Interview with Semcoglas Holding GmbH

Today we are going to present you one of our first partners called Semcoglas Holding GmbH (SEMCO). The company performs in the sheet glass industry and offers a broad range of sheet glass products “made in Germany”. In sum around 1,600 people are working for SEMCO at one of the firms’ locations within Germany.

We were talking to the technical CEO, Alexander Akgül, asking him questions among the topic Operational Excellence. Enjoy the interview below!


Which approaches and measures concerning Operational Excellence are already implemented at your company? Are there further actions planned to be undertaken in the future in this field?

Alexander Akgül: At the moment our production is mainly influenced by the digitalization and automatization. In this way our highly modern SEMCO-Production of the future emerges step by step. Concerning the whole SEMCO-Group this ongoing change is planned to be undertaken rather in the medium-run than in the long-run. At each location we are already implementing particular measures.

It’s important to say, that automatization goes way further than just the term “robot”. To take some examples: there are automatic glas indentations at our production lines, automatic approvals at the end of the line, the automatic relocation of the glass at the grinder, the automatic stacking of the glass when being cut as well as the automatic sorting of the final glasses. Among further innovations all this named topics are going to be addressed and transformed during the next years. In this context I’d like to emphasize, that automatization does not substitute human work at SEMCO, but rather leads to a facilitation of the work already carried out by our employees. It’s important for us, since we highly value their enduring health. 

Furthermore our strong ambition for the topic in our company is underlined by the central position for robotics and automatization, we have established in our team to bundle the existing know-how and to extensively use it in the corporate group.

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

Alexander Akgül: We’re handling the choice of our advanced trainings quite pragmatically at SEMCO. Looking at our company’s strategy and investments we are coming to the essential skills needed by our employees. And subsequently, we can conclude the required qualifications. Furthermore, we are having so called performance specifications enabling us to compare the required qualifications with the actual qualifications of each employee. As a result, we can finally define the needed qualifications for our employees and thus, we can derive the required offer of advanced trainings ensuring the alignment of the company’s required qualifications and those of the employees. It’s systematically and especially demand-based. The aforementioned process applies also for diverse trainings concerning Operational Excellence, as for example trainings for specific machines or processes.

What are your expectations on this initiative? 

Alexander Akgül: I am especially expecting new insights and food for thought for the further development of our production. Furthermore, I’d like to make new contacts, from which might emerge strategic partnerships in the future – if it suits for both sides.

To which themes do you wish to exchange thoughts and know-how? Are there specific aspects which are extraordinarily interesting for you? (for example, for networking-meatings or best-practice trips)

Alexander Akgül: Best practices – gladly with factory tours – to the following topics:

  • Digitalization in the production

  • Automatization in the production

  • Production planning

  • Shopfloor management

  • Logistics and car pool management

  • Acquisition and bonding of qualified employees

  • Further development of the industrial education.

Are you interested in workshops during our networking-meetings?

Alexander Akgül: Principally yes, as long as the workshops being strongly practically oriented rather than being theoretic.

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

Alexander Akgül: There are various challenges, for which we see our company is being ready though. On the one hand, the competition is getting more intense – not only from foreign countries but also online. To challenge this aspect, we are continuingly improving our already quite high quality and adherence to our delivery dates to further establish as a premium provider. On the other hand, we are strategically reorganizing our online segment to already be online today and to still be present tomorrow. 

Moreover, the digital transformation spreads quite fast. So, the ones who does not adapt to it, will disappear with time. This is why we are hardly working on the digitalization of all our processes and services at SEMCO since quite a few years.

Another fundamental issue, relevant for all enterprises, is the ongoing shortage of skilled workers. In addition, there’s to name the shortage of raw materials combined with the enormous price increases – at least at the moment and again this aspect is relevant for the whole economy.

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

Alexander Akgül: We are recognizing a fundamental change in the flat sheet sector since far more than ten years. More than 70 competitors have left the market Germany-wide since 2010 due to various reasons.

In contrast, SEMCO represents stability and reliability, continuous growth, high quality and innovation. This is why we were able to rise not only our revenue but also our output during the last year despite all the restrictions caused by Corona. Additionally, we could further develop our quality and adherence to our delivery dates, although both have already been on quite a high level. So finally, both aspects can be described by rates of over 98%, which is mainly possible due to our strategic investments. Since 2007 more than 200 million euro have been spent in the locations, technology, automatization and digitalization. And we’re going to continue this, because the rivals never sleep. 

We are going to invest 50 million euros in the central technic and infrastructure until 2023. Thereby, it’s four main aspects that are going to play the largest role: “automatization and development of robotic”, “digitalization”, “innovation management” and “further trainings for our employees”. It’s our aim to be the most digital enterprise in the glass industry in three to four years.

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? 

Alexander Akgül: Since the beginning our work at SEMCO is characterized by initiative, courage, passion, positive energy and especially mutual trust as well as the will to collaborate. We are convinced of the following: Only together we are strong!

This is also true for the North-West as a region. If a regional change concerning digitalization, automatization or operational excellence should be shaped successfully, there’s only one way to do it: together. At first, the companies need to have the will. Secondly, anyone needs to take the initiative making the first step. For this, courage is inevitable, since the trust still has to be established at the beginning. Most of all a lot positive energy is required as well as an intense passion for the topic and the region.

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

Alexander Akgül: Highly. Thinking outside the box is extremely valuable. It’s not worthwhile to only move in one’s own territory. On the contrary, learning with and from each other helps much more. For this, a regular exchange is needed, enabled by initiatives like this one. Moreover, thereby mutual trust is created, which is essentially required to present a united front. Since we can only successfully accomplish something large out of the region for the region, when acting cohesively.


We would like to thank Alexander Akgül for the informative interview. We hope that you were enjoying the various insights in the Semco Holding GmbH as much as we did.

If you are interested in talking to Alexander Akgül about any topics mentioned above or further exiting themes, feel free to contact him via the following mailing address: