RÖCHLING GROUP
Our Employees in the Automotive Division 

HAVING FUN COLLECTING THE BEST INNOVATIONS

CLAUDIO FAUNI,
Sales Manager

Röchling Automotive

In times of digitalization, ambitious start-ups and rapid changes in business models it is more important than ever before for companies to act quickly and flexibly, support creativity, come up with new ideas and develop innovations. Röchling Automotive closely involves its employees worldwide in this innovation process, and with good reason – employees are closer to the topics relevant to Röchling Automotive than anyone else. Their ideas count.

Under the slogan “Boost our Future,” Röchling held an eight-month-long ideas competition in 2017. The employees were asked to use virtual game elements to develop a range of innovation and growth strategies that will help put the company on its future path to success. The response was huge.

Departing from Beaten Path
Claudio Fauni, Sales Manager of Röchling Automotive, was part of one of the four teams that came out ahead in the end. “Right from the start, I enjoyed being part of the game and working on an idea that fits the company’s core competencies but, at the same time, gave me the opportunity to move away from current solutions and leave the beaten path,” says the motivated lateral thinker.

Fauni and his teammate Edoardo Martelli, an employee on the New Business Green Car product line, pursued the idea of optimizing thermal energy management at vehicle level. “From the start, our development was quite close to the customer’s needs and can be integrated into the existing Röchling business very well because it combines several of the competencies available in the company,” reports Fauni.

This was not a compulsory factor in the 500 or so ideas that were brought together in an “inspiration” game at the start of the com­petition. “We also want to deal with approaches that reach far, far into the future, are completely novel and go in a direction that we have not considered before,” says Vincent Mauroit, General Manager of Innovation & Business Development at Röchling Automotive. More appetite for risk, trying things out more quickly, learning quickly from mistakes too and then continuing – for Mauroit, these are part of the new corporate culture.

From Idea to Business Plan
Over the course of “Boost our Future,” the most promising ideas were converted into specific business plans in virtual investment rounds. The six best teams then pitched their ideas to the Röchling Automotive Management Board and, in doing so, asked for time, resources and “real” money that would enable them to develop and implement their ideas. In the end, four teams got the nod. The pitch was an exciting experience, says Claudio Fauni. “It was like a TV show. You wouldn’t believe how ­difficult it is to condense an idea that has been developed over weeks into a five-minute presentation. The stress faded only after the pitch and we realized how relevant our idea is for the company’s future developments.”

Erwin Doll, CEO of Röchling Automotive and Vice-chairman of the Röchling Group, is particularly enthusiastic about the widespread employee involvement. “The fact that even those who don’t have anything to do with technology in their day-to-day work were so committed to the competition shows the great passion with which we as a company tackle every challenge.” Martelli was also delighted by the close cross-departmental collaboration: “Colleagues from Purchasing or Logistics have an entirely different view on the topic than I do from Research and Development. This only makes for a better result in the end.”

The ideas competition created a protected environment, in which risk-free investigation, sharing and learning was possible. The participants appeared under fictional user names. Whether Superman or Donald Duck – the anonymous game atmosphere created a sense of fun and efficiency for everyone involved in developing customer-oriented ideas, true to the Röchling Automotive motto: “Enjoy Efficiency.”