Bohdan Wojnar, ŠKODA AUTO Board Member for Human Resources, emphasised, “ŠKODA AUTO has been characterised by ingenuity and innovation since its early stages. Our staff who submit concrete suggestions for improvement as part of the programme are the epitome of this spirit. By putting forward their ideas, they contribute to making processes more efficient or production more sustainable, to saving resources, reducing costs or further increasing workplace safety. I would like to express my sincere thanks for this.”
Pavel Hlaváč, Head of HR Planning, added, “Idea management is embedded in the three Czech ŠKODA AUTO plants in Mladá Boleslav, Kvasiny and Vrchlabí as a systematic process. Staff are at the core of this improvement process. They help to make ŠKODA AUTO even better, quicker, safer and more efficient in all areas of the company.”
In 2018, a total of 8,462 employees put forward almost 30,000 ideas; ŠKODA AUTO has already implemented more than 60 per cent of these. The savings achieved as a result totalled 209.6 million Czech korunas (around 8.14 million euros). The company provided cash rewards amounting to 26.5 million Czech korunas (around 1.03 million euros) for this. One staff member made a suggestion that was able to save over 18 million Czech korunas once implemented; they were awarded a bonus of 600,000 Czech korunas for their idea. In addition to financial rewards, ŠKODA gives all participants the chance to win a car during a draw held four times per year. What’s more, they can win the opportunity to attend exclusive events such as the Ice Hockey World Championship.
Archived records show that ŠKODA AUTO staff have been submitting suggestions for improvement since 1918, though the car manufacturer did not introduce systematic idea management until 1993. Concrete suggestions from employees illustrate ways to cut costs across the entire company or to increase workplace safety and energy efficiency.
Today, idea management at ŠKODA AUTO bears the name ZEBRA – which stands for ‘Zest’, ‘Expertise’, ‘Brilliance’, ‘Reason’ and ‘Activity’. With the ZEBRA programme, ŠKODA AUTO encourages its employees to put forward suggestions for improvement and coordinates the evaluation and implementation of the ideas and rewards for the staff. Since ZEBRA was launched in 2010, the number of proposals made has risen from 11,620 to a new record of 29,971 in 2018. The most common suggestions illustrated ways to save on materials and optimise production processes. These were followed by ideas to optimise other processes, improve health and safety in the workplace as well as working conditions, and to protect the environment.