“It’s a path worth taking.”

Solarlux | Lean Management

Best Practice Partner Solarlux

The Staufen AG Best Practice Network consists of excellent comapnies that play a leading role in their markets. Solarlux GmbH, also the world market leader for folding glass walls, became a Best Practice Partner of Staufen AG this year. Together with his team, managing partner Stefan Holtgreife has initiated a company-wide transformation process that is already impacting many areas. Not only have key figures improved, but a new corporate culture has been established.

Solarlux GmbH

Area Manager Process and Quality Management

Solarlux GmbH

When Solarlux has visits from other companies, the day usually starts at 8:30 a.m. directly on the shop floor. “Our production manager explains to participants in a practice-oriented manner the path we followed during this transformation,” reports Raphael Placke, Head of Process and Quality Management at Solarlux and one of the minds behind the topic of Lean Management in the company.

The Lean Transformation, which began about five years ago with the support of Staufen AG, has been so successful so far that the company in Melle, Lower Saxony, was accepted into the BestPractice Network. This is where companies can exchange with each other. Staufen customers can experience “BestPractice live” during visits to Solarlux.

“We primarily report on the success factors of Lean Transformation, but we don’t focus so much on individual tools; instead, we show the path towards holistic change,” says Lean expert Placke. The participants of a BestPractice Visit learn about the positive effects achieved in terms of quality, productivity, process optimization and adherence to delivery dates.

“Some people immediately recognize a methodology that they want to apply themselves, while others are initially excited about how openly we communicate,” Placke says. This always reflects the corporate culture that
has been in place at Solarlux for many years: “Because during a BestPractice Visit, we also talk about the difficulties we had to overcome. That’s always very well received.”

This transparency is one of the secrets of Solarlux’s success, in addition to its sought-after products – each order is manufactured individually for customers with a lot size of 1. “As the person ultimately responsible, I am actively committed to an open corporate culture and working with each other in a meaningful and appreciative manner,” says Managing Partner Stefan Holtgreife. “It’s important to not only voice what’s going well, but also what’s not going well.”

In addition, everything should be allowed to be said, regardless of hierarchical level, and every professional group should be given the same appreciation. “Of course, you sometimes receive unpleasant criticism,
but you have to put up with that,” Holtgreife is convinced. “The bottom line is that it makes us much more agile and we’re continually improving. It’s a path worth taking.”

“It’s important to not only voice
what’s going well, but also what’s not going well.”

STEFAN HOLTGREIFE Geschäftsführender Gesellschafter

Solarlux GmbH
Solarlux GmbH

The results of Lean Transformation at Solarlux quickly became most visible in manufacturing, where transparency was the greatest beforehand. “It was important to us to transfer the idea of lean to indirect areas as well, such as administration. Here, too, the effects were quickly noticeable,” reports Solarlux Manager Holtgreife.

He notes the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as a positive example: “Particularly in technical design, many employees had to start working from home. Thanks to the lean methods that were already introduced, regular communication was also insured online. Key figures, deviations and activities were visualized and discussed. This transparency was seen as an advantage by both employees and managers. Because when critical problems arose, we could act quickly and in a solution-oriented manner.”

Lean Management at Solarlux not only ensures quality and efficiency improvements, but also greater motivation and a sense of responsibility among employees. “If employees notice a positive development, it drives them even more,” Holtgreife observed, “and that brings about incredible effects.” Solarlux is now happy to pass on this experience to other companies. However, it is not only the visitors who benefit from the BestPractice exchange.

Managing Director Holtgreife knows: “With every visit, a mirror is held up to our company and we receive valuable feedback from outsiders as to where and how we can improve. Through this interaction we set new stimuli and raise our awareness with all participants. After all, without the will to keep learning even after reaching a certain maturity level, inertia may set in.”

“Some people immediately recognize a methodology that they want to apply themselves, while others are initially excited about how open we communicate.” – Raphael Placke

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