SENSE OF CHANGE –
GET LEAN, FIT AND SUCCESSFUL
Many companies only think about reinventing themselves in times of need. But not FEIG ELECTRONIC GmbH. The market and innovation leader for controller and sensor technology as well as identification and payment systems exercises its versatility from a position of strength – and has been for many years.
In Weilburg located in central Hesse, a city with a population of approximately 13,000, high-quality electronics are developed and produced that are used around the world. FEIG ELECTRONIC has specialized in products for intelligent gate and barrier control. The company also uses its expertise in controller and sensor technology as a supplier of light signal systems and other traffic signs. In addition, the Weilburg-based company is highly successful with its RFID applications and electronic payment solutions. The specialist for contactless identification, control electronics and traffic sensors employs around 300 experts and trainees. The internationally focused company has a close network of distribution partners and a subsidiary in the USA. FEIG set off on the path to lean transformation in 2010.
Company founder Wolfgang Feig became aware of a successful project from the lean experts at Staufen AG. The company, which was started by the graduate engineer in the early 1970s out of his garage, was in the best economic shape even then, but in order to leverage further potential, FEIG made sure not to pass up this opportunity. At that time, the company still focused on the batch and queuing principle for workshop production. Each workstation worked with batch sizes resulting in high wastage rates, high circulating stocks and long throughput times. Earmarked communication was missing, especially at the interfaces to other company divisions or customers. FEIG was far from excellent manufacturing according to lean principles.
“SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURIAL BEHAVIOR IS BASED ON THE WILLINGNESS AND ABILITY TO CHANGE.”
For FEIG, lean transformation is a real success story. Annual turnover has increased from about €30 million to more than €50 million within a short decade.
Shop floor manufacturing in production has given way to a waste-free one-piece flow without even a single employee having to fear for their job. The company has acted wisely: FEIG used freed resources for insourcing measures, allowing the company to achieve almost 100 percent vertical integration. In sales, the electronics specialist, which previously worked nearly without any defined processes, was able to achieve a new strategic quality. Leads are now generated, tracked and developed in a process-oriented manner.
Decision-makers spend less time dealing with day-to-day business and are able to devote themselves to their actual, higher-level tasks. The sales team has more time to sell instead of getting lost in administrative processes. FEIG has taken the path to become a Lean Enterprise at a remarkable pace. The purchasing department is also transforming in this direction and has achieved savings of almost €2 million within 1.5 years through measures such as cross-divisional product group management. Today, the Weilburg company is one of Staufen AG‘s BestPractice partners – in less than ten years they have gone from Lean Trainee to Lean Master.
ELDOR WALK, GESCHÄFTSFÜHRER, FEIG ELECTRONIC GMBH
Successful entrepreneurial behavior is based on the willingness and ability to change. This attitude – paired with a great sense of community – makes up the core of our company philosophy.
YVONNE OESTERLING, PURCHASING MANAGER, FEIG ELECTRONIC GMBH
One important change was our new structure. In the past, everyone did everything and now there is a clear allocation of employees according to operational or strategic tasks.
RUDOLF DÖRR, PRODUCTION MANAGER, FEIG ELECTRONIC GMBH
The aim of a lighthouse project of this kind is to familiarize employees and managers – including those from other areas of the company – with the meaning and benefits of lean management Lighthouse projects effectively and quickly make the meaning and benefits of lean management clear to everyone involved.