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14.01.2023

Employee App

3 min read

Kira Kebekus from EUROPART gives both thumbs up. Next to it is the title of the expert talk.

Innovation is not just a matter for management: how EUROPART generates Ideas

The entire workforce as a driver of innovation? This is EUROPART's experience. We asked how our employee app drives innovation management.

For the second time in a row, EUROPART is voted one of the TOP 100 most innovative medium-sized companies in Germany. One success factor: Flip - and hundreds of ideas submitted by employees via the employee app. Our interviewee is Executive Assistant Kira Kebekus. She provides insights into innovation management at the leading partner for commercial vehicle workshops and operators of truck and bus fleets in Europe.

Kira Kebekus, Executive Assistant, Europart

"We would probably never have come up with 50 to 60% of the ideas ourselves. We rely on those who work on the process or system concerned on a daily basis."

Kira Kebekus

Head of Innovation

EUROPART uses the employee app for submitting suggestions for improvement. How exactly have you established this?

The app is our platform for innovation management. The ideas already existed before, but now we have a structured process and a system to manage everything. The menu under "Ideas and Innovations" has a separate tile where employees can submit their ideas with videos, pictures, and documentation. The idea is then processed further by the ideas and innovation team. 

So, with our employee app, we have created a short and simple process to receive ideas and suggestions for improvement. Organizationally, we have set up a central office that evaluates the ideas together with experts and implements them in the best way possible. In the future, we will go one step further and build a team dealing with related topics such as digitalization, innovation, and sustainability. 

Ideas and improvement requests cannot be submitted anonymously via the employee app – why is that?

We thought about it but ultimately decided against anonymous suggestions. On the one hand, because critical questioning is part of what we do. On the other hand, so we can involve those who submit an idea in the implementation. In addition, we incentivize all employees whose suggestions are implemented.

Infographic Employee engagement and idea management at EUROPART via employee app

So there have always been suggestions for improvement - how were the ideas shared beforehand?

Most of the time, it was done in the day-to-day work via the manager or brought up in a working group. But since this happened in an unstructured way with no documentation, a lot of ideas fizzled out.

Where do the suggestions mainly come from?

Mainly from the sales department and the branch offices, because the colleagues there work with the product and experience the pain points in the processes themselves - accordingly, they also benefit from the improvements. Of course, we also push the commitment with incentives, for example, with vouchers, but ultimately there is a great deal of personal initiative to improve something.

What ideas are submitted?

Among other things are suggestions for system improvements, such as additional programming - but also, ideas for the employee app itself. Most are process-related ideas to improve employees' workplace and everyday working life.

How employees submit their ideas

This information framework is the basis for any improvement suggestion at EUROPART:

  • Name 
  • Department 
  • Subject 
  • What is the current situation? 
  • What is negative about the current situation? 
  • What is your suggestion to optimize the situation? 
  • Effect: Process optimization / Cost savings / Increase in turnover / Employee satisfaction / Other 
  • Upload file 

How do the suggestions contribute to the business?

It goes in many directions. We allow the employee to select the area already when submitting in the app. Mostly it's about saving time, effort, or costs. But the suggestions also pay off in terms of employee satisfaction and sustainability. 

One thing is vital: even if a colleague submits an idea that may look small because we "only" save two minutes in a process step, you must multiply these two minutes by at least 160 branches. Or even by the almost 1,000 people in the sales staff. The small idea can create a huge improvement for the entire EUROPART Group. 

Do you have a concrete example of a submitted idea from an employee?

A colleague suggested that we create individual offer sheets for our customers with product images and technical details. Our eCommerce and Data Development team implemented the idea within a few months. Now our salespeople can create an individual offer with just five clicks and are well equipped for customer visits. A really great suggestion for improvement!

Kira Kebekus, Executive Assistant, Europart

"The important thing is: don't reduce the value of the app to thumbs up, but to what happens in people's minds. We have received feedback that it is very well received in the area."

How does the employee app affect the quality of suggestions?

The biggest difference from before is that suggestions reach us centrally and in a structured way. By giving employees a framework to describe the current situation, they immediately go into more detail. This has improved the quality of the suggestions.

Do you get feedback from colleagues whose ideas have been implemented?

Yes, definitely. The suggestions for improvement are now approached in a structured way, and we communicate via our app who had the idea for implemented improvements. This is very well received. In addition, there are colleagues who keep submitting suggestions. We can see from this that the system works.

Expert Talk: internal communication meets YouTube

How does EUROPART use the employee app to bring employees up to speed with suppliers and customers through social media formats? Head of Marketing Daniel Zinn has the answers.

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