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Why Felix Schoeller

The Felix Schoeller Group is:

  • a global company which perceives change as an opportunity.
  • a family-owned business where the  owners feel deeply committed to the company’s long-term success
  • a company that aims at long-term economic success and management of employees in a way that values them. This has been laid down in a mission statement.
  • a successful symbiosis of family-owned company (short decision-making pathways, actions that are consistent and intended to be sustainable in the long term, social partnership) and corporate structure (global market leader, internationality, modern management tools).

The Felix Schoeller Group offers:

  • attractive markets and products which provide technical / technological and business challenges and therefore generate a purpose and joy from work.
  • their customers the promise to supply the highest quality in all products and processes. This results in corresponding investments, processes, work equipment and working conditions.
  • naturally the use of wage agreements and an intensive social partnership with the IGBCE union and the works councils.
  • in many areas, salaries above the level of the wage agreement.
  • variable profit-sharing for all employees.
  • a sustainable demographic concept with the following components

    • workplace health management
    • support of part-time work
    • company-subsidised pension plan
    • additional semi-retirement
    • flexible working hours models.

  • a policy of regular and open communication and information provision.
  • a uniform management concept, recorded in management principles.
  • modern human resources tools, e.g. structured staff appraisals.
  • career opportunities that are supported by means of an intensive staff development programme. For this purpose there are programmes tailored to groups of employees:

    • basic programme for “new” employees
    • project manager training
    • young executives’ programme
    • foreman training in collaboration with the paper centre at Gernsbach

  • a promise to take on apprentices if their performance is sufficiently good.
  • high level of employee loyalty resulting in a very low staff turnover.
  • employment opportunities at 5 sites in Germany and 2 sites in North America.
  • certified quality and environmental management systems.
  • an established system of ideas and innovation management.

    Benedikt Weinast: "The training is attractive"

    BENEDIKT WEINAST

    Has worked since 2009 in the Felix Schoeller Group Customer Service Center

    Summary:

    “In 2009 I started my training as an industrial sales representative with Felix Schoeller. The training programme was very well structured, because I was given an insight into lots of areas of the company e. g. Financial accounting, Purchasing and Sales. After my training, I was taken on by the Customer Service Center and in parallel to my work I do a degree in business economics at the Verwaltungs- und Wirtschaftsakademie (VWA), which is also financially supported by Schoeller.”

    What do you do at Felix Schoeller? What are you involved in? Why do you like it at Felix Schoeller?

    “I work in Digital Media sales and am employed in the Customer Service Center. I am responsible for supporting a major client in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Denmark in our Private Label business. Part of my job consists of order processing, communicating with agents, monitoring customers’ payment performance and forecasting. For this, both internal coordination with our mill in Weissenborn and contact with our customers and/or agents are needed. I also work in a great team here, which means that I enjoy my everyday work.”

    What do you particularly like at Felix Schoeller?

    “The pleasant working atmosphere, which is the result in particular of nice colleagues and very good teamwork, is something I particularly like. I also enjoy the contact on a daily basis with people from numerous countries.”

    What is the information flow like in the company?

    “In our department, important in-house information is passed every week from my line manager to all colleagues as part of a team meeting. In this respect we are always well informed about the current situation. In some matters I am able to speak directly to my line manager. In addition, there are company discussions which take place several times a year. The information provided there by the management is passed via the line managers to all employees. Here too, the feedback of the employees is desirable and fed back to the management.”

    Felix Schoeller is a family-owned company. How do you notice this in your daily work?

    “I think that features of a family-owned company are long-term, strategic planning and tradition. In addition, the important decisions are made by people whom every employee knows, which means that there is no too much anonymity. These features are, in my opinion, also present at the Felix Schoeller Group.”

    Kai Middeldorf: "I can grow professionally"

    KAI MIDDELDORF

    Senior Vice President Competence Center Engineering, employed by the Felix Schoeller Group since the mid-90s.

    Summary:

    “After my Abitur [A-levels] I wanted to start a practically orientated study course – the integrated study programme at Felix Schoeller was exactly the right decision. Even in the second year of training there was the opportunity to take responsibility in smaller projects where the content of the engineering course could be combined in an ideal way with the content of the apprenticeship to become an industrial mechanic. Practical relevance also featured highly later when it came to continuing education and staff development. As part of my MBA I was able to work on interesting commercial topics. In addition, well-coordinated internal continuing education measures have greatly supported my professional development.”

    How did you come to be at Felix Schoeller?

    “Should I study straight away or do an apprenticeship first? Not an easy decision and I was glad when, at a careers information event, I found out about the integrated technical study programme that was being offered by Schoeller and a few other companies in the mid- 90s in the Osnabrück area. I was immediately persuaded by the idea of the integrated study programme at Schoeller and looking back this was precisely the right decision.”

    What particularly attracted you about it?

    “What I found particularly attractive was the idea of combining theory and practice: I wanted to study, but not just to become a theorist. Of course, being paid for an apprenticeship was also an important factor in respect of having greater financial independence. Out of all the possible companies Schoeller convinced me the most: the industry, its international outlook and presence, its high profile, the very good reputation. I also liked the size, the cleanliness and the modern nature of the mill.

