Following the fusion of the business units Wafer and CFT, we have talked with Günter Muhr about the latest developments and what is important for him in the current phase of change.
"First and foremost, it is important for me that the new BU Wafer, which was formed of the two previous BUs Wafer and CFT, has now formed its staff and that we are already starting to live this organization in the processes. However, we still have to remain somewhat flexible, because the IT systems have to be harmonized with a defined deadline, which will probably not be until the end of March. Nevertheless, our managers and employees are already growing into their partially new roles and we will - as far as possible - implement all changes immediately.
Another important thing for me is that we can expect a very high order volume this year. This will most likely go beyond the budget and we will have to do our utmost to be able to handle this extreme load, which comes primarily from Nabati. For this we really have to pull out all the stops and also make good use of the production network with HdB and HFM.
And then it is to define - now or in the coming weeks and months - the interfaces with Global Sales, Global Services and the other BU’s. For us all, the overall optimum and the maximization of customer benefit must always be at the forefront. And it will certainly take some time and work until everything is complete and clear. It is also important that we start as early as possible to report and optimize in the new organizational structures. This will be a bit bumpy in the beginning, until all the systems, all the reports, all processes in the different areas are so well-balanced that we can report on a monthly basis from a single source.
Of course, there is also the subject of Bühler for me. After the closing in early January, we have already begun to cooperate with central coordination. Last week, for example, there was already a meeting regarding purchasing, where we expect relatively quick material costs savings on a larger scale. We are currently starting the topic of automation with Buhler and are currently doing a kind of inventory of where we stand in regards to spider and system programming and how far Bühler is there."
"Yes, there is definitely something! Of course, it is clear that we are in a time of major changes. And every change brings a lot of challenges, chances and new things with it, but also many uncertainties and ambiguities. However, we all need to be aware that in the next few weeks and months the ambiguities will be less, but that to some extent they will last for a while. Of course, we cannot solve all topics equally and we cannot know and consider all eventualities in advance. It was the clear order to start implementing this organizational change immediately, even if not everything is 100% clear and well known. It is now to "just do it"! The speed is intentionally set up very high, so that we do not lose too much time for the planning and make unnecessary kilometers, but that we start as soon as possible with the implementation. And there we are doing, I believe, in the BU Wafer quite well."
WE WOULD LIKE TO ADDRESS THE TOPIC OF UNCERTAINTIES OF CHANGE ONCE AGAIN - HOW DO YOU THINK EMPLOYEES SHOULD DEAL WITH UNCERTAINTIES? "I would like to anticipate that the BU Wafer has very good opportunities in the short, medium and long term to continue to develop positively and to assert itself on the market. As far as uncertainty is concerned, which is also good, it always raises questions that can be used quite positively. And these questions can then be addressed - as an employee - in the right places, namely the respective superior. For me it is perfectly normal that there are uncertainties, nothing is fixed in life. And even in the change of everyday life - which is constantly there - nothing is certain. The supervisors are of course specifically asked in their role to face these questions and uncertainties and to deal with them responsibly and positively. The important thing is that they go through this phase of uncertainty in support of their employees and looking forward."
WHAT ELSE IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU IN THE CURRENT SITUATION? "As part of the Lean program, we are currently launching the ‘shop floor management’ in BU Wafer. This project will take us a big step forward in terms of communication and speed of decision-making in operational processes. But here, too, the rule is to start now and then to see how it works and where we need to improve. Again, we depend on everyone to provide input and feedback. And that everyone contributes with full force in the topic. In the BU Wafer we are just about to examine the portfolio, especially in terms of the fusion of the two BU's Wafer and CFT. Here we will try - in the future - to develop the best solutions for our customers in a completely neutral way. Especially for snacks, we now have a huge machine portfolio. And the snacks market is immensely important for our growth. From my point of view, we can now address this market much better because our portfolio has just become wider and larger. In the first quarter, we will also ship a large number of new machine types, such as the HEIP and ECO ovens. And we have currently received very positive feedback from the first HESZ's in the field. Here the customer is very satisfied and the machines started off really well. In the next few weeks we will also send a few colleagues to Denmark to support the MDE. And in the near future we will start two projects on the IT side, which will deal with the topics of improving order planning and scheduling. The two projects will then probably be merged to form a large project and in the future will be used to structure and reorganize the entire SAP planning and processing."
"Of course this is not just the topic of BU Wafer. But it's clear that once the new structures and processes are defined, the office layouts, and whoever sits where, also have to be adapted to the new structures and requirements. We expect to be able to start planning the 'new Lebensraum office' in the coming weeks."
IS THERE A CENTRAL CONCLUSION THAT WOULD BE IMPORTANT TO YOU? "If I subsume it then we have planned already a fine budget for this year that has been provided with very tight targets. As always, the clear focus is on budget compliance. Efficiency, quality and supplier’s reliability are extremely important in order fulfillment, at the same time improvement and innovation cannot be neglected. I am pleased that we seem to be very fortunate that our order volume is expected to be above plan and this obviously makes things a lot easier. However, we can only achieve our ambitious goals if we work diligently and efficient, and if each individual contributes to it and makes every effort to do so. And of course we can do all this only in a dynamic and good cooperation with the new divisions Global Sales and Global Services. This cooperation is very important to me, as sales and service represent us as BU in the market. They are the voices at our customers and thus they can reflect back important inputs from the market. Because at the end of the day we all are measured on how satisfied the customer is with our performance and whether we have achieved our goals within our budget."