As Operations Manager in Germany and Switzerland, Daniel Grimm is responsible for over 100 employees and the production of more than a million components per year. We sat down with Daniel to learn more about his eventful career at OPHARDT.
Despite his tight schedule, Daniel was a steady and calm interviewee. These are character traits that benefit Daniel Grimm in his day-to-day work. As the plant manager of our German and Swiss sites, he is in demand navigating OPHARDT’s important production decisions. A quick look over his CV reveals a man who has experience in the many departments and areas that he now helps coordinate.
It started with a part-time job
Grimm’s first steps at OPHARDT go back quite a while. In November of 2000, the native of Issum applied for a part-time, after-school job to make some discretionary money. “On a Friday afternoon back then, I received a call asking if I could stop by quickly for an interview,” Grimm recalls. After that, everything happened very quickly and Daniel’s OPHARDT career took off. After graduating from high school, he completed an apprenticeship as an industrial clerk at OPHARDT, which focused on sales, accounting, and purchasing. Looking back, the current plant manager describes the training as “very beneficial” for the work he now does.
Training pays off
After successfully completing his training, Grimm worked in the purchasing department, where he took eventually became a manager. Before the promotion, he had gotten additional training Chamber of Industry and Commerce, which he says “helped him a lot in his new role.”
The following years were characterized large digitalization projects at OPHARDT. Grimm help the digitization of our logistics infrastructure, which brought him to other OPHARDT locations in Ireland and Canada for multiple weeks. Through these travels, Grimm became better acquainted with the conditions and processes there. He also helped established strong ties between the German and Belgian plant. Looking back, he notes, the stays abroad were “important experiences.” He also learned how crucial it is to involve all the relevant people early on in order for projects to succeed.
In mid-2018, Grimm took on the role of Operations Manager at Issum facility. At the time, the DIMECO plant had just been commissioned there, marking an important milestone in OPHARDT’s recent history and further strengthening its MADE IN GERMANY status. Plant management includes not only overseeing production, but also coordinating maintenance, purchasing, and logistics. Over a period of more than a year and a half, Grimm was optimizing processes and procedures around manufacturing.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. “Corona turned everything upside down and put the structures we had just established to the test,” says Grimm. In retrospect, however, Grimm is certain that “the pandemic moved OPHARDT forward several years.” Indeed, during the pandemic, the company quickly made large investments in new personnel, new manufacturing machinery, and other equipment, resulting in a 300-500% increase in production capacity.
Between Issum and Niederbipp
Today, the family man commutes between Issum, Germany and Niederbipp, Switzerland. In 2022, Grimm also took over management of the Swiss plant. The two OPHARDT locations are separated by more than 600 km of highway, so he moves back and forth between these plants on a weekly basis. “That makes it all the more important to have employees you can rely on,” Grimm emphasizes. Today, the plants in Germany and Switzerland are more closely interlinked than ever. This is thanks to Grimm’s work and the large, shared project they have of fulfilling our largest single order ever from the German Armed Forces. Combined, the two sites produce over one million components annually for our popular OPHARDT hygiene dispensers.
Looking to the future, that number will increase as we bring a completely automated stud welding system on line. “The final building block in production for this year,” explains Grimm, “will be automated film removal.” This will make the manufacturing processes even faster and more efficient than before.