“It pays off to think outside the box,” said Margret Suckale, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE. “Not only do the company and our customers profit from the innovative power of our employees, but also the employees themselves. Every proposal that is put into practice leads to a bonus.” In 2013, BASF put more than 23,000 proposals for improvement into practice worldwide, saved around €50 million as a result, and rewarded the innovative spirit of those who proposed the ideas with bonuses totaling €4.7 million.
“These figures are an indication of how strongly the will to improve things and make processes and working procedures more efficient and more streamlined is anchored in our corporate culture,” said Dr. Lothar Franz, Director of Idea Management at BASF SE. “Last year our employees around the world submitted more than 42,000 ideas which are being evaluated and put into practice step by step.”
At Ludwigshafen, BASF’s largest site worldwide, employees saved approximately €31 million on the basis of around 7,000 implemented proposals for improvement and received a total of €2.9 million in bonuses, either as individuals or as teams. One example is the 80-member team at a plant that makes active ingredients for crop protection agents. The team submitted three ideas that build upon each other to save a total of €1.5 million.
Their plant produces two products, one in winter and the other in summer. Each time the plant switches over, it has to be cleaned for quality-related reasons. The conversion used to take around six weeks. Two years ago, the employees took a close look at all the processes across the different shifts: wastewater processing, heating and cooling processes, materials cycles as well as how the plant is operated. Their ideas for improvement were successively put into practice. Now the conversion takes only two weeks instead of six, and thus larger volumes of the two products can be made. For example, a lot of time was saved in checking the cleaned containers for product residue. Samples are now analyzed directly at the plant using its own equipment so the team no longer needs to wait for results from the main lab. A coordinator is in charge of making sure the overall conversion process runs smoothly. “He works across the shifts and is the contact for all employees and all disciplines involved in the process,” said Plant Manager Dr. Harald Bernard. “This enables the many different jobs to be better coordinated and carried out more efficiently.” The team received a bonus of €130,000 for its overall contribution.
BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF had sales of about €74 billion in 2013 and over 112,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at: www.basf.com.