Delivering world-class innovation – the Greiner Assistec approach
Greiner Assistec’s first virtual Innovation Day successfully created the opportunity for delegates from around the world to gain an insight into the company’s unique approach to mastering the complexity of developing effective manufacturing solutions.
Host Daniel Cronin introduced Greiner Assistec Vice President Karl Berger, who opened the event with a presentation called: “Delivering world-class innovation – the Greiner Assistec approach”.
He began by saying that the business had carried out research to discover supplier’s and customer’s perceptions of the company, and presented a word rap where sustainability and innovation where shown as the leading words.
Of course, the results showed that we manufacture plastic parts and technical plastic parts components, and that injection molding is one of our key production technologies. But it was also great to see understanding around our ability to offer digital solutions and blow molding. However, the most encouraging result was to see that we are recognised mostly for sustainability and innovation and those are the major themes of our first virtual Innovation Day.
“After 15 years of talking about and dealing with innovation, I have some personal takeaways which I would like to share with you. I ask: ‘what does it take or what does it need to make a team or a company innovative?’.”
“You need to create a favorable ecosystem for innovation. First of all, you have to build heterogeneous teams – teams where people are coming together with different backgrounds and different mindset. This diversity really makes a difference. Not much happens when everybody in a team is looking alike, thinking alike and doing the same thing. Second, you have to create a flexible network of specialists. Then it is essential to making trust and partnership a basic principle, and to be at the forefront of technology. Finally you need to consider all aspects, including products, technologies, processes and business models.”
Greiner Assistec’s four pillars of innovation
Karl Berger then explained that Greiner Assistec’s approach to innovation comprises four pillars. The first relies on an internal network of dedicated employees, but also on expanding this network over the boundaries to partners, suppliers, research institutes, and anyone who might contribute to the company’s innovation or to the products and solutions that the company offers.
The second pillar is long-term partnerships. “I have talked about trust, and I have talked about partnerships and that's exactly what we're also trying to do,” he said. “Long-term partnerships for us means not only having long-term partnerships with our partners and suppliers, but also with our customers and our employees. Working with international accounts is also absolutely key.
The third pillar is the second part of the company’s name – Assistec – and is about being a technology integrator. “I am often asked: ‘You're a plastic parts producer, so what do you mean by being a technology integrator?’. Well, it's pretty simple. We have some key production technologies and these are the basic backbone of our production facilities, but on the other hand, we want to be able to integrate new and innovative technologies into our product and solutions portfolio.”
“We’re not trying to stick to one or two production technologies, but instead integrating them into our processes. We want to combine technologies, and this often brings very, very good technology innovations, using diverse materials.”
Greiner Assistec – the solution provider
Last, but not least, the fourth pillar that Greiner Assistec is building is as a solution provider. “Of course, the solution that we're providing is more or less producing plastic parts and assemblies,” said Karl Berger. “But it's more than that. We want to be not only a producer, but we really want to offer solutions to our customers. So, this means that at the center of our offering is problem solving competencies and tailored solutions.”
“We do not have standard products – we have only tailored offerings – products that are specifically designed for the needs of our customers. We deliver these through our range of specialized experts and local knowledge in our production sites, but we also have centralized competencies.”
Four step solution to being a solution provider
Greiner Assistec has established a four-step approach to being a solution provider. It can be simply a converter, taking over tools from its customers, and producing parts. But the next step is taking over existing molds, and being able to take care of designing those molds and looking after the necessary production tools – and the network approach means that the company has a lot of specialized tool-makers in its network.
Step three sees Greiner Assistec not only taking care of the tools, but also the downstream equipment for the technologies that are necessary to make a customer’s parts. The fourth step in being a solution provider is co-design, partnering with customers as a developer to create specific parts and specific solutions for their problems.
“Together with our customers, we're expanding this concept of being a solution provider and expanding it to the next step of becoming a sustainable solution provider.
Sustainable solution provider
“By becoming a sustainable solution provider, we can help our customers to meet their sustainability targets,” said Karl Berger. “Besides being innovative, sustainability is one of the most important things today. And with this idea, we recently said: ‘Okay, we have our own sustainability targets, but it would be great if at a much bigger lever, we can help our customers to meet their sustainability targets, because then we can use the whole power of our network, the whole power of our competences, the whole power of the assisted group to help our customers being sustainable and be innovative together.”
Full reviews – and recordings – of each live session from the first virtual Greiner Assistec Innovation Day will be available soon.