Karl Wörwag Lack- und Farbenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG
General development planning for restructuring at Karl Wörwag Lack- und Farbenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG
Success at every level thanks to lean processes
Karl Wörwag Lack- und Farbenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG in Zuffenhausen, Stuttgart, develops, produces, and sells liquid and powder coatings. In order to continue supplying a constantly growing number of customers in the automotive and industrial sectors with high-quality products and to remain flexible and reliable in its approach, the company expanded its capacity in Zuffenhausen. Ingenics AG was entrusted with the role of planning partner, responsible for realizing the required floor space based on sales projections – within the existing building structure.
- Analysis of current procedures and processes
- Identification of current and potential capacity
- General development planning with strategic restructuring of production processes
- Moderation of coordination between tradesmen and the development of layouts
- Efficiency gains through the optimization of material flow and processes
- Improved technological standards as the basis for the implementation of a CIP
- Consolidation and expansion of position in strategic areas of business
At the start of the project, there was no doubt that creating additional space would only be possible with fundamental changes to structures, procedures, and processes. The first steps were to analyze actual procedures and processes, and to determine current and potential capacity.
Everyone involved agreed from the outset that it was not just a matter of creating production capacity for a few years. Instead, it was important to restructure production flows at a basic level and from a long-term perspective. Ingenics AG was therefore commissioned to provide comprehensive general development planning covering every possible aspect. The team of consultants supported Wörwag in the strategic restructuring of production processes at the Zuffenhausen plant. Each step of the change project was developed in detail and implemented in collaboration with management and employees. At the detailed planning stage, Ingenics moderated coordination between tradesmen and the development of layouts.
From the start, improved efficiency and shorter cycle times were the focus of all efforts. The consultants defined four key areas for action in order to achieve the potential.
- Transport concept. Since coating production takes place on several floors and little can be done to change this, employees need to move from one level to the other. Supplies have to be spread out between floors, while products are brought from various levels in order to be shipped. Thanks to an innovative approach to organizing transport with new elevators and fixed timetables, the effort involved in “switching floors” was reduced by 50 percent.
- Controlling. The customary weekly plan for production orders was replaced by rolling daily planning, and the pull principle was introduced. Today, planning is constantly updated with a closer focus on customer needs. Fewer buffers are required, and cycle times have been significantly shortened.
- Cross-shift work. The processing complexity of products was reduced as a result of systematization and the division of work at an organizational level. These measures alone shortened cycle times by around 20 percent.
- Innovative layout design. The detailed planning for the building layout was developed in tandem with employees from the relevant departments at Wörwag.
After the first workshops, it became clear that Karl Wörwag Lack- und Farbenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG would be in an excellent position for the years ahead with the new production concepts, optimized material flows, and improved flexibility. Once the general development planning was complete, Ingenics was able to transfer responsibility for implementing the jointly developed designs to the architects. At this point in time, it was obvious that all processes would ultimately be leaner, even if some of the details could not be finalized until the restructuring work was complete.
The first notable success of the new “lean strategy” could be seen even before the restructuring work commenced. For instance, Wörwag not only strengthened its position in three strategic business segments – automotive, key industrial customers, and general industry – but also improved its standing thanks to the company’s ability and willingness to introduce and implement innovations. The desired effect has been achieved: optimizing processes has improved the overall level of technology while laying the foundations for the implementation of continuous improvement processes.