“Us in process“ - project week of our trainees who started in 2013

During the first week of May, we trainees from Mannheim and also Berlin who started in 2013 drove to a Center Parc in Medebach. According to the motto “us in process”, we were learning about the topics process optimization, CIP (continuous improvement process) and ideas management and hence we got to know each other.

We were separated into different, inter-disciplinary groups of dual students and apprentices. The schedule for this week included certain group works and tasks about the topics processes and optimizing processes. Besides the group works, like e.g. a simulation of a KANBAN system, we had a 48 hours task, which needed to be done by every single group. The aim of this task was to find ideas for process optimizations within the company and thus design a game. Each group presented their outcomes on our final evening and the winning group was rewarded. For this group work, the possibilities for organizing ourselves were kept open, so it was particularly important to work well within the team.

Here you can find a few examples of our tasks and practices:

Processes at Roche

This task was about showing the different processes that are taking place at Roche.

The outcome was a graphic outline of the value chain, which shows a set of activities of the connected company activities that the operational process performs in order to deliver a valuable product.

The value chain at Roche primary involves activities of research & development, production, logistics, marketing and sales. The value creation process is supported by activities of Human Resources, Procurement, Finance & Controlling as well as Services.

Ahead of the project week, each trainee already had to create a process map of the current department, focusing on the main tasks of this department. Those maps were then placed into the big picture of the value chain. This pointed out, how the different processes at Roche take place and how the different departments are interconnected. Especially, this showed us the importance of having an inter-divisional team as well as the importance of communication as a main part for keeping processes running.

Process optimization

By using a puzzle, each team had the task to find and introduce arrangements for optimizing the process.

During the first round, each group had to finish the puzzle as fast as possible. Afterwards we had 5 more rounds, in which we should introduce different measures in the puzzle-process for optimizing out times of finishing the puzzle.

Within this game we gained the following insights:

Even small changes can have a great impact, e.g. organization of the workplace (in this game we worked on different table-sizes) as well as adjust the number of employees. Over-optimization is unrewarding. As soon as we achieved one optimization, further optimization activities lead to negative influences on the process.

Simulation of a production process within the 48 hours task

Our main purpose within the 48 hours task was to create a game, which shows a production process, of which further ideas for process optimization can be deduced of.

By using some materials out of the moderation suitcase, each group created a production process of an own imaginary product. Additionally, we had to write game instructions, so other groups were able to simulate our production process and analyze optimizing potentials at the same time. For analyzing the production process, the different team members created a so called “Spaghetti-diagram”, which eases the visualization of workflows and material flows. The aim of this diagram was to reveal waste in workflows – especially in transportation and movements.

But besides the hard work, fun wasn’t cut short

Up to 6 trainees lived together in one house. In the evenings we were cooking and eating there together. Besides, we had the opportunity to use the services of Central Parcs. So, in the evenings, you often met some of us in the swimming pool areas or at other offered sports activities (e.g. bowling, climbing, etc.).

All in all, this week was very educational. The tasks and group works were very helpful to understand the importance of processes and their continuous optimization as well as understanding and recognizing the different functions within a process. Additionally, we had the chance to get to know each other even better and also interchange about our different professions.

(Franziska M. and Stefanie K. – students of the „Dualen Hochschule“)

Tags: Career Blog, Germany