Dräger produces one of the goods most in demand on the world market during the pandemic: respirators. Heads of government and heads of state even called in personally to order supplies. To at least come close to meeting demand, the “future factory” in Lübeck, which only opened in 2017, had to massively expand its production capacity fourfold in record time. Insight into an entrepreneurial task of the century for the family-owned company.
“The biggest enemy of quality is hectic,” says Stephan Schick (42), head of order processing for the Therapy division at Dräger. “When things get hectic, mistakes are bound to happen.” And they can’t happen anywhere less than in the construction of life-saving technology. That’s why people like Schick saw it as one of their crucial tasks to provide the production teams with an opposite climate in exceptional situations like the pandemic: “Our team has to stay physically and mentally healthy, so accordingly that’s exactly what we radiate as managers – to signal that we’re keeping an eye on the processes and making well-considered decisions.”
Despite the stresses and strains, this is made possible by the typical Hanseatic passion that has also made Dräger great. Naturally, the world events concerning the coronavirus were followed very closely in Lübeck; here, too, the images of overburdened clinics have burned themselves into the memory. Stephan Kruse, Head of the Therapy Division, tries to keep them away from himself as much as possible: “I can’t get involved in this emotionality, otherwise I won’t be able to make any quick decisions, as they have been urgently needed since the beginning of the pandemic.” The 50-year-old had to make quick decisions from day one of the crisis. The task was to get the three big “M’s” ready for a massive production expansion in the shortest possible time: People, machines and materials.
The company is one of the 12 World Technology Leaders
running for the international public vote 2021.