The TQU Akademie now offers Germany’s first employee development program to become a TQM Manager® Automobil for the automotive industry. The aim is giving graduates an overview of the industry and its standards, equipping them with the tools they need to tackle the challenges facing the automotive world. Philipp Schäble, employed at Aluminium-Werke Wutöschingen, was the first to be awarded the TQM Manager® Automobil degree.
The automotive industry is a powerhouse of Germany’s commercial realm. “Competition between car manufacturers as well as first, second, and third tier suppliers is intense,” explains Schäble. “Price, service, and quality are all competitive differentiators. These companies need to manage the incredible demands placed on them.”
Setting the quality bar high – that’s a cornerstone of customer satisfaction for Aluminium-Werke Wutöschingen (AWW), a German company steeped in tradition. Their core product lines: slugs, profiles, and system components made of aluminum. This diversity of products is complemented with technical advice and support, helping AWW stand out from the competition. “The programs help people marry their expertise in metallurgy, design, and high precision processing with their know-how as a manager in the automotive business,” says Board Member Dr. Andreas Baum, explaining the benefits of the program. “The tough automotive market and all of the specific customer needs that go with it will benefit from improved service and thinking.”
TQM Manager® Automobil is a carefully planned training program spanning four modules. The first module takes a thorough look at ISO/TS 16949, the international standard for quality management systems in the automotive industry. When employees have a solid grasp of this standard, they can take part in improvement projects and apply their knowledge to quality management initiatives.
The second module addresses project management within APQP and PPAP, two automotive industry standards. Forming “project teams”, students delve into ISO/TS directives that impact companies’ planning units. Close cooperation with customers and suppliers lies at the heart of AWW projects. Flexibility is key in reacting quickly to each change in customer needs. “Our customers’ requirements may keep changing, but we still adhere to and apply APQP structures,” explains Schäble.
During the third module, students are trained as an Internal TQM Auditor® Automobil. Such auditors assess the company according to ISO/TS 16949, suggest improvements, and evaluate the efficiency of measures taken. This is where the training program dovetails with AWW’s objectives. “We expect audits to deliver ways to continuously improve our processes, avoid nonconformity and complaint costs, and pinpoint internal weaknesses in our quality management system,” outlines Dr. Baum.
The training program concludes with a seminar on supplier management, ultimately assessing the supplier. The strategic significance of this practice extends beyond the automotive industry. Skills imparted in the program benefit AWW twofold: as a supplier of first-rate aluminum products and as a purchaser of materials and components used in its products.