Film & Foil Change from within

RKW’s new VP of operations hygiene, Jens Bestian, is a man with a mission. Since July 2018, he has been following a clear-cut strategy and cultural changes. Converterwent to find out more

YOU HAVE A SOLID TRACK RECORD IN THE FIELD OF OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT. ARE THERE ANY CHALLENGES LEFT FOR YOU? Of course! After several jobs at private equity and multinational companies, I wanted to tackle tasks that are not primarily related to short-term goals. Growing a company is often associated with unknown risks. I was looking for challenges on a different level. Optimising operations – from the inside, without focusing too much on additional external resources and internal, central overhead. I have always been fascinated by the complex interplay of different operational factors, from KPIs to cultural aspects like commitment and work safety. That is why I was eager to switch to a medium business with professional management.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE RKW? RKW has an excellent reputation across the plastics industry, with highly committed employees. And RKW considers operational excellence – continuous improvement of the operational processes – a key strategic pillar. For me, this was the ideal ground on which to make the next career steps – even more so as RKW offers great potential as it is constantly improving operations. Leveraging this potential can benefit both the company and its customers because it allows to create further added value. And supporting this process would allow me to drive a truly

sustainable, long-term change that comes from within. In other words, a company like RKW finds value in structural and cultural changes, without having to economise.

WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS? First off, transparency over KPIs is crucial to reach the next operational level. In our hygiene and industrial business, we are currently working towards making machinery defects or rejection rates even more transparent – with the aim to increase uptime and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) next to material loss optimisation. Besides changing the hardware, ie. the technology, or providing scorecards to assess the performance, there needs to be a shift in focus – from a margin-driven to a more holistic evaluation of operations. If you reach a certain margin, that is good for the company – but it can lead you to gloss over the fact that some production lines are not working as effectively as they should. We not only need to make operational indicators more transparent. We must pay greater attention to them in the first place and use them to identify pain points and strong points. This analysis, in turn, allows us to enhance operations – from single machines to complete processes.

WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT? Enhancing our supply chain is a top priority as well. Our goal is to secure customer

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supply with a decentralised, local approach. A major hygiene consumer goods customer, for instance, produces in China. So, to avoid supply delays and foster planning security, we focus on developing our local business in China, where we opened our film manufacturing plant a few years ago. Rather than supplying the customer with products from our German sites, we provide quicker, direct support. This is also a question of using local raw material: We need to produce our products in China with raw material sourced in China to ensure a fast time-to-market. This also means building process knowledge locally, eg. maintenance and process know- how, so that the colleagues on-site can remedy technical issues without having to constantly involve our centre of competence. Knowledge transfer between sites is a major prerequisite for this.

IS KNOWLEDGE THE CULTURAL ASPECT YOU MENTIONED? Yes and no. Training employees and expanding their knowledge is crucial for smooth operations. But so is their commitment, their accountability and their attitude towards important topics like work safety. Teamwork hinges on a common understanding of how things are done, and which things are important. When it comes to work safety, we follow a behavioural approach that aims to create awareness for the topic.


April 2019

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