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The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand

Pact for the Future

Tool costs? Down!

The Salzgitter plant shows how the Pact for the Future works: the great expertise of the employees in Process Planning ensures ever more efficient tools, and saved the brand 1.6 million euros last year.

Thomas Schrul with a set of gun drills. These were improved so much that the production time for a drilled hole was almost halved.

From drills to cutters to grinding wheels: almost 16,000 different tools are used at Volkswagen Salzgitter. These are used to produce a multitude of components for engines. "These tools cost money, starting with the purchase and ending with the post-processing of worn tools," explains Thomas Schrul. He’s been working in Process Planning at the Salzgitter plant for six years and, together with his colleagues, saved 1.6 million euros in tool costs in 2017.

How was this possible? The 53-year-old explains, "There isn’t one major measure. Strictly speaking, it was 130 little ones. At the Salzgitter plant, we apply our expertise in a variety of ways." As an example, he cites the preparation and new production of worn tools for the Wolfsburg and Kassel plants. It’s wholly in the spirit of the Pact for the Future: money stays within the company, expert knowledge fosters utilization, and ultimately secures jobs. Schrul and his colleagues are always breaking new ground to buy or develop the perfect tool. This means that the pure acquisition costs of a tool are no longer the sole consideration, and instead are balanced against its service life. In other words, "We are constantly searching for the best total package," says Schrul, who has worked at Volkswagen since 1985.

Ultimately, it’s about continuous improvement in all areas. "We’ve already made two tools into one," he names as another example. The native of Peine, Germany, is aware that this work will probably never be finished. "But that’s exactly why I like my job so much. It never gets boring."