    My expectations of the training programme were not disappointed; my goal of practical relevance was more than fulfilled. Even during the foundation course, there was the opportunity of taking on responsibility in smaller projects. The complexity of the projects, tasks and challenges increased step by step. Other good opportunities for development were offered by working at different mills, including abroad. Getting to know other mills was not only exciting, varied and horizon-broadening, it was also immensely beneficial for networking. Knowing people you can speak to in other mills often makes your own work considerably easier.”

    What did you do after your training?

    “After my degree dissertation, I stayed a few months in the Engineering Competence Center. As the coating plant in Weißenborn was developed further and started to grow significantly at the end of 2001, I started as a technologist on Coater 5 and, using the knowledge I gained during my degree dissertation, chiefly concerned myself with drying processes. Through the rapid growth of the coating plant I did not remain working with drying processes, and I soon had the opportunity to tackle other topics and take responsibility. The time spent on Coater 5 clearly showed me that Schoeller allows space for dedication and initiative and rewards this with trust and by giving additional responsibility.”

    What do you like about the Schoeller company?

    “Above all the size of the company: on the one hand, Schoeller offers the benefits of small businesses such as flat hierarchies and short decision pathways. On the other, Schoeller is not too small and combines the advantages of larger companies. In my view, Schoeller is a modern industrial company that uses top technologies, modern management methods and means of communication and offers good social benefits. The size of the company also allows targeted staff development which, with many small companies, often fails because then the daily business threatens to collapse.

    At Schoeller, young people get the chance to prove themselves and will develop accordingly. My MBA study course was benefited not least by the fact that I had the opportunity to look at commercial issues which went beyond my actual remit and was a long way, as is often stated, ‘out of the box’. My development in the company was also supported by well-coordinated, high-quality internal professional development measures such as the basic programme, project manager training, executives’ programme and ultimately the Management Development Center.”

    What does family-owned company mean for you at Felix Schoeller?

    “At Schoeller, a family-owned company means for me chiefly: showing one another respect. Decisions by the management are made with a high degree of transparency and are comprehensible. They are not based on short-term data alone but aim at sustainability. There are very good company benefits. The employees are motivated, devoted to the company and proud of their work.”

    Margit Beckmann: "Compatibility of family and career"

    MARGIT BECKMANN

    Financial accountant, employed by the Felix Schoeller Group since 1996.

    Summary:

    “At the Felix Schoeller Group the compatibility of family and career is an important issue which the management take very seriously. And this is also very important for me. I have the good feeling of being able to contribute something to the success of the company and at the same time to be there for my family. Therefore I am not just a mother or just an employee, I can do both at the same time. The nice thing is that Schoeller does not just say that it is a family-owned company but it really is one. My little boy knows that too and always says really proudly: the tower, that’s where Mummy works.”

    How did you come to be at Felix Schoeller?

    “I followed the classical route really. After training to become an accountant I saw a job advert for Schoeller and applied straight away. I then worked full time as a financial accountant. After the birth of my son, I took half a year break, after which I was able to start back working 20 hours a week. For Felix Schoeller that was no problem, and I was able to divide up the work just as I wished across the week. I therefore decided to do two days of full-time work. And it’s never been a problem if my child fell ill; I was always able to look after my son.”

    Who helped you in your work?

    “I did a job-share of a full-time post with a colleague who also has a child. I worked two days per week and she did three. We were completely flexible and were able to arrange things between us. Schoeller manages this in a really ideal way. Thanks also to the good teamwork and because I’m so happy with the way Schoeller manages things, we were able to extend our family in 2006 with a second child.

    What do you associate with Schoeller as a family-owned company?

    “Schoeller helps us employees to reconcile family and career. Even as a part-timer I always have the good feeling of being needed and appreciated. We part-timers are integrated among the staff which means I can work together effectively with other colleagues. It has worked very well with everyone I know. The compatibility of career and family is not just a saying at Schoeller, the whole company embodies it.”

    Detlev Brinkmann: "Interesting roles"

    DETLEV BRINKMANN

    Manager of Electrical Engineering, employed by the Felix Schoeller Group for 15 years.

    Heading/Summary:

    “The good thing as a project manager at Felix Schoeller is that I quickly got my own responsibility for budgets. Added to this is the fact that the project work is a kind of springboard. Projects are like a training camp or an education centre. The diversity of processes and facilities here is also striking, a paper machine here, an extruder there, a power plant or a coating machine, a purification plant or a high bay warehouse, materials handling technology or even a coating plant with batch processes, RFID and lots more. I don’t think many people imagine such a range when they hear the word “paper mill”! But that’s also what makes it interesting.”

    How do you work in projects at Felix Schoeller? How do projects run at Felix Schoeller?

    “I started with Felix Schoeller 15 years ago and began in an interdisciplinary project team. The first project was not too big, but that was good. I was able to finish a task quickly and get a sense of achievement quickly. I received close supervision and it was very much a case of teamwork. The level of independence grew from project to project: the projects became longer, the level of individual responsibility grew and freedom opened up like a bud coming into flower. Gradually I was in charge of more and more project employees and the tasks became more and more diverse. The budget I was responsible for also got bigger and bigger, with my budget in the last project I partly managed being €10 million.

