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It’s just after seven. Konstantin Pantel rubs his eyes. Slowly, he opens the door of his captain’s cabin. No, the young man obviously doesn’t work on a ship, but Konstantin Pantel likes to call his office the captain’s cabin, as it gives him a direct view of a production area, where gigantic machines are manufacturing adhesive tapes in all shapes and colours.
The 34-year-old is responsible for the Continuous Improvement Process (CIP). In order to describe a method of perfecting processes step by step, the Japanese established the term “Kaizen”. In keeping with this principle, the Coroplast Group has named its improvement process “Corozen”. It is Konstantin Pantel’s task to detect, assess and ultimately perfect every aspect that can be improved in the production of adhesive tapes. He is therefore very seldom to be found in his “cabin” and the energetic young man from Wuppertal spends two thirds of his day either in the plant buildings or in conference rooms. It’s certainly no coincidence that his business shoes are fitted with steel toecaps. Another important point is that Konstantin Pantel maintains an extremely good network – from managing directors to production staff members. He began working at Coroplast Tape after completing his studies as an industrial engineer. For a six-week period he accompanied the machine operators in their daily work, analysing production processes right down to the finest details. At the same time, he got his experienced colleagues to show him the best shortcuts through the labyrinthine buildings, giving him an infallible sense of direction. Perhaps that is the only routine in a job in which each day is different to the previous one.
It is more important to take the first step than to plan everything right up to the last one.
“Nothing is as constant as change. That is particularly true of my profession. In my view, Corozen – the name we have given to our continuous improvement process – involves questioning everything. I examine a production process and think about why we do it like that and not differently. If I’m unable to answer the question right away, I take a closer look at it. The underlying idea is a constant constructive urge to do things better than before and this feeling gives me my momentum. This is where my work begins. I am at my most creative in the mornings, roughly between ten and eleven. That’s when I get the best ideas, which I immediately want to discuss with my colleagues.”