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In the end, it´s not just technology or processes that determine the success of a company, but the people who work there. The people who use their talent every day to maintain and improve production. With rapidly growing production volumes, the demands on the team increase - not only in technical terms, but especially in terms of communication. At Ersa, market success threatened to overstretch the organization. A solution had to be found to equalize and reorganize the many direct reporting lines between manufacturing and management.
"The key and the kick for the successful restructuring of the company was the introduction of middle management," says Ralph Knecht. But new executives cannot be "carved" so easily. Ersa fell back on the existing workforce in its search for suitable people. The company knew that there was plenty of talent within its own ranks.
To inject momentum into the change process, the company is looking for leaders. "We needed people who could inspire," reports Judith Seindl, Human Resources Manager at Kurtz Holding and responsible for Ersa. This allowed the enthusiasm for the new ways of working to spread to the entire workforce. "We primarily relied on employees who raised their hands of their own accord and thus signaled that they wanted to successfully help shape the Ersa future in a responsible position," Judith Seindl explains the approach. At the company´s own training center, the Hammer Academy, the prospective new managers were and still are given the tools they need, especially when it comes to communication. Because for shopfloor management, the exchange of relevant information is essential for success.
"Regular communication between the manager and the entire team is essential," says Judith Seindl, describing the requirements for employees in manufacturing. "The idea behind this is that challenges are addressed in the teams so that a solution can be found quickly." For one or the other, it costs an effort to suddenly appear in front of a group and have to talk about the state of affairs. "If the teams work well together and the managers are accessible because they have a manageable management span, the inhibition threshold is much lower," Judith Seindl says.
Judith Seindl counters that it´s hard to give a general definition. "We thrive on the cross-section and diversity of our workforce," she says. "In any case, having only class representatives in a team hardly works." In any case, one core characteristic is essential, she says: the ability to work in a team. "We only function as a team. That´s why we won the 'Factory of the Year' award," Judith Seindl clarifies. "We came across as a good, strong Ersa team."
What is needed are enthusiastic employees who have a desire to work on exciting products and do it well as a team. In cycle production, communication among colleagues is essential; lone wolves will have a hard time here. Employees work in a dynamic environment in which the requirements for the product and its manufacture are constantly evolving.
"Because digitization is a big issue for us, a certain enthusiasm for digital devices such as the touchscreen is helpful. We no longer have thick Leitz folders with paper documentation," says Judith Seindl. The Ersa team has mastered the challenges of the change process. Many of the colleagues seized the opportunities and continued to develop. Hardly any of those involved in the project are still working in the same capacity as before. People have more responsibility - and thanks to the right team set-up, the new top performers and their teams not only have more responsibility, but also enjoy their jobs!