The impact of digitization: How GKN drives standards for top quality

During the Thyssen Krupp Bilstein Supplier Day recently, GKN Sinter Metals was awarded “Best Supplier” for its quality performance. Below, find our key learnings during our process of executing effective quality and digitization.

Although we don't run our business to win awards, this is a great reflection of our process excellence and our commitment toward continuous improvement of digitization. Industry 4.0 methods are strong levers on that way. 

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Looking at our history with Thyssen Krupp Bilstein we wouldn't have been so successful without process excellence and commitment. Over the past four years, our partnership grew by more than 60 percent.

This was a challenge that required our full attention at a high level of detail and ensuring short reaction times from our management team. The partnership growth helped us accelerate our process implementation and show a larger interest in digitization, bringing Industry 4.0 technologies into place. 

Here are the learnings that we identified as crucial to quality performance: 

  • Good communication is key in stressful situations: In order to solve problems at an effective rate, there must be an open line of communication both internally and externally to find and agree on solutions that work for all.
  • Build a core team: The team should inlcude all relevant functions in your company with an understandable and pursuable objective.


  • Reliable data: The high level of digitization and the availability of real-time data were key to us when the planning of production volumes became very granular. A priority was to not put production at risk for our customer every single day.
  • Drive process development:  We used data for more than making sound decisions. The data helped us to utilize streamline production cycle times, identify bottlenecks, closely define capex to grow capacity, and implement a permanent improvement process using latest automation and sensoring technologies.

Last but not least on our learnings:

  • Share the efforts and success with all your team – everyone that helped to achieve the goal, no matter which level or function. In the end, it is the people who make the difference and transfer the spirit to your business partners.