Cultural Change in the Far East

The Chinese Rittal subsidiary was able to significantly increase its key production figures by introducing Lean Transformation. The far- reaching change process is attributed to a successful cultural transformation. 

Rittal GmbH & Co. KG is a manufacturer and system provider for enclosures, power distribution, climate control and IT infrastructure. With around 9,700 people under its employ at eight production sites and 58 subsidiaries around the world, Rittal is considered a hidden champion in the industry. 

Rittal began expanding into Eastern Europe and Asia in 1993. Since then, the Chinese site in Songjiang, Shanghai has established itself as a key manufacturing facility, currently with a staff of around 1,000 employees. The plant is home to production of both large and compact enclosures for air conditioning units, control cabinets and IT infrastructure.

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The lean transformation of the chinese rittal-subsidiary


As part of an audit, Rittal identified deviations and anomalies in the Chinese plant in the mid-2010s.

To leverage the untapped potential in manufacturing, Michael Galler, now Vice President of Operations at Rittal China, began the transformation toward Lean in 2016. The first independently initiated measures did bring about positive change, however not quite to the extent desired. 

Together with the Staufen consultants, the Lean project managers developed a concept and divided the project into two blocks:

Rittal was responsible for the implementation of the sub-projects in the first block, while the second block was carried out under the direction of Staufen:

Shop Floor Management (SFM) and Hancho, qualification of the team leader level. All project participants identified the most urgent need for action in Shop Floor Management. 


Key corporate performance indicators (KPI) prove how successful SFM changes and the underlying Lean Transformation have been.

In the global Rittal system, there are 13 KPI target markers, of which the Chinese subsidiary achieved significant improvements in twelve and at least slight improvements in one.

Among other things, the following successes were reported:

+ 16 %


– 30 %

sick leave rate

99 %

delivery reliability

It is a continuous process that has to be anchored in the company so that even without input from me or other senior executives, lean management stays alive.

michael galler,
Vice president operations, rittal electro-mechanical technology (shanghai) co., Ltd

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