Freek has been actively carrying out production research for the last 15 years. Their driving force has been the conviction that the production location Germany has two significant competitive advantages: an outstanding education system and an equally outstanding research environment. Freek has made best use of both these advantages and created a top team with its scientific partners.
The distinguishing features of this team are its high levels of cooperation and communication competency, the ability to work independently and take responsibility, and an intrinsic drive for innovation. The team enables us to cooperate successfully and lastingly both internally, as well as across cultural and state borders, and to subject our organisation and production to a process of dynamic change and continuing development.
See here what scientists are saying about Freek.
Because of is its success in the research field Freek is often asked to join panels of judges and think tanks. Thus, Freek was recently involved in the configuration of Production Research 2020, the future Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) framework programme.
Watch the intro to the new framework programme (including statement by Freek) here soon.
At the (PTKA) Karlsruhe Talks in March 2010 Freek was one of two examples of Best Practice used to illustrate the theme Corporate development – the future challenges of organisation and HR management.
On 23. February 2011 the fourth report of the expert committee Research and Innovation (www.e-fi.de) has been handed over to the German Federal Government. Freek is one of two company examples which show that it makes sense to include small and medium-sized companies into innovation- and sponsor related policy considerations as well. For even without doing fundamental, applied or experimental research, these companies achieve considerable innovation success and thus hold economically important productivity potentials.
The collaborative research project Low2High in which Freek participated from 2008 to 2011 can be seen in this context. The objective here was to close the gap between general research on innovation cooperation activity and the low-tech/high-tech debate and to put the outcomes to fruitful use both in practical terms for the company and from an innovation policy perspective. Within this research, Freek's specific project focused on the customer interface with high-tech producers, with a view to joining up with them to achieve concrete product innovations.
This form of cooperation by a company that is by definition not research-intensive with high-tech partners is in line with the ‘high-tech strategy’ of the German federal government, since high-tech businesses require a functioning network of cooperation and supplier partnerships, including low-tech enterprises, in order to viably produce and market their high-tech products. In turn the high demands placed on such products and the high-tech customers' continual striving for innovation pose a challenge to their low-tech partners that serves to improve their technological and organisational connectivity, and not least the level of innovation of their products.
With StraKosphere, from 2014 to 2017 Freek again participated in the scientific and policy-making discourse on the role of non research-intensive companies in Germany as a high-tech location. After all, however plausible the high-tech strategy of the German government and for all the euphoria of Industry 4.0 may be, the 75% of non-research intensive small and medium-sized enterprises, which provide 50% of jobs in industry, must not be neglected (source: Fraunhofer ISI). These also have a distinct purpose in high-tech Germany: they are integrated in many ways with the high-tech companies, either as suppliers and innovation partners or as users of technical innovations. They offer ‘unskilled’ manual work and quick-to-learn skills and are thus an important employer for the number, sadly still too high, of unskilled or difficult-to-integrate employees on the labour market. The many immigrants should also not be forgotten, most of whom do not have qualifications or vocational training recognised in Germany and who are therefore also reliant on the availability of unskilled jobs.
Within the programme of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), ‘Work - learn - develop competence: capacity for innovation in a modern world of work’, with StraKosphere Freek made a specific contribution to the funding priority area ‘Operational competence management during demographic change’.
It is now more important than ever to recognise the challenges that are arising from the interactions between demographic change and the modern world of work, to research them and to shape them. In doing this, the identification, development and use of skills within the company gain in importance. This includes new models of work organisation, new concepts in personnel policy orientated to life circumstances, and also new strategies for company-specific competence management. As a result, a focused development of competence and performance among the workforce, from the start of their careers through to their retirement should be ensured (see programme funding priority 2.3).
On the second Basic Education Day (Grundbildungstag) for North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) on 14/11/2016, Wolfgang Kaiser gave a presentation to the social partners in NRW and representatives of the state government, including Sylvia Löhrmann (at that time the minister for schools and education and deputy prime minister of the federal state of NRW) and Rainer Schmeltzer (at that time the minister for work, integration and social affairs of the federal state of NRW) on how Freek is developing basic and technical competence among the workforce through practical networking with the local adult education centre .
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