Efficient sawing is a win-win situation

Shopfloor management with innovative role comprehension

The sawmill industry in Germany processes more than 35 million cubic metres of timber per year, almost 100 percent of which comes from domestic woodland. However, modern sawmills are no longer the romantic watermills set in the idyllic countryside that you’d imagine. There are around 2000 plants in the sector, all working with powerful and efficient sawmill technology which is partly operated in the Cloud. Pollmeier Massivholz GmbH & Co. KG operates the largest hardwood sawmills in Europe. At its site in Aschaffenburg, Pollmeier is aiming for a targeted problem solving culture with the newly established Shopfloor Management.

When Pollmeier plant manager Christian Kittel walks into his office in the modern complex in Aschaffenburg in the morning, the first thing he does is to gain an overview of the new performance indicator board. The board shows reports and statistics, which provide information on quality, costs, delivery service and motivation (QCDM). Deviations from targets are listed in striking colours. With just one look, the plant manager can see if there were any problems during the previous shift, if machines are down or if maintenance work has been carried out. “Before this, such information was not recorded at all, or was relayed without any particular structure. Some employees received the information that they required, while others, for example those who worked a different shift, did not”, Christian Kittel explained. The new performance indicator board is part of the introduction of Shopfloor Management at Pollmeier in Aschaffenburg. The term “Shopfloor” refers to the “place of action”. Key performance indicators are a crucial element of Shopfloor Management.

People are speaking to each other again
Where do we stand? What must we do to achieve our goals? On a daily basis, shift workers, team leaders and division managers from various different departments have a short discussion on any issues and how they could be resolved. “These kinds of discussions often require a change in company culture, whereby the focus is not on finger pointing. The focus is now clearly placed on solving the problem,” explains Hans-Sönke Hartmann from fischer Consulting. The consulting company assisted Pollmeier in introducing Shopfloor Management at every level within the company.  “People are speaking to each other again, and these discussions are very important as they drive us forward,” organisation developer, Dr Markus Hauptmann, explains.

Employees in the role of entrepreneurs
The transparency created through the discussions between all parties is only one of the many advantages of Shopfloor Management. Problems are detected and acknowledged. By involving various departments, all of the stakeholders remain informed and work towards a solution in a targeted manner . The employees in production act as entrepreneurs in their own area of responsibility. Because managers are also involved in the daily Shopfloor discussions, they can provide support and make decisions immediately, if required. This saves time and costs.

Management in a coaching role
How can Shopfloor Management be established successfully in a company? Many companies rely on experts like fischer Consulting, for example. The consultants develop key performance indicators and provide comprehensive training. Managers have a completely new role in Shopfloor Management: They act as a coach in the “place of action”. Those responsible for CIP can learn how to train their colleagues in the Train-the-Trainer course.

For the Pollmeier sawmill in Aschaffenburg, big projects involving local beech wood are in the works. The new Shopfloor Management will be used in the execution of the projects: “It allows us to solve our problems much more quickly. This benefits our customers”, says Managing Director, Ralf Pollmeier.


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Pollmeier Massivholz GmbH & Co. KG operates the largest hardwood sawmills in Europe. Recently, the site in Aschaffen-burg has started working with cross-hierarchical Shopfloor Management, which was introduced by fischer Consulting. Image: fischer
Targeted problem-solving structure using Shopfloor Management, which was established at Pollmeier by fischer Consulting: “It allows us to solve our problems much more quickly. This benefits our customers”, says Managing Director, Ralf Pollmeier. Image: fischer

Sandra Roth

Press relations officer
fischertechnik, fischer Automotive, fischer Consulting, fischer Innomation, fischer Innovative Moulds