The journey from her home to her workplace takes just a few minutes. And, when she talks about her work, Jutta Staubus sounds like she’s telling stories from her living room. “I’ve been with Viessmann in Allendorf for 40 years,” says the 56-year-old. “I’ve always felt comfortable here.” At 16, she began her apprenticeship as a Power Systems Electronics Technician; she was the first woman to do such training at that time. “I enjoyed tinkering with radios as a young girl. So, I wanted to do something with electronics after school.”
Everyone thought I could do it, except me.
After the apprenticeship I worked in production, built adapters and test systems, and repaired circuit boards. In the early nineties, when her three children were born, she reduced her working hours to half-days for 15 years. Since then, she has worked full-time again. In spring 2018, it almost felt like a test of courage when she discovered the internal job advertisement for a Line Manager. “I asked myself: aren’t I too old for this?” Could she handle being in charge of nearly two dozen people assembling circuit boards and casings? “Everyone thought I could do it, except me,” she remembers, giggling.
Family-friendly working conditions
She applied anyway and got the job. For two years now, as Line Manager, she has been organizing her 21 employees in two shifts and producing control systems for heat pumps and oil and gas boilers. “Apart from the male Process Supervisor, they are all women.” Why? “Probably because women have better dexterity.” Plus, the working conditions are family-friendly: many work a half-day of four hours, “that makes things easier for women with children.”
One to three women sit in six U-shaped production cells and add around 35 components that can be better installed by hand to automatically preassembled circuit boards. “In the past, these were all components I could put on the circuit board by hand,” says Jutta. “Today, the components are getting smaller and smaller and run through automatic machines. This SMD is beyond repair.” SMD stands for surface-mounted device, which is soldered directly onto the circuit board.
Productivity from feel-good factor
The piece rate once typical no longer exists. “Each line has a target agreement and must achieve this at the end of four months.” This creates leeway for the workload and prevents the production routine from becoming too dull. Experienced team members and newcomers will average out over a longer period of time, and not everyone will be on the same form all the time.
I appreciate the reliability of Viessmann most of all.
But as much as Jutta Staubus is at home in electronics – “at 56 I have difficulties with digitalization, and I’m glad the young people are there.” She has also been a member of the works council for ten years, is the contact person for her colleagues, and knows how much the feel-good factor plays a part in productivity. “I’m always proud to work here,” she says. In the community of 5 600 people in Allendorf (Eder) in northern Hesse, it means a lot to belong to Viessmann.
Extra bonus for new ideas
The fact that the master locksmith Johann Viessmann, who started out in Hof in Bavaria by building and repairing agricultural and production machinery, moved to Hesse in 1937, and developed a global corporation for heat generators there in the decades to follow, has given the entire region in the upper Eder Valley a huge sense of self-respect. “I appreciate the reliability of Viessmann most of all,” says Jutta. “We get our money on time, can go on vacation, and our jobs are safe.”
But also the certainty of working for a company that is socially active, that supports sick and disabled people, people who are in economic need, through three foundations, and that helps with other charitable causes. All this is part of the pride of working for Viessmann. “And we get an extra bonus for new ideas we propose.” The works council member explains to her colleagues how they can send suggestions for improvements in operational processes or other innovative ideas via the Vi2Go employee app, which is a direct line to company management. “Things like this are good for motivation, good for the sense of belonging, and help drive the company forward.”