HOMAG Plattenaufteiltechnik GmbH, located in Holzbronn, has been named "Factory of the Year 2019" in the "Excellent Small Series Assembly" category.
This award is given annually by the management consulting firm A. T. Kearney in collaboration with the trade newspaper "Produktion." The award recognizes companies from the production industry that overcome change processes in an exemplary fashion. The presentation ceremony will be held in March 2020.
This was the first time that HOMAG Plattenaufteiltechnik in Holzbronn had taken part in this industry competition, which is one of the most well-known in Europe. "It was a pleasant surprise to be prizewinners in our very first entry," explains a delighted Florian Kälber — the man who initiated participation in the competition for the HOMAG site at Holzbronn. One look at the winning companies shows that he is right to be pleased. The main prize was awarded to Mercedes-AMG, and other winning companies alongside HOMAG Plattenaufteiltechnik included Continental, Brose, Voith and Kärcher.
The background to this HOMAG success began around ten years ago. Even at that time, there was a holistic production system installed in Holzbronn. "Over the last three years, we have retested all of the processes in this production system, optimizing them and making them leaner," says Jens Held, site manager at HOMAG Plattenaufteiltechnik in Holzbronn. The focus in production was on the principles of stream, flow and pull in order to design the continuous assembly for small series. "As a result, we achieved a high degree of agility and flexibility. Today, our production is so flexible that we can cover utilization fluctuations of up to 30 percent at any time," says Held.
When visiting the site as part of the competition, it was clear to an audit team from A. T. Kearney that HOMAG Plattenaufteiltechnik are geared for change, and most importantly that all employees take part in the change processes. The audit experts—just like the competition judges, who include renowned experts from industry and science—know that a lean culture and continuous improvement cannot be prescribed; it has to be exercised actively by all employees at the respective site.
This is what HOMAG Plattenaufteiltechnik have successfully achieved. "We are a team that looks for and shapes change," explains Held. To demonstrate both this and the effectiveness of the numerous process optimizations, the HOMAG team filled out a multi-page questionnaire as part of the competition. This questionnaire was evaluated by the judges alongside their impressions obtained on site.
"We are very happy that in a comparison with the top companies, we have been nominated as number one in the category that is so important to us, Excellent Small Series Assembly," says Held. He also emphasizes: "In line with our Swabian mentality, we will enjoy the award only briefly and then get back to work. For us, the analyses of the judges are a treasure trove that we can take important points from. We will use these points and the ideas and information exchanged with the other competitors to design our plant here in the region efficiently and in a way that protects resources so that we can provide good and safe workplaces."