Continuous improvement

Manufacturing automobiles is based on complex production processes. Chassis are formed out of high tensile steel, which are then fitted and painted. Each and every step in the process is made up of smaller, more exact process steps.

All of this cannot work without those involved following processes. Operating on checklists will not lead to road-worthy automobiles.

German cars are known worldwide for their quality, possibly the best in the world. Could that technical quality be based on the quality of processes? Could the strict adherence to well-defined processes be a key to success?

Manufacturing without compromise

How the German company innotool&greminger markets their medical products provides insight into how important internal processes – how the work is done – are to Germans.

Their website states Fertigung ohne Kompromisse: Perfektion im Produktionsprozess – literally Manufacturing without Compromise: Perfection in Production Processes. They then spell that out. 

“In medical diagnostics and therapy the key to quality of results is Handwerkszeug (the tools of craftsmanship). It is no different in the manufacturing of medical products.”

Our solutions are based on expert technical staff, high-performing physical plant and systems, and automated production, optimized for manufacturing medical implants and delicate instruments. With the help of CAD-CAM software we maximize the potential of our knowhow. We deepen that expertise via modernization and continual training of our staff. For quality doesn’t happen by itself.”

Instead of emphasizing the quality of their products, innotool&greminger focuses on the production processes which determine that quality.

Der Weg ist das Ziel

Der Weg ist das Ziel. The path is the goal. Eastern thinking. Not Western. But a segway into how Germans understand the importance of process (how the work is done).

Garantie. Guaranty. Kein Werkzeug. Not a tool. Germans would say that a final product is only as good as the process which led to it. Process. How the work is done. And a process is only as good as the product it produces. Zwei Seiten einer Medaille. Two sides of the same coin. Not a tool.

If you work with Germans, you’ll know how intense and constant their focus is on how the work should be done. You’ll experience discussion after discussion, meeting after meeting, debate after debate. It can appear as if they are obsessed with process. All this at the expense of the user, of the internal or external customer. It can appear to threaten the very purpose, and success, of the activity.

But wait. When Germans engage about how the work is done, they are, in fact, talking about the customer, about how best to serve the customer. Two sides of the same coin. If you get the process right, you get the end product right. For the customer. In the German context, talking process is talking customer. The Germans may not use the term “customer”, or the term “serve”, or “value”. But this doesn’t mean that they are not focused on it. Actions speak louder than words.

For Germans, true focus on the customer is focus on how to do the work right. The path is not the goal. In the West, the goal is the goal. The path gets you there. Chart that path carefully. Walk that path the right way. “The right way.” Lots of room for discussion there.

How the work is done

Germans are results-driven. The strength of their economy underscores this. For Germans work results and work processes are synonymous, inseparable, integrally linked with each other. Germans focus on the details of how the work is done.

Processes are, therefore, results. They are how the work is done. If something does not function properly, if a product has an imperfection, the Germans analyze rigorously how the work was completed.

All problems, product deficits, signs of diminished quality are from the German perspective a failure in work processes. If something new has been developed, Germans not look first at its benefits for the user, but how it is made. How something is done, processes, craftsmanship, approach is always the focus of Germans.