You probably know that some companies have suggestion boxes in their offices? No one ever believes that something happens with these suggestions. However exceptions exist.
For example, Audi employees submitted more than 25,000 ideas in 2018 and Audi implemented 13,500 of them. This resulted in savings of €109.1 million at the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm sites. Employees were happy too – a total of €8.1 million bonuses were paid out.
Workers are the ones seeing the process up close. In fact, they are integral part of the mechanism of the company. With their experience it is possible to spot areas worthy of improvement, which is exactly why Audi has this Audi ideas program. Not only it prepares company for the future, but it also provides bonuses to the employees once ideas are implemented. More than €8 million in bonuses was paid out in 2018 alone, but in the future this additional income to worker’s families is likely to increase due to more suggestions being posted.
What are the suggestions? Well, they are from all over the place. Two paintjob workers came up with an idea about how to paint ordering system – this small suggestion helped Audi to save €280,000 per year. Another €40,000 is saved because some worked thought of an idea of fixing an air nozzle to a soldering robot. This reduces residue build-up, which cuts down on labour and cloths. €21,000 each year will be saved because Audi’s employees had an idea of changing barcode stickers and barcode scanner into a data-matrix code already imprinted in the injection mould and an appropriate camera to read it. This means that robots don’t need stickers to understand what plastic part is passing through and this cuts down on the cost of the operation significantly.
Marcus Schulte, Head of the Audi Ideas Agency, said: „Every employee can contribute his or her ideas to the Audi ideas program. In this way, they not only help make Audi fit for the future, but also contribute to a more efficient, sustainable and better company“. As you may know, Audi has factories outside of Germany as well and Audi ideas program crosses the borders of the home country too. For example, employees of at the Audi facilities in Győr and Brussels submitted a total of 11,890 suggestions in 2018 and helped Audi save more than €34 million. The program exists since 1994, but even before that Audi was always open for suggestions.
Companies should pay more attention to what their workers are saying. They see the work from very close, they are involved in the process and they are able to give very precise and valuable suggestions. Furthermore – they are interested in improving the company. No one wants to work in a business that is not moving forward.