Despite the Germans' initial hesitation, the Slovenian tool-making delegation was warmly welcomed by their German colleagues, who were ready to share their experiences, examples of good practices and the challenges they face in their industry.
As is the case in the Slovenian tool-making industry, the greatest challenge for our German colleagues is the desperate lack of suitable personnel. In the area around Stuttgart, where unemployment is virtually non-existent, the most skilled labour force is employed by car companies, such as Mercedes. Therefore, toolmakers must look further afield for their personnel, who are then further trained in their internal training program. The director of a successful laser surface treatment company illustrated this point in his company where 90 employees come from as many as 16 countries.
When visiting the toolshops, we were surprised by the high level of production automation, complete project management systems and the individual phases of tool making as well as the use of robots to automatically feed tools and electrodes into manufacturing.
We will have another opportunity to exchange concrete experiences in October 2018, when German toolmakers plan to visit as many Slovenian toolshops as possible on their 3-day visit.