-based teams of employees from key areas of production hold routine morning meetings. Any problems that have been identified are discussed at the meetings and the employees are responsible for dealing with them immediately. Initial discussions with these independent teams show that group dynamics work extremely well and challenges are overcome quickly and flexibly. That shows that the positive effects of agile working methods can also benefit production plants. Frank Wiedemann is convinced that this concept will take off in Troisdorf in 2022.

Self-managing teams in production

  • Mutual support
  • Tackle things with motivation and bear personal responsibility
  • Respond fast and flexibly to complex challenges

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