The first heart transplant was performed in 1967. The company that manufactured the operating table? Maquet. Nearly 50 years after this ground-breaking procedure, this subsidiary of the Getinge Group from Sweden underwent an operation of its own – under the guidance of Staufen.
Today, Maquet GmbH is one of the leading names in the field of medical technology. But production at their facilities in Rastatt, Germany, could not keep up with growth and no longer met the desired quality standards. Dark halls with crane systems and massive walls of shelves, poorly positioned assembly bays as work stations, and high inventory in the assembly area were only a few of the visible symptoms which indicated there was potential for optimization. A mere “face lift” was not a long-term solution here: the company wanted to take a radical step.
Which is why they brought Staufen on board as process support, moderator and coach. The lean transformation at Maquet began in January 2015 and scheduled to run for a total of 30 months. The process encompasses every area of the company, including the entire supply chain. With newly structured and standardized value-added processes, Maquet created a foundation for the connected factory of the future. And in doing so, it laid the cornerstone for a new corporate culture with employee-friendly management processes at every level.
Jan Merker, Managing Director, Maquet GmbH
We are going to get our Rastatt plant into shape for the future and we will be one of the best factories in all of Europe. To offer our customers the right product, in the right quality, at the right time in the right place with the best cooperation.
Even after the project formally ends, the effects of lean transformation will continue well into the future. The results so far, however, have already completely exceeded all expectations: the turnaround time in assembly used to take six days, and now it only takes a single day. Inventory was reduced by 30%, and the space needed for inventory was lowered by 60%. Productivity in the assembly area has doubled. The changes are evident at a single glance: the halls are now bright and tidy -- almost clinically clean. The employees' work spaces are now in the middle of the hall, with the parts they need within easy reach. Clear structures and visualization boards create transparency and openness.
The days of long paths, looking for parts and waiting periods are over. Everything is in its proper place, cleanly marked by yellow lines on the light-coloured floor. What's more, something took place that was unusual for this kind of change process: even employee satisfaction increased significantly. And this is certainly due in part to the new management culture. The managers now see themselves as facilitators who are responsible for implementing their employees' ideas. These are the best possible prerequisites for sustainable and healthy development.