RÖCHLING GROUP
Our Employees in the Medical Division 

MAKING LIFE EASIER FOR THE CUSTOMER

FRED WILL,
Head of Project Management
Röchling Medical

The customer is headquartered in Belgium, the suppliers are based in Italy and Germany, the sales employee responsible at Röchling lives near Paris, production takes place in the Odenwald region – despite the distances involved, everything still runs like clockwork in a project like this at Röchling Medical. Project Manager Fred Will and his team are responsible for creating the right type of closeness.

The trained plastics technology engineer is in charge of project management at the German Röchling locations in Brensbach in Hesse and in Neuhaus in Thuringia. He is also responsible for several individual projects. The “robust project organization,” as the 52-year-old describes it, at Röchling Medical is fundamentally always the same. A main project manager holds all the different strands of the project, while several sub-project managers focus closely on individual topics such as quality, toolmaking, process technology, packaging or logistics. For Will, one thing is for sure: the key to success is the project organization.

Röchling Handles the Coordination
Röchling Medical is present internationally at four locations – two in Germany, one in Rochester, USA, and one in Suzhou, China. Customers expect these locations to adhere to budgets, quality and deadlines. “That goes without saying. In addition, they want to reduce the need for coordination work to a minimum,” says Will. “Our most important task is very simple: we make life easier for the customer.”

In the pharmaceutical and medical sectors, it generally takes three to five years to progress from the initial sales contact to the start of production. At the start of a project, Röchling “books in” all the employees that will be involved. From this point on, they all have regulated access to a central storage location that is used to exchange and archive data. The project list provides an overview of all projects and is meticulously up­dated on a weekly basis. A type of traffic-light system indicates the escalation level for each project, while its progress is tracked as a percentage.

Various Departments Represented in the Team
A project team consists of up to 20 experts representing various different departments. The aim is to consider questions relating to topics such as manufacturing, quality and packaging in detail early on. The risk assessment, which plays a major role in the pharma and medical fields, is extremely important: risks to the patient must be excluded at all times, and the hygiene requirements are generally extremely strict.

Standard communication includes a fortnightly status meeting involving all sub-project managers and the project manager as well as a meeting between the project manager and the customer – also every two weeks. These are usually held in the form of conference calls. Participation is mandatory because everybody needs to be on the same page. Once a month, the project manager meets the customer on site to discuss selected topics. The steering committee usually meets twice a year. It includes decision-makers from the customer and suppliers as well as the management of Röchling Medical. The exchanges are challenging, and discussions are conducted at a high technical level.

When asked about the profile of his employees, Will does not hesitate for long: “We deal with major customers and highly competent suppliers and development partners. Our employees must be capable of communicating with each of these on an equal footing.” This requires suitable technical expertise, excellent English language skills, a confident manner and strong communication skills.

“We have a large number of young people who can do just that – communicate openly and quickly, and work systematically. The team has made enormous progress,” says Will, praising his team. At the same time, Röchling is building on the expertise of its experienced colleagues to ensure that it is not lost, he adds. Röchling employs a variety of measures such as in-house training courses, specialist seminars and language courses to ensure that employees are kept up to speed and continue to develop – essential prerequisites when it comes to staying on top of things.