How to become one of the best plants in the world

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What makes a good production location? For me, the answer is clear and I am happy to give it in my blog post.

André Hennig

André Hennig joined the CLASSEN Group in Baruth at the beginning of 2006. At that time, he was involved in the planning of the Fiberboard GmbH plant for the production of HDF boards as project manager for the electrical engineering department. Later, he worked there as Technical Manager and Plant Manager, among other positions, and has been one of the Managing Directors at Fiberboard since 2015.

We are often visited here at Fiberboard in Baruth by business partners or sales representatives for machines who have already seen a few wood industry plants in the world. They usually say that we are the most modern and cleanest HDF plant they know.

Of course I am happy about that, but I also know that the factory is worth nothing without its people. If everyone left today and new people came tomorrow who couldn't handle our technology, then the plant would be worth nothing. The fact that we've had so much success for years is proof that we have great people here who ambitiously put their backs into our work and develop the factory further.

In the first two years it was really hard work. We were here in the factory every day, every weekend, to make our Fiberboard project successful, to optimise, to bring out the best. It is even the case that during this time at work people have found each other, become partners, in some cases got married, had children and built houses.

I can also say that I not only met colleagues here, but also made friends for life. We visit each other at home and have barbecues together. Even when I retire one day, I will certainly stay in touch with many of them. In the meantime, I am almost the oldest in a relatively young team here. But we are all like one big family and I know of many friendships that have developed beyond the professional.

What I would like to emphasise in particular is the excellent cooperation with the Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. They have supported us for many years, and we have developed and implemented many ideas together. Many working students have come to us from there, some have written their master's thesis with us and are important employees of ours today. We have trained and developed many young people with us. I myself nagged at least 10 people until they said: All right, now I'll start the master school or the technical school. Then they successfully completed it. It's a great story how many of them are in charge here today as heads of department or deputies.

How much CLASSEN invests in the latest technologies here at our company shows our employees how important their workplace is and gives them a special sense of belonging. We are always pushing each other. If one of us has a good idea, we turn it into a project and if it pays off, we get the money for the necessary investments. That's what's special about CLASSEN, that decisions are made and implemented quickly.

Picture: Energy Plant Fiberboard GmbH

What I am personally particularly proud of is that we have become one of the cleanest factories in the HDF industry. We are now a role model in the industry when it comes to environmental technology. Even that would not be possible without our employees supporting and living it. If a litre of oil leaks somewhere here, perhaps because a truck hose has ruptured, it is immediately reported proactively to the environmental authority and the water protection authority. We sweep nothing under the carpet and are open and honest. Our employees know exactly what to do in such a case and they immediately fetch binding agents and dispose of everything properly, and the incident is reported to me immediately. In environmental protection and occupational safety, suggestions for improvement are always coming from the employees themselves. That, by the way, is also a credit to my predecessor in office, from whom we all learned a lot.

So how do you become one of the best factories? By having the people who want to make it so with all their strength and who get stuck in. By being part of a company that has the philosophy of being at the forefront of technology and the environment. I hope that we at Fiberboard will continue to work as successfully as we are doing now for a long, long time and that the CLASSEN success story will continue.

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