The Networker

Karl Eismann puts teams together to work on solutions. The results are often surprising – even to him.

“Cross-functional from an end-to-end point of view” – that may sound a bit complicated, but it describes something simple: a way to optimize work processes and keep losses to a minimum. We look at the entire value chain, from raw material to customer.

Employees from marketing, sales, agriculture, milk collection, purchasing and logistics met up in Zeven last year together with production managers to optimize quark production with a focus on the future. Everyone talked about the situation from their point of view, describing how their area of work functions, and what could be improved. The results of this E2E workshop were amazing, affecting quality, cost, safety, the end result – as well as employee morale and motivation. Everyone came away with a better understanding of the others’ situations, and didn’t focus only on their own department but towards improving things together. It’s a way of working that spurs me on and motivates me. It’s a totally new approach. In another meeting like this, a team from Erfurt, for example, worked out how to optimize the costs of producing a pot of mascarpone. The machines weren’t able to seal the pot properly and that was causing production problems. The team decided to expand the board by one millimeter – enabling us to save 150,000 euros a year in production costs. Taking a multidimensional view of things like this is part of the TIGER project, which is helping to continuously improve value throughout the company. These workshops also help us understand each other better. Exchanges, a sense of unity and expertise coming from many departments all help us break down problems into parts and find solutions together. That only works if bosses don’t lead and think in a hierarchical way. Managers need to bring the right team together to address a particular problem – and nominate one person from the group to moderate and frame the discussion. That’s a way to tap into creative output – something that’s so vital for companies.

We’re still at the start of this development, but I can already see how good it is for employees to get more personally involved like this. It’s incredibly important to recognize the potential of each and every individual and it gives me a great deal of pleasure to see how everyone grows into their role and feels seen and valued – that should be a matter of course in any company. Promoting that is my greatest challenge.”

Karl Eismann, Director Operations Business Unit Private Label

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