New Work in production?!

Is that even possible? We spoke to Andreas Simon from the management consultancy V&S about this topic. Continue reading

In times of globalisation and digitisation, the term “New Work” is on everyone’s lips. It is about freedom and self-determination at work, about being an active participant in the process as an employee and taking shared responsibility for collaboration as well as success.

But is this kind of work philosophy even imaginable in a manufacturing company? Is that not just something for “creative jobs”? Perhaps also for classic office workplaces? How is a structured manufacturing process supposed to provide room for freedom, independence and flexibility?

Andreas Simon, a partner at the management consultancy V&S and managing director of mimatic GmbH, is convinced: this is not only possible, but also extremely important. With his statements on the subject, he shows how the ideas of New Work can be made reality in industrial production and what benefits arise for both companies and employees.

Core concept of New Work

Involvement of employees through a different organisation of work, new work models as well as the awareness and above all the use of their skills, so that they can actively contribute to problem solving and share responsibility.

New Work as togetherness

At its core, New Work is about new ways of collaborating and working together. This also applies in production: moving away from pure specifications – everyone contributes their individual skills and competencies to achieve the common goal, and is heard in the process. By the way, this is not so new. Especially in production, this type of collaboration has been known as shop floor management for decades.

Reasons for New Work

Appreciation increases value creation. As in the office, new work approaches should and can increase throughput and productivity in industry. They speed up the processes that are not rule-based. In production, this particularly concerns challenges that have to be solved anew every day – for example, through New Work approaches.

New Work (not) a hype

It is important not to view New Work as a hype or a panacea, but to recognise that there are areas where New Work is helpful and others where it does not make sense. It is important to find one’s own structure every day – and that in every sector.

Shifting boundaries through New Work

Admittedly, in industry, New Work is not a game changer. And not every approach from the New Work environment is directly useful in production. But employee-oriented approaches expand the possibilities. Thoughtful and satisfied employees increase competitiveness, particularly in an international environment with competition from low-wage countries.

Attracting and retaining skilled workers

New Work helps to create a better production environment, increases the appreciation shown to employees and thus helps to improve the company image and employee satisfaction. The opportunity to contribute to further development and problem solving allows employees to have a stronger identification with and visibility of their own contribution to the success of the company. Integration creates loyalty. In this way, New Work is also making industrial workplaces more attractive.

End of the know-all

The supervisor in production is no longer the sole, all-knowing person. They involve the people around them and listen. Together, problems are solved. Employees are granted the freedom and resources to independently shape and improve their workplace and environment.

More individual responsibility through New Work

This is achieved in production, for example, by having the machining groups work independently. They are not given a strict plan, but rather performance targets. How they fulfil these and deal with the daily new challenges is up to them themselves.

Information flow

Every system has a certain volume of work, in which a system can let the work flow unrestrictedly. New Work helps to determine and maintain this “constant work in process” – through new information flows, in which those affected, the people in production, actively participate.

New Work in the digital tomorrow

Digitisation and artificial intelligence solve problems that can be automated. New Work, on the other hand, solves problems where automation is not possible – switched on employees will become increasingly important in the future.


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