In July the BLANK-Group announced redundancies due to the persistently gloomy market situation, which was further intensified by Corona. At that time 50 to 100 jobs were considered to be cut as a result of the economic downturn. Today it is clear that the planned job cuts can be realised without operational redundancies for the time being.
"In constructive cooperation between the workers‘ council, IG Metall and management, a concept has been developed with which the urgently needed staff reduction measures can be implemented without operational redundancies for the time being,“ explained Alexander Lenert, head of development and production at the BLANK-Group, "We are happy about this practicable way.“ However, it is undisputed that, due to the economic situation, the number of employees and the task profile of the individual workplaces will have to be adjusted as part of the necessary cost-cutting programme and the strategic reorientation at the Riedlingen site. "Here we count on socially acceptable and voluntary solutions,“ said Hubert Deutsch, chairman of the management board. Essentially 4 pillars were agreed for the necessary changes:
Discontinuations, whether due to retirement, termination or expiring contracts, are not reassigned if possible. Instead, the company relies on the internal filling of positions, a practice that has proven its worth in the past months.
To create a better cost structure and increase competitiveness, BLANK entered into a joint venture in Romania with BARTH Präzisionstechnik GmbH from Binzwangen, Germany. "This was an important and correct step in the long-term strategic realignment of the company," explains Deutsch. However, the intention is to hold on to the employees in Germany affected by this. The BLANK-Group has therefore decided to re-qualify them and provide comprehensive training. "The colleagues are trained in the areas of casting and casting cutting and take over new activities at this point.“ For employees who personally see no prospects in this way, a transfer company is founded to support their professional reorientation. In addition there will be substantial investments at the Riedlingen site accompanied by improvements in production and a focus on the casting sector. Andreas Bleich, chairman of the workers‘ council of BLANK, is satisfied with the agreement. "Even though the loss of each single job hurts, the workers‘ council and IG Metall felt it was important to rule out dismissals for operational reasons and to secure the Riedlingen site for as long as possible.“
The DNA of FEINGUSS BLANK is the casting and this core competence must be further strengthened through research, innovation and investment. "We are only so successful because of our employees, their commitment and the know-how they have acquired over many years,“ says Lenert, "It is in the interest of the company and our responsibility for the region and the location Riedlingen that we keep this know-how, this competence in the company as far as the economic conditions permit.“
The achieved compromise offers the possibility to realise the deletion of 67 jobs, directly affected by the relocation to Romania, without any operational redundancies at this stage. Therefore, until 30th June 2021, no redundancies will be made for operational reasons and every opportunity will be taken to compensate for the loss of these jobs by taking the above-mentioned socially acceptable steps.
"It is important to all of us that we steer BLANK through these challenging times in the best possible way,“ says Lenert, "Beside the personnel measures it is important to concentrate on our core competence: the casting.“ It speaks for the shareholders of the BLANK-Group and for the entrepreneurial spirit of the Blank family that, especially in these difficult times, a large-scale investment package has been decided to improve the company's processes and increase its flexibility.
"We will revise and simplify the flow of materials and the value chain within the company, taking into account the lean approach, which involves large-scale construction work," explains the head of operational management, Robert Rettich. In addition to the reconstruction measures, the BLANK-Group is planning a far-reaching digitalisation project to optimise the planning processes in SAP and in the organisation. "This will create greater transparency with regard to orders, deadlines and capacities," says Juliane Blank who will be in charge of the upcoming projects in the IT and organisation area.
"For the BLANK-Group the signs are pointing to change,“ Hubert Deutsch summarises the planned package of measures, "The current situation can be a great opportunity for the company and we want to get the maximum effect out of the existing potential in all areas. The Blank family, the advisory board and the management, we are all convinced that together we can master this great task and emerge from the current situation stronger than before.“