When you find there are absolutely no members of staff available with the necessary experience, suitable training and appropriate technical expertise, the most important thing to do is not actually to find new people, but to fill that skills gap. It sounds so obvious, but this elementary point is often overlooked. That was not the case in Hamelin at Schubs GmbH.
Axel Schulz, Managing Director of Schubs GmbH, dissected the manufacturing process and compared what was needed – error-free assembly in line with set cycle times at competitive costs – with the options available to him. Responsibility for the working process and zero-error strategy, at least in contract manufacturing, now no longer lies with specialist skilled workers, but rather with semi-skilled staff from two workshops for people with disabilities. Digital assistance systems have been developed in house to give these workers vital support at key points. Fed with data from the Eplan platform and ERP system, which are used throughout the entire company, these assistance systems act as the “brain” of the production system and guide staff through the more complex manual assembly processes.
Mounting plates are configured with cable ducts, top-hat rails, support rails and other elements with the aid of ‘DAKoTA’, an acronym taken from the German for ‘digital co-worker technology workstation’. The digital documentation assistance system doesn’t use any paper documents and displays all key data such as project data, images and parts lists on a screen. Schubs also uses another visual assistance system known as ‘Moonshiner’ to speed up processes and dramatically minimise reject rates. While they work, staff can have the layout, parts list and even previously printed labels for the components projected onto the assembly worksurface. This is an ideal way to compare the actual assembly scenario with the digital plans to ensure the right components are positioned correctly.