Small ideas – big impact: Idea management at thyssenkrupp Presta AG
Idea management, that is, the structured generation and implementation of ideas originating from employees, is an important tool for tapping into previously unused potential. As early as 1872, Alfred Krupp stressed the importance of "gratefully receiving suggestions and proposals for improvements" from all groups of employees. Today, this approach is more important than ever. Markus Morscher's idea, born in the washroom of an inn in the beautiful Vorarlberg region of Austria, shows why.
An integral part of a healthy corporate culture
It began with one of our founding fathers, and many companies have followed suit: Today, the structured generation and implementation of optimization and innovation ideas that originate from the workforce is accepted as the practice of idea management and has long been an integral part of many companies’ corporate culture.
Markus Morscher emphasizes this: "Idea management is an important component in our company. It gives employees the opportunity to help develop the company and to play an active role in the process. The maintenance coach at thyssenkrupp Presta AG in Eschen, Liechtenstein, knows what he's talking about. Markus is one of three winners of the "Wanted" idea management campaign run by the steering specialists headquartered in the Principality. The aim of the campaign was to identify ideas that promised particularly high savings and to reward them with a large cash prize.
Sometimes the treasure is right in front of you – you just have to recognize it
While washing his hands at an inn, Markus noticed the high-quality towel paper that was provided. He wondered what kind of paper his employer used. The avid cyclist researched the manufacturer, potential alternatives and where exactly in the company responsibility for purchasing and organization lay. Markus analyzed the paper costs of the past years, the consumption, and the costs for changing the paper rolls. He discovered that the concept implemented by the external service provider responsible at the time had gaps. His thought: There had to be something that could be done.
New towel paper concept saves over 40,000 euros in costs
Thoughts became actions: Markus contacted various wholesalers and manufacturers to request samples and offers. Armed with a wealth of new information and figures, Markus worked out a new concept. He could reduce the paper costs per 100 meters by almost 45 percent and significantly reduce the intervals between paper roll changes because the rolls would now be twice as long. thyssenkrupp Presta received new paper dispensers from the new supplier free of charge. A test run, which also tested colleagues' reactions to the new paper quality, was carried out, and was successful. The bottom line is that Markus has saved his employer, where he will soon celebrate his 30th anniversary, more than 40,000 euros a year at the Eschen site thanks to the new paper concept.
"Markus Morscher set an excellent example for the development and implementation of the idea. He developed the idea systematically, took the initiative and implemented the idea together with the relevant departments, showing a lot of commitment. This is more than exemplary," says Rebekka Weisser, the ideas manager at HQ.
An initiative that paid off –and not just for thyssenkrupp Presta. Markus was able to experience an unforgettable day together with three other colleagues whose ideas also won awards. At a spectacular driving event on the Graubünden driving safety course in Cazis, Switzerland, the winners were able to explore the limits of driving dynamics, both as passengers and behind the wheel of a variety of vehicles. In addition, they were able to learn exclusively about the latest technologies from the steer-by-wire sector. At the end of the day, all participants agreed that it was extremely exciting to experience the technical possibilities at first hand and to see how their company is helping to shape the mobility of tomorrow.
Prizes of up to CHF 5,000 for the best ideas
"I was really delighted to win. I hadn't expected it at all," Markus admits. "It was very exciting to come to Cazis and take a look behind the scenes at how our steering systems are tested under real conditions. It was a great experience and absolutely fascinating to see the forces at work in the car and the human skills required to control them. Hats off to our test drivers!"
So, formulating new ideas can certainly pay off at thyssenkrupp Presta –both financially and emotionally. In the future, the rewards for the best ideas will be adjusted and made even more attractive. Another reason for Markus to keep his eyes open and submit more ideas. He has already reserved a table at his favorite inn.