Siebenwurst once again named “Toolmaker of the Year”
Dear Sir / Madam,
achieving again the “Toolmaker of the Year” award shows that Siebenwurst is on the right path with its focus on tool manufacture. This award is also an incentive for us. The introduction of a company-wide wiki for business-process-oriented knowledge management was one of the key factors for our success. Read more about this concept and the resulting benefits for our partners and customers in this issue.
Siebenwurst Germany wins award for second time at “Excellence in Production”
“Toolmaker of the Year 2012”for greater process and customer orientation
Christian Karl Siebenwurst Modellfabrik und Formenbau GmbH & Co. KG won the coveted “Toolmaker of the Year” award for the second time. The company was recognized for its innovative approach to company-wide, business-process-oriented knowledge management. Siebenwurst won the “Excellence in Production” competition in the category “External Tool Manufacture with over 50 Employees”, beating out even tougher competitors than in previous years.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT) and the Machine Tools Laboratory (WZL) at RWTH Aachen University launched the first competition in 2004. Siebenwurst initially participated in 2008 and made it to the final round. Then the company went on to win the title for the first time in 2009. Winning again this third time around is even more gratifying because the invitation for 2012 had split the categories up differently: The dividing line for company size was lowered from 100 to 50 employees, which meant that Siebenwurst had many more competitors than in previous years.
Jury recognizes comprehensive approach
Some 300 tool and mould makers took part in this year's competition. A jury of eight experts from industry, politics and science chose the winners in four categories. Many different benchmarks were used to determine the overall standings – from organization, vision and strategy to range of services – which the jury also applied as they carefully examined operations during their visit to Dietfurt.
Another key factor that led to victory was the “Matrix Organization” introduced throughout the company over the past two years, which was implemented to optimize collaboration between project managers and department heads with regard to customers. Siebenwurst created an internal Wiki open to every employee to map all business processes for transparency. A key metrics cockpit gives all departments in Dietfurt an overview of costs, machine run times and other important figures on a daily basis. The judges also praised the employee development system that systematically organizes training sessions, meetings and surveys including the Six-Sigma further education and training programme.
A focus on tool manufacture
The close linking of process and knowledge management means that Siebenwurst is able to recognize its own strengths. This lets the company “focus on tool manufacture”, which directly increases customer benefits. Managing Director Christian Siebenwurst: “By focusing on the product range, our customers always have the same contact person. They gain valuable experience, our lead times become shorter, and fewer mistakes happen.”
The award represents both a milestone and a challenge for Siebenwurst: The jury of experts offers detailed recommendations for improvement and enhancement and key metrics for assessing a company's competitive position. “Based on the key metrics we wouldn't have made it into the final round again with the concepts we had in 2009,” says Christian Siebenwurst. That's why Siebenwurst took a “break” from competing in the competition – to implement the recommendations and to use the outside view as strategic guidance in the face of increasingly complex requirements.
Fit for the future with process-oriented knowledge management
Internal Wiki optimizes business processes at Siebenwurst
Many companies struggle to maximize their in-house potential. Christian Karl Siebenwurst Modellfabrik und Formenbau GmbH & Co. KG is using unconventional methods to do this: For the past year the company has been developing an internal Wiki as the main hub for all workflows. Siebenwurst uses “Q.Wiki” from Modell Aachen GmbH (a spin-off from RWTH Aachen), which is tailored to the special needs of the company with features that are auditable and ensure compliance with standards. “The Wiki is made for the entire company. Everyone can and should make use of it,” says Alfons Dunkes, Head of Siebenwurst Quality Management, explaining the philosophy behind it.
After recording business processes in the initial phase, the information was gradually transferred into the Wiki. We are already very close to our goal of being able to map entire workflows via the Wiki. Now nearly all employees use the Wiki daily as an information platform when working at their computer. Many employees – including managers – directly contribute content, and the high level of acceptance is clearly reflected in improved collaboration, increased process efficiency and shorter order lead times.