MTM – Work design productive and safe

KION GROUP: IE Managers from Around the World Test Method Standards

Cardboard Engineering Workshop: An Awareness for Detail When Designing Workplaces

The IE managers from twelve of 25 corporate business sites within the KION GROUP AG, including those in the USA, Mexico, China, Italy, France, the Czech Republic and Germany, recently took part in a “cardboard engineering” workshop held by MTM in Aschaffenburg. The KION GROUP, which has about 30,000 employees in more than 100 different countries, is a leading global provider of forklift trucks, warehouse technology and associated services as well as supply chain solutions. The Group, which includes brands like Linde, Still, Fenwick or Dematic in Europe, is the largest manufacturer of industrial trucks and a leading global supplier of automation technology.

But why cardboard engineering? Jürgen von Derschau, Vice President Industrial Engineering within the KION GROUP AG, explains. “Firstly, the workshop was conceived as a global team building measure and, secondly, we wanted to familiarize our colleagues from all over the world with this method of designing workplaces so that they can use it at their factories in the future.” The participants drew up opportunities for systematic design in two teams; they tested alternative scenarios and examined new ideas and solutions. “One major aspect”, the IE manager explains, “involved enhancing an awareness for the necessary details when designing workplaces and taking into account economic and ergonomic points of view in the process.” Deutsche MTM-Gesellschaft was an ideal choice as partner here, as a number of factory managers had already attended a similar workshop in the past.

As KION has gradually grown and has various brands and very different products, von Derschau believes that one major task of the central IE department involves establishing a strong sense of community between the individual factories in order to identify the best practice solutions in the methods and make them useful for all. “The methods that are used are not an end in themselves, in our view. We always select our methods in line with the three factors of quality, cost and delivery – i. e. according to quality criteria, cost-effectiveness and short throughput times”, von Derschau adds.

The KION GROUP AG also faces huge challenges in matters related to Industry 4.0. IE manager von Derschau reminded his listeners in this connection that Industry 4.0 cannot be introduced overnight, but is based on what has already been achieved from Industry 1.0 to Industry 3.0. “The pathway to Industry 4.0 is a journey for us that is constantly moving forward – and it enables KION AG to make a little more progress every day. The cost-effectiveness of investments is always our primary focus”, the IE manager emphasizes. “That means we constantly need to ask questions like: What is the benefit for us? Which technologies and methods help us make progress? How do we need to position ourselves structurally? We then develop the business cases based on these responses and make forward-looking decisions for the business sites in question.”

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