"Production is a team sport - just like soccer."

New production management for polyolefin films at NOWOFOL.

Klaus Berger and Harry Stauber, the new produktion management for polyolefin films

Klaus Berger and Harry Stauber (left to right)

"Production is a team sport - just like soccer."

The new dual leadership team of Harry Stauber and Klaus Berger is getting off to a flying start with a new project: The "Gemba Walk" will sustainably improve production and communication within the team.  

In August 2022, a new management team has taken over the task of production management at NOWOFOL. Already at the beginning of March, it can look back on a jointly implemented project, the so-called "Gemba-Walk".

The term "Gemba" originally comes from Japanese and refers to a "proper place". Loosely translated: We talk about topics where people work together and questions, problems as well as ideas for improvements arise.

At NOWOFOL, this place is at the production plant. During a Gemba Walk, we go through a process where questions are asked. This shows what is working well - and problems exist, as well as approaches for solutions. Klaus Berger explains the benefits: "We see the Gemba Walk system as a good opportunity for cooperation. Production is a team sport, like soccer. The daily exchange enables us from both sides to address points even more effectively in an open and trusting manner. These are simply everyday issues that are addressed and resolved directly." Thus, the method improves the gain of practical experience, promotes exchange and solution-oriented thinking.

At the same time, this approach has changed the work culture in a positive way - a change that is particularly well received by young employees. "Every company implements the young employees' desire for more independence, freedom and a sense of purpose in their jobs differently. For me, these are precisely the core values of New Work, and that's where we're working toward. Rigidity has to go and we want to move toward more co-determination, and more flexible working hours is also one such issue that we are addressing in order to remain attractive to employees in the region in the future." 

Taking decisions yourself - not just supporting them

Harry Stauber, a member of the NOWOFOL production team since 1999, and his engagement has earned him the title of industry master of plastic technology since 2012. As deputy production manager, he played a crucial role in the team's success during the last few years. Now, after many years with the company, he is excited about this new challenge and making decisions himself, rather than just sharing them. With his expertise and experience, he is looking forward to exploring even more extensive design possibilities.

Klaus Berger also comes from a film manufacturing background. The 35-year-old production manager brings experience, in the production of peel films for the food and medical sectors. He sees his work in film development as an asset for the new task at NOWOFOL. "You might think that in film production the processes are similar. But in fact, there is a great deal of know-how in every single product at NOWOFOL. No two are alike. Each film is specially developed or adapted for the customer and I'm very excited about all the possibilities of inline mono-orientation."

Guiding principle also in focus in the future

The former production manager, Igor Seset, has already taken over responsibility as Head of Purchasing Raw Materials & Process and Application Technology. "We want to quickly fill the new production facility with plant technology. I am pleased that I can now concentrate completely on the new production facilities and further technical development," says Seset. "Our guiding principle' 'Performance at its best', we understand holistically. In particular, the future viability of our processes and the technical possibilities for new products are the focus of my work."

The new dual leadership faces great tasks after this joint success. Even before the new production building goes into operation, the number of employees grows to 200. The production team is increasing, but more employees are also needed in the periphery in logistics and maintenance. Fresh approaches like the Gemba Walk can help a lot in coping with this.