Production errors are an unwelcome feature of business. Not only do they raise costs, if nobody notices until the product arrives at the customer’s, it can have a long-term impact on client relationships. It’s all the more frustrating if the knowledge the company needed to prevent the mistake was already somewhere within the business, but nobody thought about telling production. This was the starting point for a degree project carried out by Christian Casar, who recently completed his studies toward a Master of Science in Innovation and Technology Management at the School of International Business and Entrepreneurship (SIBE), part of Steinbeis University Berlin (SHB). Casar worked on the project on behalf of TRUMPF Hüttinger GmbH & Co. KG, the leading producer of process energy supply solutions and manufacturer of products such as semiconductor chips.
The project revolved around the introduction of a knowledge management system in order to improve product quality in the long term. The aim was to make systematic use of knowledge and previous experience both in serial production and product development. Casar’s job was to support this process by introducing a task and communication tool called 4tasks (www.4tasks.de). This would share information relevant to quality by issuing quality management progress reports. The money this could save was a six-figure number, assuming the right knowledge management system is put in place. This would also have an impact on customer satisfaction by improving product quality. A further benefit of the project related to personnel and skills management, which would be supported by promoting internal networking among staff and this would also be directly influenced by knowledge sharing.
The project was implemented successfully, resulting in an immediate move up the career ladder for the young SHB student. On completion of his degree, Casar was appointed head of quality management at TRUMPF tool-making division in Teningen, where he is now realigning the existing management system to match TRUMPF quality, energy, environment, and safety standards. He also shares responsibility with an IT colleague for managing the introduction of an SAP solution to replace the current system.
Even in his new job, Casar still benefits from the things he learned during his project skills degree at SIBE. “The SHB degree isn’t about sharing fixed content, it’s about helping you to remove your blinkers and understand the signs of the times and trends – identifying the implications this will have where you work. In an era of big data, information and knowledge alone are becoming less and less important,” concludes the SHB graduate. Casar says there are a number of reasons why he’ll never regret deciding to study again: the long-term benefits, the possibility to have a positive impact on the development of a company, and personal development – which was a key focus of his degree.