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Jürgen Dick

Managing Director Hauni Primary

"Innovation has many faces"

Innovation is a crucial factor in ensuring the success of the Business Area Tobacco. In this interview, Jürgen Dick, Managing Director Hauni Primary (Schwarzenbek) highlights the key trends and explains how the Business Area's strategy is based on sustainability.

What are the most important innovation trends in the Business Area right now?

Our customers are broadening their product base. They are diversifying their ranges and developing innovative new products, such as "heat not burn" (HNB) technology. As the name suggests, this heats tobacco but does not burn it. Naturally, they are also continuing to develop e-cigarettes which have already achieved widespread popularity. Fortunately, the Business Area has creative and highly motivated employees who are dedicated to developing the solutions our customers need. We are working on these innovations in the area of low-risk smoking products intensively and very closely with our customers. The results have been very successful.

How do you involve employees in this process?

Innovation has many faces in our company. We encourage employees to contribute their ideas, organize workshops on topics affecting our customers and work on new technologies in strategically oriented development teams. In addition, the TIME training programme is currently underway at all Körber locations.

What does the name "TIME" stand for and what are its aims?

TIME is short for the Technology Innovation Management Excellence programme. TIME is not a guideline. Instead, it highlights key technology and innovation management ¬processes and methods which are used in many successful companies both large and small. Our goal is to achieve a high level of application and sophistication in these areas in our companies. The programme aims to teach employees how our innovation processes work and the methods upon which they are based. It actively involves our employees in focusing and designing the programme. For example, after completing the training programme they can join a discussion with a unit manager and contribute their own suggestions or raise criticisms. The opportunity to speak openly and exchange ideas is enormously important in identifying and eliminating weaknesses in the innovation management process.

Which sustainability criteria are considered in innovation management?

Energy consumption, durability, lifecycle costs and noise emissions of machines and equipment are certainly important factors. We also take sustainability criteria into account when designing manufacturing processes. We always try to make our processes as simple as possible and reduce pollutant emissions. In many cases, we replace painted parts with stainless steel components to reduce solvent emissions. And where this is not possible we use paints with extremely low solvent levels. Welding also creates emissions. To reduce these, or sometimes even to avoid them completely, we use metal components which are designed to be joined without welding. This not only cuts the number of work operations but usually results in a lighter design which saves energy and raw materials.

How closely do the locations and companies in the Business Area work together on innovations?

Everything is possible and we do everything we can. Depending on the topic, the development teams can be local or international. We also work closely with external service providers and universities. Moreover, we have very close relationships with our customers to ensure we find the optimum solution for a new product from the outset. The permanent research and development teams at our major locations are at the heart of all our work.

How do you include customers in your innovation processes?

Some of our developments are actually driven by our customers. Here we work as an expert partner on the customer's own development project. In many cases the customer is also part of our development team. But our innovations do not just focus on creating solutions for our customers' current needs. A not insignificant part of our development work seeks to identify market trends and thus anticipate future customer requirements. To do this, we communicate closely with customers at regular intervals.

Contact

As Sustainability Manager for the Business Area Tobacco, Dirk Kronenberg is your contact for any questions and comments regarding sustainability (tel. +49 40 72 50-29 22), e-mail

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