Schubert får 'Factory of the Year' 2018 pris
To be awarded the top prize the very first time the company took part in the “Factory of the Year” benchmark competition is indeed a special honour. True to company founder Gerhard Schubert’s philosophy, the management is taking this award as an opportunity to broadly advance the company
Jörg Brenner, Chief Financial Officer, and Jens Stoll, Head of Technical Organisation at Schubert give an insight into what it means to win the prize.
Mr Brenner and Mr Stoll, what significance does the “Factory of the Year 2018” award have for the entire Group and for the Crailsheim plant?
Jörg Brenner: 'We see the award primarily as a great distinction for the life’s work of our company founder Gerhard Schubert. He, his sons Ralf and Gerald and the entire management succeed again and again in driving innovation and quality in all areas of the company and in consistently motivating the teams.'
Jens Stoll: 'The organisers of the competition refer to a “revival of entrepreneurship”, i.e. people who are prepared to take personal risks and combine this with perseverance, in-depth knowledge and good instincts for future market requirements. This is really nothing new for us. At Schubert, we have been operating successfully with this philosophy for more than 50 years – and we have now been honoured for it.'
More than 60,000 parts have already been produced at Schubert using 3D printing.
What conclusions do you draw from this overall victory for the future?
Brenner: 'The award confirms that our strategy and our instincts are right on track. That is why we are continuing along the path we have chosen. This means that we will carry on continuously improving both our machines and our processes. Standardisation and innovation are important buzzwords here.'
Schubert’s digitalisation strategy was explicitly highlighted by the jury. What makes it so special?
Brenner: 'The fact that we at Schubert started grappling with the topic early on and very thoroughly. And it’s still high on our agenda – internally and externally.'
'We have been working with the Saturn ERP system we developed ourselves for 25 years. All the information converges there, so that we can call up relevant data in real time from every workstation. There is no uncontrolled system growth and our employees can work efficiently. Still today, this is unique in the field of mechanical engineering.'
Stoll: 'Moreover, we have already produced more than 60,000 parts with 3D printing. Before we started using this process, we subjected it to a comprehensive economic analysis. The use of new materials and processes has a significant impact on our parts production. We came to the conclusion that 3D printing can increase customer value whilst also reducing our process costs.'
Two terms that are often used in this context are GRIPS and GRIPS.world. What exactly do they involve?
Stoll: 'With our GRIPS management system, which we introduced in 2016, we are optimising our internal processes. The term is an abbreviation of the German equivalent of “Together in the direction of innovation, processes and standards”.'
Gerhard Schubert revolutionised the packaging machine market with the patented Transmodul transport robot.
'Furthermore, in the future we will also allow our suppliers and customers to share even more strongly in the benefits of digitalisation. With our GRIPS.world platform, on which we are currently working at full speed, we are asking ourselves many questions, in particular: What do our customers need for efficient, smooth production? How can we further increase the output of TLM packaging machines which are already installed at our customer sites? And how can necessary maintenance work best be scheduled? “Predictive maintenance” is the buzzword here.'
What competitive advantages are being generated for both you and your customers, through your continuous pursuit of digitalisation along the entire value chain?
Brenner: 'We work with a high degree of vertical integration and short lead times. This means that we can supply our customers even faster and more reliably. In the future, our customers will be able to visualise any changes to the product to be packaged or adjustments to the formats via their packaging machine’s digital twin, or to incorporate them directly into their machine’s production process.'
Speaking of competition: Gerhard Schubert GmbH is growing continuously. You must be constantly on the lookout for highly motivated, well-trained workers. Do awards such as “Factory of the Year” contribute to making employers even more attractive?
Stoll: 'Absolutely. Applicants explicitly refer to the award. The competition is very well known in the region because we are the third Crailsheim company to receive an award.'
During the celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary, founder Gerhard Schubert was awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit.
When explaining their decision, the jurors highlighted the way you show appreciation to your employees. What are the special features that distinguish Gerhard Schubert GmbH in this area?
Brenner: 'Many of our employees remain with us from their initial training all the way through to retirement. They know our philosophy, our processes, our customers, everything from the bottom up. This of course benefits us as an employer. With this in mind, we offer our employees long-term career prospects. We are perceived as a stable employer that safely navigates through economically stormy times, and promotes its personnel. We work hard together and then we celebrate what we have achieved together.'