RUTHMANN reports that it is streamlining its product department to meet demands of the market.
The first step for Ruthmann was to improve the level of professionalism in production management. Secondly, the company worked with the production team to improve its structural and fabrication methods. This month, another optimization project will be launched.
All improvements and agreements are based on advanced planning by the IT system that Ruthmann utilizes. Many measures and control systems are comparable to those used in the automotive industry. Unfortunately, the truck-mounted aerial platform sector is commission-based, and there is no large-scale production.
Despite these challenges and increased production figures, Ruthmann customers do not have to wait long to take delivery of their work platforms because a buffer inventory available for spot transactions is an integral part of production planning. A strategy was developed to facilitate spot contracts without interrupting the normal workflow. A certain amount of extra inventory is always on-hand.
Ruthmann also expects the same degree of flexibility from its suppliers. Even though the company has many different suppliers, it has strived to achieve a close working relationship with each one. The company is regularly in touch with its suppliers and works with them on a personal level in order to get the job done. Ruthmann makes framework and call order agreements, expects flexibility, and even imposes penalties in order to measure the success/failure of collaboration of its suppliers. Because Ruthmann imposes penalties for non/improper performance, suppliers know how serious the company is when it comes to professionalism.
Ruthmann once had a high level of in-house production, but today its core competencies lie in other areas, such as the development, production, sales, and service of STEIGER and CARGOLOADER models. Production does not mean that every screw and every cylinder has to be made on company premises, and management believes that an above-average increase in production and maximum flexibility are not achievable if the vertical range of manufacture is too high.
Ruthmann also relies on temporary employment agencies to help overcome production hurdles. Internally, the company refers to the use of temporary staff as a “strategic hiring”. If they are able to adapt, they have a very good chance of being hired on a full-time basis.
Environmentally-friendly and sustainable production methods are important to Ruthmann and not only because customers increasingly make their decisions based upon these concerns. As part of the ECOPROFIT project, Ruthmann has drastically reduced electricity, waste, heating, and paper consumption. Waste paper no longer ends up in the garbage bin. The tightness of the compressed air network has improved immensely, and the compressors are more energy efficient. The 12 EDP servers have been virtualized. Photovoltaic panels produce electricity on the company’s own premises. Currently a 300,000 Euro investment in the machining centre will lead to a substantial reduction in both CO2 emissions and energy consumption.
Ruthmann does everything it can to reduce accidents and business disruptions. This is important when manufacturing firms work at full capacity over an extended period of time. Accident prevention is always on the agenda whenever department heads hold meetings with their employees.
The real breakthrough, however, has been achieved through mutual understanding amongst employees in all departments. This teamwork mentality is a direct result of the company’s qualification matrixes, which involves job enrichment and job rotation. This made it possible for professional welders, who had previously only been welding, to become qualified in other areas of expertise such as vehicle preparation and base-frame mounting. With the additional introduction of time accounts and shift systems, Ruthmann has improved operations and increased flexibility.