Successful capacity adjustment at a manufacturer of forming and car body technology

The starting position 

This long-established company based in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, has 2,500 employees worldwide and generates sales of over €500 million with high-quality products and solutions in the automotive environment. The high-performance and innovative product range covers forming and bodywork technology as well as automation systems, machinery and toolmaking. As part of the realignment, sales and production companies were established in China, India and other European countries, process-oriented business units were introduced and investments were made in digitalization. The consequence: overcapacities in the German main plants, exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic occurring at the same time with temporary declines in the market. 

The procedure 

On the basis of the existing strategic concept, bachert&partner developed a program for adjusting staff capacity and helped to implement it. Complex, location-dependent collective bargaining structures, a high degree of unionization and above-average length of service formed the framework conditions. The management's objective was a socially responsible, sustainable approach with the active involvement of employee representatives. 

The measures at a glance 

  • Plausibility check of plan calculations and derivation of target figures

  • Revision or expansion of existing operational measures together with management

  • Establishment of a measure controlling system and a structured project organization

  • Interim appointment of a Chief Human Resources Officer

  • Introduction of close-meshed short-time work management for short-term capacity adjustment

  • Negotiation of social plan and reconciliation of interests with the works councils of the subgroups

  • Implementation of the voluntary program and selective individual operational measures 

The successes 

Within four months, the project succeeded in concluding a reconciliation of interests with a social plan for four of the Group's operating units. In a further six months, over 200 employees at the German main plants joined the voluntary program. The targets set were significantly exceeded both in terms of time and savings effects - the accompanying process-related measures led to further productivity increases, particularly in the indirect areas. Despite the cuts, a constructive relationship continues to exist with the employee representatives. Against the background of the successful restructuring in combination with a dynamic market environment, the company can look to the future with confidence.