More practical relevance in training with Roth "Smart Factory"

Trainees receive additional qualification
Dautphetal. To prepare the trainees for the modern working world, Roth Industries developed the "Smart Factory" project. The digitalisation of work processes in companies as well as digital applications in production (Industry 4.0) are developing, in part rapidly. Keeping pace with this is a great challenge for skilled workers. "That's why it is important to raise awareness as early as the training stage to develop one's own skills at the same time as technological progress," explained Michael Donges, head of human resources at the Roth family business. "In order to train the new digital working methods and apply them with practical relevance, we have created an innovative training concept with Smart Factory. In addition, our trainees experience at first hand what autonomous cross-departmental work means and how their skills grow through self-organised learning", Michael Donges continued.
Ausbildungsprojekts „Smart Factory“

Smart Factory: A company within a company

Under the leadership of Hartmut Heck, head of central training, and Dr. Michael Schröder, head of innovation management and head of human resources, the "Smart Factory" training concept was created in spring 2019, bringing together a team of eight trainees from four different professions in the first (juniors) and second year of training (seniors), who set up a company within the company. The group includes electronics engineers, industrial clerks, industrial mechanics and technical product designers. Their initial investment was a 3D printer for additive manufacturing with the objective: to acquire and process orders for 3D manufactured products from the various Roth companies and departments and to at least cover costs. The trainees set up the 3D printer independently under the supervision of Hartmut Heck and put it into operation. The "Smart Factory" team produced spare parts for production lines, prototypes of products and small parts for entire assemblies. In doing so, they had to deal with the entire business management work process - from feasibility analysis to cost calculation, quotation and order processing, production, financial accounting and the strategic decision on how a return on future investments could be beneficially returned to the company. Interdisciplinary work promotes technical, methodological and social competence even during training and prepares future specialists for practical work.

The next generation has already begun

Participation in "Smart Factory" is an additional qualification for digital skills and self-organised learning in a team under the guidance of the Roth trainers. The project will continue seamlessly in 2020. The juniors will take over the role of the seniors and a newly appointed generation of juniors will familiarise themselves with their tasks. The retiring seniors Mareike Bülte, Fabio Freund, Felix Paplauer and Jannik Schmidt have taken a lot from "Smart Factory". "We transformed a pilot project into a small business structure and turned theories into reality. Independence, teamwork and cooperation are clearly encouraged," says Jannik Schmidt. Mareike Bülte is also convinced: "Smart Factory was a great opportunity to develop further. We were able to improve our skills in self-organization, in dealing with challenges and in time management". Fabio Freund emphasized: "We were mainly involved in the assembly, operation and digitization of 3D printers. I think this topic will play an increasingly important role in the industry in the future. The cooperation between the different occupational groups was exciting, as a commercial trainee gained interesting insights into the tasks of commercial trainees. I think the project was very successful and can recommend participation to every trainee.