Interim- Plant Manager for an Automotive Supplier in the Czech Republic
The client was a well-known Austrian Tier 1 automotive supplier with several production plants worldwide, one of them in the Czech Republic.
The start of a new key-customer project ran into difficulties. The planned production output and the necessary quality parameters could not be achieved, which could lead to a medium-term production stop for the customer. In general, the production plant had been struggling with difficulties for a long time.
Repeated poor product quality and high ppm values led to escalation procedures for 2 important customers. Inadequate training of the operators as well as a lack of motivation of the employees led to a high internal reject rate, frequent production downtimes and decreasing availability of the systems. This resulted in a decline in the ability to deliver and delivery reliability. Middle management was frustrated and demotivated, and the plant manager posted from Germany resigned. The trust between the German business unit management and the Czech management of the production plant was shaken.
The company management was looking for a short-term solution to this crisis situation and asked an interim plant manager. His experience with the processes in the automotive industry and product start-up projects were important, but especially his leadership quality.
A suitable candidate was presented within 48 hours. He was hired at short notice and was able to take over the position of interim plant manager within 14 days. The interim plant manager got a clear picture of the situation and priorities within the first week. One of the first most important tasks was to bring the Czech team out of the lethargy and put them behind them. Some employees had to be replaced. The cooperation between the German experts from the sister plants and the Czech employees had to be based on trust again.
For existing technical production problems, small project groups were put together (made up of Czech employees and German colleagues). The production and shift planning were changed. A training and further education plan for the operators was drawn up and introduced. The remuneration system has been revised. Daily shop floor walks were introduced, including the action tracking processes. The preventive maintenance has been revised and followed up on a daily basis. The most important key figures, such as availability of the systems, employee productivity, OEE, internal reject rate, ppm, complaints, OTIF and others were tracked on a daily basis. The escalation processes were communicated weekly with the affected customers via video conference.
The start-up of the key-customer project was stabilized within the first 3 months. The most important KPIs led up again. The ongoing escalation procedures were de-escalated within a further 3 months. The key customer project has achieved the planned start-up numbers and quality numbers. A new supply chain project has been started. Two new product relocation projects could be implemented without any problems. The internal rejects and internal reworking could be significantly reduced, the external ppm values have reached the planned level. Employee productivity has increased by 30% and the OEE values have improved significantly.
The employees, especially the middle management, saw themselves as members of a team again and their cooperation improved enormously. A successor for the plant management could be employed and trained.