An interview about the introduction of Reportheld with Uwe Hekler, IT Manager at Einhell China
After Reportheld has been in daily use for quality controls at Einhell’s suppliers in China for more than three years, we looked together at the beginning of the cooperation, but also at new perspectives for the future.
groupXS : Mr. Hekler, please explain briefly what you use Reportheld for.
Hekler : We use Reportheld for quality assurance inspections of our products. We have around 300 factories and 50 of our own inspectors here in China. Depending on the order quantity, a certain sample size is then determined and checked. We currently have two inspections per day per inspector, i.e. 100 inspections a day. This creates terabytes of data. This is mainly due to the large number of images that we take with Reportheld to document the quality check.
groupXS : And how was the application received by your employees?
Hekler : The application has generally been very well received. Why is that? On the one hand, we were pioneers in our industry and the first to carry out quality controls with the iPad. On the other hand, the application saves us a lot of work. Previously, the inspector received the documents as an e-mail with a PDF attachment, which then had to be printed out in the factory. Then he would go through the checkpoints, make his notes, and then maybe do it all over again with the second inspection. In the evening at the hotel he then started to create his inspection report with Microsoft Word. He also took a lot of photos that had to be uploaded, reviewed, sorted and pasted. Now the inspector has the benefit that the moment he finishes the final check at the factory and hits ok, the job is really done. He is therefore much more mobile, more independent and faster with the application.
groupXS : What was the biggest challenge of your digitization initiative for you?
Hekler : To be honest: We misjudged the requirements for our project at the beginning. Although we had a lot of data in the system, we then realized that the data was there but not usable. What was missing were the relationships between all of these datasets. These references were not stored in the system and had to be worked out first. But that work is now done. We have thus brought our data to a level that is almost unique in our industry. The vast majority of companies in our environment are actually still sitting on mountains of paper in this regard. In order to find out how things went last year, the reports in the archive often have to be worked through and statistics created on this basis in Microsoft Excel. With Reportheld, this is now practically automatic, but the database must first be available. In this respect, the effort has paid off.
groupXS : And how is the data used afterwards?
Hekler : We have a lot of parties involved in the process: inspection instructions are created by the technicians in China and Germany, which have to be controlled and corrected depending on what content is provided and how it is prepared. We have a process management team that has worked intensively, done training and done most of the data revision. We have the QC group who do, handle and interact with the inspections and then we have the 50 inspectors who work with it on site. All those involved must be coordinated in advance. Now everyone involved has access to the same data, no matter where they are, without media breaks or manual transfers.
groupXS : Now that you have been using Reportheld for three years, have you come up with any new digitization ideas?
Hekler : We never run out of ideas and Reportheld has continued to grow with us over the past few years. At the moment we have 50 inspectors with their respective devices on duty. And this year we have set ourselves the goal of connecting our suppliers to the system in order to carry out our own inspections. Now that we have a well thought-out and secure system that guides you through the inspection with instructions, we are starting with 20 suppliers who are now also inspecting. This makes our work easier and also helps to bridge capacity bottlenecks. The vision is to add up to 100 suppliers in the future.
groupXS : We are very happy about that. Do you have any final feedback for us?
Hekler : I’m very happy with that. In particular, because of the time difference from China to Germany, it may well be that we sometimes need support outside of normal business hours. It also happened that we rang a colleague from groupXS in the middle of the night because we hadn’t made any progress at one point. We also really appreciate that in Heiko Witthöft we have had a dedicated contact person in groupXS since the beginning of our collaboration, who knows every detail of our joint project.
groupXS: Thank you very much for the feedback and of course for the great collaboration over the past few years.
The interview was conducted by Sebastian Schmidt and Caroline Bussmann
Einhell AG, China
Checkbox data management: This is how data becomes information
With Reportheld, all data is in one place, making data analysis simple, complete and in real time. In this way, weak points in the process can be identified through more available data and measures can be initiated through connections to third-party systems.
In addition, plausibility checks of the entries and predefined benchmarks ensure that usable data is entered. Data is used more simply, more transparently and more efficiently through simple evaluations, individual processing of the data and direct visualization of the results.
Saving time, increasing productivity and improving quality: On the one hand, Reportheld creates the database for the standardized data exchange of service results. At the same time, the user receives in-depth knowledge of the quality and service life of the systems, equipment and components through the analysis of the collected data – promptly and in a resource-saving manner.
Read more about the application at Einhell AG here.