THE BIGGEST PROJECT – Mission Impossible
Dr. Wolf’s largest and most challenging project so far has been the co-design & start-up of one of the World´s most modern Textile Plants. But it was not only the magnitude of the technical project which demanded full dedication, physical fitness and a resilience equal to that of a trip to Mount Everest (where 40 – 50 % fail or leave their lives). It was the country and district where this plant had to be built and started up: Southern Russia – a territory with no skilled textile workers at all.
He had to form a corporate college where he trained a 200 plus workforce ahead of start-up. He personally selected and had hired 16 international textile engineers from all over the world and had them trained for the special processes and for this difficult Terrain in Southern Russia. He managed – despite delays and severe difficulties – to find the right timing so that training was not to far ahead from the real start up. In the end an almost impossible goal was reached: The start-up & Performance of an outstanding high- tech textile production within the shortest time possible. Despite “headwinds of 200 mph” – it was a unique international team who made the success possible. Wolf´s leadership – exercised as “primus inter pares” – was a strange if not “almost unacceptable” experience for local Russian management. This unique Hi-Tech production was built to equip the Russian Army with the state-of-the art clothing (consisting in special & functional layers for all climatic & physical conditions) with all technical features one can imagine. As the project was late due to the many construction delays – Wolf only had 4 weeks left to start up the entire plant and reach the required output. Only through over and over technical Scenario rehearsals in theory and practice this became possible. There was a strict deadline to fulfill delivery deadlines. Continuous & meticulous planning as well as steady rehearsing made all this possible. Wolf has led this start-up as the Head of Business Unit Textile. His medium-term plan for the Russian Company besides implementing a Lean Operation & further Digitalization was to reduce the Expat Engineer headcount within 3 – 4 years post start-up by 50 % and after further 1 – 2 years finally run a probably 100 – 200 % grown plant output with only 2 – 3 foreign experts left (24/7 3 – 4 shift Operation). By then the “best of the best” emerging out of the Russian workforce should have acquired “on-the-Job” the skills equal to a western textile-engineer.
A news article on this start-up as well as a short academic article can be found on the Wolf-International webpage with co-author Jelena Stankovic who thankfully was a “brave” and resilient manager through the many storms of this assignment. The academic article is all about the corporate-cultural clash between Western- and Eastern business and management mentalities which makes the execution of any technical project overly difficult. Also on YOUTUBE a video clip about this unique & world-class project can be found under the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7lflEEkpC4