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Senator GmbH & Co. KGaA

Writing Instrument Manufacturer Senator Decides on Production Workshops to Reduce Setup Time

Senator halves setup times for customized products

As a leading provider of customized and personalized stationery products, Senator – a traditional family business in Gross-Bieberau near Darmstadt, Germany – develops and embellishes high-quality writing instruments. In order to further strengthen its leadership position, the company regularly arranges production workshops with Ingenics that continue to have long-term effects. The success of these is clear to see: setup times have recently been reduced by up to 50 percent.

The most important project results and Ingenics services:
Senator GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Consumer Products and Retailing
  • Setup time reduced by up to 50%
  • Quality rate stabilized close to 100%
  • Many quick wins implemented directly in the workshop
  • Operational managers and employees supported in the change process to ensure long-term success

Based in the Hessian town of Gross-Bieberau, Senator GmbH & Co. KGaA produces more than a million pens every day. Following the tradition established by company founder Friedrich Merz, Senator attaches utmost importance to keeping all aspects of the value chain in-house (including design, tooling, printing, and logistics) and is equally committed to upholding the wishes of traders and customers in terms of the product portfolio, product design, and delivery times.

As a result, the majority of the company’s product offerings– mainly cups and folders in addition to plastic and metal writing instruments – are still produced at the headquarters. When it comes to optimization projects, however, writing instruments are always the biggest challenge as these can be individualized with a minimum order of 150 units. It goes without saying that the highest quality standards also apply to every process for the smallest quantities, so quality assurance plays a central role in all measures to reduce downtime caused by product changeover.

In order to maintain and grow its hard-won leadership in the customized and personalized stationery products market segment, Senator regularly relies on the effect of sustainable production workshops led by Ingenics consultants and coaches.

These are generally two- or three-day workshops for the print production department – an area that has gradually become something of a beacon for the rest of the company. True to the Ingenics motto “Designing systems, empowering people,” these workshops help to secure the competitiveness of the company by making processes more economical. At the same time, employees are encouraged to question their own actions and to continuously improve their work.

„These small batch sizes in particular continue to represent a major challenge because the highest quality standards also apply to every process for the smallest quantities, of course, from proof to delivery. One of our key strategies in mastering these challenges over the long is to draw regularly on the professional support of Ingenics.“
Dr. Ulf Osmers, Senator GmbH & Co. KGaA
former Managing Director

The initialization and basic qualification phase of the workshops centers on teaching fundamentals of setup optimization and refreshing the 5S system (Sort – Set – Shine – Standardize – Sustain). This alone facilitates rapid success in terms of improved efficiency and reduced waste, which has an additional motivating effect.

During the setup qualification phase that follows, participants learn how to apply and train others in the skills they have learned in practice. This coaching is provided by experienced Ingenics trainers with exceptional technical and methodological knowledge as well as outstanding social skills. After all, only by reaching out to all those involved is it possible to achieve all of the company’s goals – this is true for employees and managers alike.

Once again, the targets defined for the setup project at Senator were far exceeded. Thanks to the great commitment of staff and their managers, many measures were implemented immediately during the workshops. Setup times at the headquarters were recently reduced by up to 50 percent. Additional positive effects included the stabilization of the quality rate at almost 100 percent and the successful transfer of measures from the print production department to cleaning and maintenance.