RECARO Aircraft Seating GmbH & Co. KG - Quality leap thanks to Shopfloor Management

RECARO Aircraft Seating GmbH & Co. KG

"The best seat manufacturer from the customer's point of view" - for Recaro Aircraft Seating, one of the most important reasons for this statement was the introduction of lean management. This enabled productivity and schedule adherence to be rapidly increased even shortly after the start of the scheme in 2007 in the main works in Schwäbisch Hall. The company then introduced a turbo quality boost through introduction of the "shopfloor management" management philosophy in the middle of 2009. Its success spoke for itself - a quality increase of 60% in only nine months which did not go unnoticed by the customers. Boeing now considers Recaro to be one of its regular "gold status suppliers". Now, shopfloor management has been rolled out in the three works in Poland, South Africa and the USA with the support of Staufen AG. All three projects show the same positive results as the pilot project in Schwäbisch Hall. Recaro is also permanently further promoting the subject: since 2012, production managers from all three locations meet three times a year in one of the works in order to mutually audit each other, exchange their knowledge and to further develop shopfloor management within the company.

Shopfloor Management at Recaro
The central focus of shopfloor management is production as the actual place of value creation. All operational activities from development up to quality assurance are set up so that they all work as efficiently as possible. After introduction of lean methods such as kaizen or kanban, management work focuses on the fact that top management is recalled back to the place of activity. The central element of the approach is the so-called "shopfloor board". This contains all information about occupational health and safety, employee assignment, quality and output quantity. On top of this, it provides rapid information about the type of problems which have occurs and progress in the solution process. The point here is not who is responsible but avoidance of future errors. Daily early meetings and quality circles mean that everyone involved is sitting round the table and can play their part in process optimisation.

Shopfloor management promotes a company culture in which management and employees are pulling together. The management team is setting a good example and is pulling down the walls between the two sectors. Acting as coaches, they enable the employees to solve problems for themselves. The most important thing, however, is to create trust. The psychological effect is enormous. In the case of Recaro Aircraft Seating, the cultural change throughout the entire company has been more or less completed - this is shown by the positive results and the high quality achieved by production.

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