Clever idea, clever implementation: Audi implemented thousands of employee ideas in 2019

“Ideas aren’t low-hanging fruit anymore these days. Many things have already been improved, and a lot has been implemented. And yet: Our Audi employees are not running out of steam; they keep finding plenty of ways to advance our company. In light of the transformation of the automotive industry in particular, this commitment demonstrated by my colleagues is invaluable,” says Marcus Schulte, Head of the Audi Ideas Agency. Klaus Mittermaier, Chairman of the General Works Council of AUDI AG, adds: “Nobody knows the products and processes at Audi better than those who work here. The Audi employees point out where there is room for improvement or savings potential and thereby help the company save more than EUR 100 million per year. That is truly a remarkable achievement.”

The range of ideas that are submitted is wide – and it is often topics and processes in everyday work procedures that Audi employees tackle with their creative ideas. One example of a concrete improvement that makes work much easier at the company with the four rings is the “Audi Meeting Assistant” that was programmed by computer scientist Michael Luja. Mr. Luja normally works in Development Convenience Electronics – control units are his daily bread. Some time ago, the 35-year-old had an idea that now makes scheduling a lot more efficient for many of his colleagues. The Audi employee had long since been annoyed at how complicated it could sometimes be to enter appointments and meetings in the electronic calendar. It sometimes felt like you were going in circles: If the room was available, the time didn’t suit some participants, and if the participants were all available, there was no room to be found. “As a computer scientist, you think about these things because you know it should really be easier than that,” says Michael Luja. He programmed his prototype for the “Meeting Assistant” in just three weeks and submitted it to the Audi Ideas Program. This is how he came into contact with the IT department. Together with the experts, Michael Luja worked on further developing the Meeting Assistant, allowing other Audi employees to benefit from his idea today, too.

More information on the Audi Ideas Program Historical background and international ideas

Audi has had an employee suggestion system since 1967. The Audi Ideas Program in its current form has existed since 1994. It is a participation program that allows all employees to contribute to the further development of their company. When it comes to ideas management, Audi relies on lean processes: The specialist areas responsible review the suggestions submitted by the employees in a decentralized way and decide directly whether the ideas are to be implemented. An online tool informs the Audi employees of the progress of this process and ensures the necessary transparency and process reliability. And internal Ideas Agency offers advice to the employees and carries out regular competitions and campaigns. The Audi Group has also established ideas programs at its international sites. The employees in Brussels, Győr, and San José Chiapa submitted a total of more than 11,000 ideas in 2019. This allowed the company to save more than EUR 40 million.