3 min reading time
Story 116 – 1951 – Innovation

Good ideas are rewarded

The company suggestion scheme at Wieland

A systematic company suggestion scheme has existed at Wieland since 1951. In the course of time it has undergone several changes and since 1995 it has been organised in form of the Wieland Ideas Competition. In future, the focus will be on regulations which cover the entire Wieland Group.

Wieland has a long tradition of employees contributing to greater efficiency, savings or increased occupational safety with suggestions for improvement – and receiving financial recognition for this. This practice was first systematized with the establishment of the company suggestion scheme in 1951, when procedures were established for how suggestions were to be evaluated and remunerated by a committee. Even then, the most important guideline was the annual benefit achieved through the improvement, in which the employee was involved.

In 1995, the process was given the name it still bears today: Wieland Ideas Competition (WIW). Two years later, the process was changed to a value point system, in which employees could collect points over the year, which were then remunerated. Further changes took place in 2006: a joint works agreement was concluded for all four manufacturing plants in Germany and a uniform IT platform was created. What's more, in order to provide incentives for improvement suggestions whose significance cannot be quantified in terms of concrete benefits - for example, improvements in safety – an annual lottery scheme was introduced in addition to the benefits. Employees now received a lottery ticket for every accepted idea, and one in ten was drawn by the Board of Management at the end of the year; the winners could look forward to bonuses worth between 100 and 4,000 Euros. The Austrian production sites joined this lottery procedure in 2011.

Because the randomness of the lottery ticket system could well produce injustices, the procedure is currently being further developed. The WIW Steering Group is focusing on implementing a system that takes into account the internationalization and globalization of the Wieland Group. The aim is to create a competition of ideas that can be implemented worldwide and which includes all Wieland locations around the globe as a whole.

The importance of this topic is illustrated by the fact that an average of 1,400 suggestions for improvement are already received annually from the German and Austrian sites, with a total annual value of between 800,000 and 2 million Euros. Incidentally, the highest single annual utility value of 752,787 Euros was achieved in 2011 by a proposal for "obtaining representative work plans for inventory valuation".

Letter with suggestions for improvement

One of 5,331 suggestions for improvement submitted to the company suggestion scheme between 1951 and 1995. In 1968, those submitting suggestions received 200 Deutschmarks.

group of employees

The main winners of the 2017/18 annual lottery not only received value cheques, but also – like previous winners – the opportunity to meet with representatives of the Management Board.