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Specialists ensure a flat hierarchy

All things considered, can we talk about a flat hierarchy when we have an organisation with ten mid-level managers? Yes, at Hjerno we actually can.

Though with almost 60 employees we have an organisation that requires a certain number of managers, the individual tool makers and technicians have a lot of decision-making competence in the daily tool production.

"The individual employees are the experts. And they are constantly asked about and challenged on what the most optimal will be in this and that situation," explains managing director Aage Agergaard.

"That is the advantage of having so many in-house skilled specialists as we have. They are more familiar with the tools and the materials than anyone else. That is why the individual employees have a great deal of participation in how the parts for a tool pass through the production."

A factory, not a workshop
As Denmark’s largest tool factory, we produce an average of one injection moulding tool every single day. And at any given time we have between 35 and 45 tools in production.

This is the reason why – employee autonomy or not – we need to have some managers at the top of the organisation to ensure the necessary overview. In Hjerno’s case, for example, a production manager, a technical manager, an operation manager, a purchasing manager, a project manager, a chief designer and several team leaders – just to name a few.

"We are a factory, not a workshop, and consequently it is necessary to have that many mid-level managers. It is a very complex job to manage several thousand tool parts, which must go through our various departments and ultimately get finished on time and become a part of a completed tool in the right quality," finishes Aage Agergaard.