After worldwide production was largely suspended at Kromberg & Schubert due to the Corona shutdown, Fraunhofer IPA worked with the automotive supplier to develop and implement a catalog of safety measures to protect the employees, suppliers and customers at all 26 factories across the globe.
The spread of the coronavirus at the beginning of 2020 prompted Kromberg & Schubert (Kroschu) to largely suspend global production in parallel with the production shutdowns of its main customers. Furthermore, it was imperative to protect employees and prevent them from becoming infected by the virus at work. The company is a world-leading supplier of wiring systems, cables and plastic components.
To guarantee supply capability and minimize the financial impact on employees and the company, Kroschu commissioned Fraunhofer IPA to help them devise and implement appropriate measures to enable the smooth and safe restart of production. This involved identifying, developing, assessing and implementing protective measures that would allow Kroschu to resume operations quickly, efficiently and effectively with a Group standard applicable for all of its 26 plants.
In a first step, a task force was set up consisting of experts from Fraunhofer IPA, employees from the company’s headquarters and several selected plants. The most important ad-hoc measures were identified, assessed and selected in weekly online meetings. Simultaneously, basic information on the causes, transmission routes and consequences of the coronavirus was compiled to make sure that the right decisions would be made. Thanks to this approach, a group-wide set of measures was adopted within a matter of days. Temperature measurement, bus transport management, workplace design and risk analysis were among the hands-on measures implemented in the first few days. Kroschu benefited in particular from Fraunhofer IPA's external technical expertise, applying solutions from areas such as factory planning, value stream and automation from a completely new perspective.
At the same time, a set of technical solutions was developed that will be introduced in the factories to support the organizational measures taken. Fraunhofer IPA applied value stream and factory planning methods and transferred them to the Corona situation.
In a final step, the measures were rolled out and put into practice in all 26 plants worldwide. Fraunhofer IPA is continuously monitoring and analyzing their implementation.
A particular challenge was that on-site visits and workshops were not possible. Therefore, the project was carried out with the aid of video conferences, collaboration platforms and video recordings.
The project is still underway.
“Our top priority is the safety of our employees and customers. The methods and measures developed in collaboration with Fraunhofer IPA have resulted in a promising concept enabling us to get production up and running again. Customer feedback also confirms that we are acting promptly and with foresight.”
Dr. Thomas Lange-Stalinski
Kromberg & Schubert Automotive GmbH & Co. KG