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“With COROZEN our aim is to rigorously think in a customer-oriented way and continuously improve our production processes from this viewpoint. However, it cannot be taken for granted and really needs to be actively practiced – by each and every employee, every day,” says Pierre Häcker. The trained industrial mechanic and state-certified mechanical engineering technician is responsible for analysing, developing, implementing and further enhancing production standards in the Technical Adhesive Tapes business unit, leveraging the principles of COROZEN to do so. He supports and trains his colleagues in identifying problems and jointly developing solutions that can be standardised.
“Typically, companies favour a results-oriented mindset,” Häcker explains: “However, the pathway to the goal frequently gets overlooked on the way. At Coroplast we prefer to foster a process-oriented culture. We think less in terms of immediate results and concentrate on sustainably improving processes in so-called PDCA cycles. It might sound pretentious to outsiders, but our aim is to get as close as possible to the perfect process.” And we do so for good reasons, as ultimately, satisfied customers are a crucial competitive advantage on hard-fought markets. Essentially, it is all about offering better and more consistent quality, avoiding all forms of waste and increasing overall flexibility.
Where there aren’t any problems, there’s no potential to improve anything. My colleagues have learned to perceive problems as opportunities.
Our COROZEN improvement process functions as a cycle, i.e. the PDCA cycle with its four steps: Plan, Do, Check and Act. At the beginning of an improvement cycle, the team analyses the current situation, jointly identifies problems and develops specific goals and strategies. In the second step, the methods are tested in practice. After completing the test phase, the team evaluates the lessons learned. If the assessment is positive, the measures considered good are incorporated in the production process as a new, improved standard. At the same time, the newly achieved standard marks the starting point for the next PDCA cycle. However, a continuous improvement process of this kind can only be achieved with a motivated, well-trained team that sees problems as opportunities and actively practices the COROZEN culture in a disciplined way.
“Training sessions are held on a weekly basis so that my colleagues and I can actively practice COROZEN every day and we remain motivated, disciplined and aware of the problems,” says Häcker with satisfaction. “We also visit other companies that use Kaizen methods in the context of Lean Learning tours.” This creates a valuable dialogue that enables our people to gain fresh insights into the broad field of Kaizen. The 5S model is a key element for raising awareness of COROZEN in everyday life. It strikingly summarises the five core requirements of our method, i.e. sort, set in order, shine, standardise and, last but not least, self-discipline.
Rightly understood, Kaizen thinking opens up siloed structures. “Improvements can only be achieved if you think outside the box, i.e. consider the interfaces to other disciplines and colleagues,” says Pierre Häcker. Thus each employee sees their colleague downstream in the process as an (in-house) customer who they attempt to supply as accurately as possible. With this attitude and the methods described, COROZEN has a positive impact both inwardly and outwardly. And Pierre Häcker emphasises: “Our customers benefit, for example, from increasingly stable processes, consistent quality and reliable delivery. And my colleagues can contribute their full abilities, enjoy being appreciated and collectively improve their working environment. COROZEN simply inspires me because it creates genuinely sustainable win-win situations.”