, , ,

Factory2Fit Spotlight Feature – New Product Launch Manager Thomas Walter

Factory2Fit Spotlight Feature

New Product Launch Manager Thomas Walter

Continental Automotive GmbH

This week we spoke to Thomas Walter, New Product Launch Manager with Continental Automotive’s Industrial Engineering department, about his role in Factory2Fit.

Hi Thomas. Thanks for speaking to us today. First, could you start by describing your typical working day?

I work in the industrial engineering department at Continental Automotive GmbH, based in Limbach-Oberfrohna, Germany. My role is project manager for new product launches. People may not realise that years before a product begins mass production, there is a team working busily in the background, planning all of the tasks needed to make it happen.

This is a fascinating job – one that connects almost all of the disciplines in our plant. Usually there are multiple projects running in parallel and sometimes not just for the plant here, but across our international operations. So it’s far from boring! There is no typical working day. Every day is different and brings new challenges that need to be addressed to keep the project on target.

What do you like most about the role? 

To be honest, one of the reasons I love my job is that no two days are the same.

As an industrial partner in Factory2Fit, we are the pilot for defining, creating, testing and rating new solutions in this field of research. This is a really exciting role, because we’re part of the project’s transition from theory to reality.

In my daily project work I deal with future matters. I really like visionary tasks, where a picture of the future is created to meet current challenges. Having a vision of a production facility before it exists demands creativity. To develop the necessary activities from such a picture is a very diverse and challenging task. This shaping of the future in the Factory2Fit project is a perfect match for me.  I am really happy to be a part of it.

How do your professional interests match the objectives of Factory2Fit?

For a production plant in a high-wage country it is essential to continuously strengthen competences and increase productivity. Factory2Fit is precisely focused on this.

What is unique about Factory2Fit in your opinion?

I think it’s unique in the industrial sector to have much focus on the worker, their needs and their wellbeing in the job.

What do you see as the biggest challenge for Factory2Fit?

Wider changes will be necessary in the standards of personal information that can be used in a factory setting. I am curious to see how much this will change in the coming years.

Could you describe the coordination between Continental and the other partners? Do you build on each other’s expertise?

In a globalised work environment, distances don’t matter as much as they did in the past. With all the technical possibilities of modern communication, decentralised ways of working are becoming a part of daily life.

In the Factory2Fit project team, we have many different functions, roles and competences and are based in different locations across Europe. Therefore, it is crucial to rely on each other’s expertise to create successful results. Trust is the basis for success, but this is only possible if you know each other. That’s why I am happy that we have the opportunity to meet face-to-face from time to time – because we’re growing trust all the time.

Are there three key words that come to mind when describing the overall impact of Factory2Fit?

The first would be ‘Innovation’:  innovative design of future work.

The second word I’d choose is ‘Flexibility’: the work environment will be more flexible to fit to workers’ needs and to support their skills development.

And the third would be ‘Satisfaction’: a key target of the project is that worker satisfaction improves.

Thank you Thomas. We are keen to hear more about your work further into the project.