Interview with the apetito AG

It's that time again. We are pleased to introduce another partner of our initiative: the apetito AG.

The apetito AG is a medium-sized family business based in Rheine (NRW) in Westphalia. Founded in 1958, apetito is now the market leader in the field of communal and individual catering and is also represented in the food retail sector. Apetito offers specific catering solutions in the form of freshly frozen menus and systems in day-care centres, schools, companies, clinics, senior citizen facilities and for meals on wheels menu services. In the German retail trade, the company is represented by the consumer brand COSTA in the freezer departments.

To get to know the new partner company, we met with Marco Brackmann, Head of Lean Management Programme at apetito. At this point we would like to thank Marco Brackmann for his time and willingness to answer our questions.

Enjoy the exciting insights into Operational Excellence at apetito AG!


Which approaches and measures concerning Operational Excellence are already implemented at your company?

Marco Brackmann: The lean initiative launched in 2017 forms the basis of today's apetito production system "aps".  With a broad-based lean organisational structure, we train lean methods and coordinate improvement activities in the areas of production and office. With the continuous development of our apetito production system, we support the long-term success of the company and increasingly involve more employees.

Are there further actions planned to be undertaken in the future in this field?

Marco Brackmann: Yes, definitely! The completion of the qualification concept for lean methods is planned for this year. With the revision of our existing lean project competence, we want to carry out optimisation projects in a more focused way in the future. In addition, we are currently pushing the use of JDI = Just Do IT in the office areas.

Does your company offer advanced trainings to the topic Operational Excellence for your employees?

Marco Brackmann: With our multi-stage Lean training programme, we teach suitable methods for different requirements and roles in our production system. From the beginning of this year, all new starters at our site will receive basic Lean training. This underlines how important this topic is to us. In addition, in the second half of the year we will start a trainee programme for process optimisers, with which we will complete our qualification concept for the moment.

What are your expectations on this initiative?

Marco Brackmann: Besides a constructive exchange of practical experience on challenges and implementation, I hope to find partners that are also interested in a joint training network on lean methods.

To which themes do you wish to exchange thoughts and know-how?

Marco Brackmann: I don't want to reduce this to specific topics. In addition to the classic topics of method application, lean leadership, shop floor management and the use of digital tools are interesting for us.

Are there specific aspects which are extraordinarily interesting for you? (for example, for networking-meetings or best-practice trips)

Marco Brackmann: We are currently interested in the role of managers in lean management and the possibilities of an overarching lean training exchange.

Are you interested in workshops during our networking-meetings?

Marco Brackmann: Yes, it is certainly a good format for certain topics.

Which challenges to you see your company being confronted with in the future?

Marco Brackmann: In the future, we must be able to react even faster and more flexibly to changes in our market. Current events show us that we need to make our existing supply chains more robust. We also feel that we have to find new ways to attract skilled workers. Lean competencies can help us address these challenges.

Do you see a fundamental change within your sector in the next 5 years?

Marco Brackmann: The demands of our customers change over time and show us new trends in the change of eating habits. Sustainability and conscious diet are current buzzwords here. We are continuously adapting our product ranges to this. Likewise, sustainability issues in the production process and packaging are becoming more and more important.

Thinking about the north-western region, what do you think is mostly needed by the region to challenge the ongoing as well as future changes? 

Marco Brackmann: Basically, we need skilled workers who can help us meet the challenges we face. An attractive professional training programme for young people helps to keep these skilled workers in our region.

In this context, how do you value the potential of initiatives like ours?

Marco Brackmann: Own initiatives are having visible effects, but they need to be backed up by further creative efforts.


Looking forward to the exciting input of apetito AG in the area of Operational Excellence for our network, we welcome the company with Marco Brackmann as the newest partner of our initiative.

If you have any questions to the interview partner or points of reference to some topics, please do not hesitate to contact Marco Brackmann: