A day in the life of Quality Manager for ‘Quality Assurance Production’ at STHIL Tirol: Josef Koller

written on 8th October, 2022


Insights into quality assurance from a conversation with… Josef Koller.
Josef Koller has been with STIHL Tirol GmbH since 2004 and has been Head of Production Quality Assurance since 2019.


About the company STIHL Tirol
STIHL Tirol is a manufacturer of garden tools in the metal industry. At the Langkampfen site battery-powered products such as lawnmowers, robotic mowers, ride-on mowers, motor choppers and garden choppers are produced. With 770 employees, the company generated sales of 715.8 million euros in 2021.

The quality assurance at STIHL Tirol: one main department with four subdivisions.

Organisationally, the main department “Quality” is assigned to the management and is divided into four subdivisions: incoming goods inspection and measurement technology, quality management systems, quality assurance suppliers and quality assurance production.

The main department employs 53 people, 15 of whom work in quality assurance production. The quality assurance production team consists of line inspectors and specialists for assembly, steering of defective parts and rework.

Josef Koller’s department ensures the quality of the products. One of the core tasks is to detect and correct deviations at the assembly lines, as well as to inspect products and components.

The aim is to continuously improve quality and to ensure that customers receive a safe, functioning product and that they therefore repeatedly choose a product from the brand STHIL.

This is what a typical working day looks like as Head of Quality Assurance Production at STIHL Tirol.

Together with Josef Koller from STIHL Tirol, we would like to give you a detailed insight into the work of quality assurance in production.

5:30 a.m.: A look at the figures of the previous day.

Production at STIHL Tirol starts at 6 a.m. Josef Koller prefers to start his day even earlier in the morning. He usually arrives at the company by 5:30 a.m. He uses the half hour in the morning before production starts to look at the figures from the day before. The key figures are based on data from Testify and the SAP system.

The focus of Josef Koller is to pay attention to whether there were any problems in the production, if rejects were booked and what the current state of the quality indicators is. He checks if there were any abnormalities the day before and whether or not measures have already been taken to address them.

6:00a.m.: Team meeting.

Afterwards, there will be a meeting with the team. In this daily meeting with the employees of his team, they discuss what happened the day before and what needs to be looked out for. In case of abnormalities, possible measures are taken immediately.

In the morning shopfloor-rounds take place.

Offene Themen werden im Anschluss an die Teambesprechung abgearbeitet oder in den Shopfloor-Runden besprochen. Alles, was am Morgen nicht gelöst werden konnte, wird bei diesen Shopfloor-Meetings thematisiert. Open subjects are additionally worked through after the team meeting or discussed at the shop floor rounds. Anything that could not be resolved in the morning is discussed at these shop floor meetings.

The shopfloor-rounds take place every day. The different teams meet here throughout the morning:

  • 8 a.m.: Shopfloor-round quality field. The shopfloor-round of the quality field is at 8 a.m. The running testers and the product audit employees take part in this. The errors that occurred during the product audit or problems from production that require joint clarification are discussed here.
  • 9 Uhr: Shopfloor-round main department quality assurance. The next shopfloor-round starts at 9 a.m. This is where the head of the main department and the subdepartment heads exchange ideas. This round looks at what tasks the teams will have to face in the future.
  • 10 Uhr: Big shopfloor-round with the production. At 10 a.m. Josef Koller will take part in the big shop floor round. This takes place in production. All problems that have not yet been resolved are discussed here.

    Over the course of the morning, almost all of the problems that were identified in the morning are solved via these levels. Major issues that occur less frequently are passed on to the last shopfloor-round of the day.

  • 11 Uhr: Shopfloor-round of the directors. The management’s final shop floor round will take place at 11 a.m. The directors committee consisting of the management of finance, production, development, production planning and purchasing meets here.

    Only topics that could not be resolved during the morning will be discussed here. Proposed solutions that require a larger budget are also decided here. For example, if a problem on the assembly line is discovered in the morning and a solution is found in the course of the morning that requires high-priced equipment, the release decision can be made on the same day. This way you can ensure that production continues smoothly.

Through daily meetings across all levels, operational problems can be solved quickly and important decisions can be made quickly.

Depending on the companies needs, there are technical discussions, project discussions about new products and employee discussions. The processing of quality reports in SAP, the continuous redesign of processes and the evaluation of key figures also fall within the scope of quality assurance.

Josef Koller in der Produktion von Stihl mit der Software von Testify.

Digital support for daily tasks in ‘quality assurance production’.

The work that takes place beyond the above mentioned, changes from day to day. However, there are also activities here that take place again and again. Such as processing defects that were recorded with Testify.

All defect reports are sent directly to the person responsible via Testify. For example, to Josef Koller or the group leader for line production testing. This means they can be checked quickly and easily.

Just like the default reports, other test reports are also viewed. Every Monday, Josef Koller checks Testify to see if all tests from the previous week were carried out. This way he is always up to date and can ensure that no exams are forgotten.

A lot of work that was previously done manually has now been replaced by a digital solution. For example, dashboards are used for various daily, weekly and monthly reports. This means they no longer have to be put together by hand. The team is currently in the process of digitalizing more processes step by step.

With digital data capture, Josef Koller knows exactly: How many defects have been found? Where are the causes? Were the audits carried out correctly? And much more. This means he always has the information the management needs at hand.

Current projects & future challenges.

New products, new working methods and increased output ensure that the quality assurance field at STIHL Tirol is constantly changing.

Not only production, but also quality assurance must be continually adjusted. The team is therefore constantly working on new topics that influence the work in production. Such as the fulfillment of certain specifications for key figures, new manufacturing processes (deep manufacturing and plastic manufacturing), as well as the newly developed products for professional applications. Because these products have more electronic components and are becoming increasingly complex. Here the quality assurance team gains new experience and continually expands its knowledge.

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