Interview with
Bernd Schaider

Continuous Improvement Manager
AGRANA Starch, Austria

"My task is taking the company a little further each day."

Please introduce yourself!

My name is Bernd Schaider and I have been with AGRANA as Continuous Improvement Manager in the Starch Division for 4 years. I make sure that our product, process and service quality, and therefore the overall company processes are constantly improving within our division. My tasks include the moderation of "Best Practice Workshops", where teams of experts work out solutions to problems or process optimizations. I’m also responsible for our suggestion system "InnovAS".

In which division and at which AGRANA site do you work?

I work in our Starch Division and usually travel between sites, including our starch production sites in Aschach, Gmünd, Pischelsdorf and our headquarters in Vienna. Sometimes I am on the road visiting our site in Romania. But in general, my place of work is in Pischelsdorf, Lower Austria.

What projects are you currently working on?

My biggest challenge is to sustainably implement the “Spirit of Lean Management” in our division, but that is more a change of mindset than a project. Currently, by the way, I’m part of a project team to develop our knowledge management strategy. Another major topic of my current work is to support our "occupational safety concept" in the plants.

Where do you head first when you get to work?

Usually, my calendar sends me to the first meeting room armed with espresso. When I’m in Pischelsdorf, I first go to my own office.

What do like most about your job? What do you appreciate about your team?

I have varied and exciting topics and tasks with the aim of taking the company a little further each day. I love the daily challenges and the opportunity to design and improve in various departments!

I don't just work in a single team and I like the prevailing positive and motivated environment in most of the departments and teams within AGRANA.

What tasks do you manage during a typical day?

I don’t really have any standard days; mostly, each day is different from the day before. But besides some projects, I'm busy coordinating and facilitating meetings and trainings, supporting my colleagues on issues outside their “comfort zone” and leading change.

How do you spend your lunch break?

To be honest, I’m not really one for having a “lunchbreak” at noon. It all depends on the daily schedule. Sometimes I just have breakfast, sometimes I eat at the office and on other days I go to a restaurant. If I’m at the sites in Gmünd or Vienna, I try to use the canteen – a quick and good way to get some food.

Are there any special traditions in your team or at your site?

Before COVID-19, I tried to have an “after-work meeting” with my colleagues at least once a month. I really hope that this can continue soon!

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