Within supply chain management, Christian Schneider not only ensured that materials and information were in the right place at the right time at BHS Corrugated. Above all, he was constantly working on improving and simplifying these processes. By now, Schneider is head of supply, production & logistics (SPL). In the new position, inaction is his enemy, change is his delight. And he obviously embraces change, because: "There is always a way to change - or better improve things!"
"Processes": Not exciting? Why yes, mega exciting!
"Processes": That does not sound very exciting. However, to build, deliver and punctually commission a single corrugated box plant at a customer takes detailed, global coordination. In a corrugated box plant, around 40 machines are lined up over a length of up to 200 meters. BHS Corrugated installs machines in Germany, China and Czechia, and corrugating rolls in Germany, China, Italy, Brazil and the US. Only if all locations coordinate perfectly, exchange information in a targeted manner, and deliver on time - that is, if all processes work like clockwork and are precisely coordinated, then the assembly team will be able to install the machines on time and in the correct order at the customer's facility, and thus meet customer expectations. There is still major potential for BHS Corrugated to tackle!
Job: Head of Supply, Production & Logistics (SPL).
Change factor: 10/10. Intends to design processes to be as simple as possible.
Type: Fan of processes.
Attitude: "Those who see themselves in the center become lazy."
"Lean" is still the objective of any process optimization. Unnecessary time, effort and expenses shall be identified, waste avoided, and the supply chain be optimized. "We are applying the Six Sigma method, among others, to slim down processes – and to make life easier for all of us" Christian Schneider explains. "Decisions must not be made from the gut. We get to the solution through the analysis of the cause. The use of digitalization and artificial intelligence (AI) must ultimately serve to avoid waste ... otherwise it remains an end in itself for the sake of digitalization!"
Lean management is intended to achieve goals efficiently – and with the least possible effort (such as materials, expenses, time). BHS Corrugated is applying the Six Sigma method to improve and slim down processes. In doing so, all processes are reviewed and evaluated using scientific methods: What are the main processes? How can you best align them with one another and with customer expectations? Which steps are unnecessary and can be omitted? Where are funds being wasted? Anyone who leads Six Sigma projects is fully trained and receives – as in some martial arts – a colored belt. Christian Schneider is a "black belt". He himself oversaw large improvement projects and coached “green belts” at department or team level.
In order for the digitalization to achieve its goal – which is optimization – employees must be included, information shared, and exchange promoted and improved.
Christian Schneider is convinced: Digital communication can overcome many barriers. Provided, it is well organized. "BHS Corrugated is growing, with many sites. Therefore, it is no longer possible to write emails with a constantly growing distributor list, and just expect that someone will take care of it. Web applications support the workflow management and increasingly replace email correspondence. "And often, it is better to just talk face to face instead of playing ping-pong by email anyway. Newly discovered communication channels, such as video calls, offer exciting possibilities here, even over long distances!"
Christian Schneider does not want to "point out errors but work out solutions" during the intra-departmental and cross-departmental collaboration. That is why he is active in networks and regularly exchanges ideas with colleagues from other companies and industries, for example at conferences. "I want to find out what makes others tick and what others do. Because: There is always a way to change - or better improve things... and often, it is also obvious that we at BHS Corrugated are on the right track with our ideas and approaches."
Optimal processes are also a question of attitude. This is where Christian Schneider becomes passionate: "It goes without saying that everyone considers their job to be important. But what is really important is its function as contribution to the next stage! Everyone in the company is both a client and a supplier", the manager says and continues to explain: "Everyone must be aware that someone else needs their output as input at time X."
The sun is slower than the earth. If I see myself in the center, it will lead to indolence.
Christian Schneider, Head of SPL at BHS Corrugated
A well-developed positive error culture is crucial for successful management. "I often only specify the goal" Christian Schneider says, "and not the guard rails on the way to achieve it. People must be allowed to make their own decisions! And mistakes are part of making decisions… that's not a problem, as long as one quickly identifies, understands, openly communicates, and remedies the mistake. This allows us to learn from it and develop further."
But do all employees really want to (and have to) make their own decisions? "Not really" Christian Schneider emphasizes. "Once the processes have been established, the procedures are also specified. And here, it is extremely crucial to be able to figure out what to do. Above all, this contributes to success, while value is created here! However, some develop quite unexpectedly when they are given the chance to take on responsibility and make their own decisions. Everyone is allowed and should advocate and contribute their own ideas to the optimization of processes and projects."
I only specify the goal, and not the guide rails on the way to achieve it.