    The overall project management, in other words beyond your own specialist area, can also be taken on in projects.”

    What difficulties and problems have arisen for you in projects?

    “Naturally, in big projects, the parties involved have very different interests. Everyone wants to achieve the best for his or her area of responsibility.

    One difficulty is managing, in technical matters, employees who are not below you in the hierarchy. Communication is very important here, you sit down at a table, and everything works well. The nice thing is that everyone wants to work together to produce something and are pursuing the same goal.”

    How are working hours dealt with at Schoeller?

    “There is actually always a lot to do. But we have a lot of flexibility when it comes to working hours. It doesn’t matter if from time to time you have to go out for three hours. It is simply important that you get the job done.”

    And another thing …

    “The good thing with projects at Felix Schoeller is that I quickly got my own budget responsibility. Furthermore, the project work is a kind of springboard. You have the chance, if necessary, to take over demanding tasks at the sites e.g. managing a maintenance group or production management. Projects are like a training camp or education centre. The incredibly good links between project members and the good communication and team work result in good chances of career progression. Felix Schoeller wishes, and allows, you to develop yourself further. Project managers often act as a link between the mills and develop concepts extending beyond the individual mills, by developing, within projects, industrial standards that then apply to the whole group. And if all of this is accepted by everyone, it’s a good feeling. The diversity of processes and facilities is also striking, a paper machine here, an extruder there, a power plant or a coating machine, a purification plant or a high bay warehouse, materials handling technology or even a coating plant with batch processes, where the mixes are put together on the basis of formulas, reel slitters, RFID and lots more. I don’t think many people imagine such a range when they hear the word "paper mill"! But that’s also what makes it interesting.

    Above all the positive thing that should also be mentioned is that there are very flat decision-making structures. There can easily be a direct interview with the CEO and therefore a decision be made quickly.”

    What is working with the suppliers like?

    “The work is carried out in cooperation with our technical purchasing department. Together, negotiation strategies are developed, with the responsibility lying with the project team.

    It is also desired that there is scope for innovation. Everyone should think creatively, think laterally and develop new approaches. The nature of a specialty paper manufacturer makes the ability to innovate a necessity. Some things that we need are simply not available on the market and then you need to be creative and come up with something. That special thing reflected in our products is something you can also see in our work.”

    Harry Freyer: "Appreciation of employees"

    HARRY FREYER

    an employee who has worked for at Felix Schoeller for 25 years on PM 1.

    Summary:

    “Technical optimisation, Lean Management, financial support of sports activities and the reduction of the number of night shifts worked in one go significantly are significantly lessening the stress of shift work, including for older employees.”

    How long have you already been at Felix Schoeller and what are your duties?

    “I’ve been working for Schoeller for 25 years. I work as a relief person on the grinding facility of PM 1, that means I am used at all workstations in my area. We work in a continuous shift system; that means 24 hours, 350 days per year, naturally including weekend work.”

    Is the shift work demanding?

    “At the beginning I didn’t mind it at all, but over time it’s got increasingly difficult. It’s good, therefore, that Schoeller has adjusted the shift systems. By reducing the number of night shifts worked in one go, the stress is considerably reduced, which means that even after the night shift, the normal rhythm can continue as normal. So this new system is really good for your biorhythm.”

    What is the work like in your group / team?

    “We have a particularly good team spirit in our ‘troop’. You can also see this in the fact that we do something together in our free time e.g. playing squash at “Bahamas”, a sports centre here in Osnabrück. The good thing is that the company pays some of the membership fee and that as a result, many people have acquired a taste for doing sport. That’s a good thing because the training means I am in better physical shape.”

    What was the age structure in the old days and has work changed for you?

    “In the old days, 25 years ago, I was one of the youngest, but we have all grown older together. It used to be a bit easier, now we have spats sometimes.”

    What would make your work easier and/or what is Schoeller doing to achieve this?

    “Technical optimisation definitely contributes to making the work easier – of course one could always still do more here. And of course the Lean Management project: it is a relief when unnecessary work can be avoided and workflows are improved to make things less demanding. In addition, part-time work makes things easier as through this you can more confidently plan your free time in advance, because fewer ‘make-up shifts’ have to be worked.”

    How did you go about Lean Management?

    “We all sat down together at a table and worked together productively. We all listed our tasks precisely and then thought about what would need to happen to make the work easier. We then wrote down the results together, and everybody was happy. It went surprisingly well. The work became easier as a result and above all also less stressful. What is important about it is that we “normal” employees are involved from the beginning because of course we know the most about our jobs.”

    Why is doing shift work for Schoeller attractive for you?

    “Naturally there are some advantages to shift work. I am able to run errands to official authorities or go to the doctor’s in the morning, and having days free allows you to make a short trip somewhere now and then. In general, it is simply a good thing that sport is being supported and that as a result people are staying fit and healthy, and that the shift system has also been adapted so that one’s body clock can adapt to it well.”