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  • Publication date: 2010
  • Date added: 27 April 2010



Rating: self-responsibility: innovation at Callenbach Printing

self-responsibility: innovation at Callenbach Printing

2010 – In general printing and production companies are  strongly bound to fixed working hours, procedures and strong hierarchy. Printing company Callenbach is trying to differentiate itself  from other Printers with the best possible service. For this service to offer better, the concept of ‘self-responsibility’ was introduced. Employees receive as much freedom as possible in determining their hours and training. In addition, employees are trained so that they can perform different tasks internally, thus the capacity utilization and the content of the work are more flexible.
Why this is workplace innovation
The introduction of self-responsibility is innovative because traditionally Callenbach is a strong hierarchical organization and in addition there is created a win-win situation for both the employee and the employer.
A large part of the hierarchy is thrown away at Callenbach and replaced by self-responsibility. Employees are encouraged to look for themselves to what they want, what they like and what they need to do to achieve this. The management plays a supporting and motivating role. Instead of employees attending mandatory training, the initiative lies with the employee.
Primarily the win-win situation comes from the flexibility that occurs with the self-responsibility. Employees can determine a large part of their working hours and thus more often work at times that suit them well. Also, they can change jobs, thus is prevented that the work becomes monotonous. The employer benefits from the flexibility and greater involvement of employees - both factors help to improve the service to be provided.


Initially the objective was not business related but vision related. Director Robbert Bosch: "From the day I started here, I said, people need to make the right choices. This is done by doing work that you enjoy. Most reluctance that occurs in companies is because people do not enjoy their time." Hence the concept of self-responsibility: only when people are responsible for their choices, feel involved in their own careers, they will wonder what they like and how they can get closer to that.
The commercial objectives identified were: (1) more flexibility and therefore a lower occupancy, (2) reducing failure costs through better communication, which arises because workers themselves know more of each other's jobs, and (3) less management support, by
increasing self-sufficiency management support could take off.

Robbert Bosch says the following about the approach: "I always have made one statement: I have chosen for my employees, but  they not for me. Therefore, I am the one who must make the connection." In additionthe management propagate the vision of self-reliance: you should not save people, people should save themselves.
And sometimes you have to help.
Another caveat on the approach by Robbert: "You have to be sincere and honest, it should suit you. People pierce through it very quickly if you do not mean it. If you do not change because you want it, it's gone soon. Sometimes it takes you two years to see results, then you should also insist, otherwise you fall back into the old situation and you can start all over."

Results of self-responsibility
The executives now hold their own interviews. It used to be the director, who was watching everywhere. Now the supervisor is responsible and this leads to better understanding and gives the manager the ability to think about investments and the development of his department.
The overall occupancy has declined, people can take over each other's work.
As a result there is no need to hire part-timers when certain persons are away temporarily.
In a production setting such as a printing it is never known exactly when and how many people need to be present; this is depending on the number of orders.
The flexible deployment of employees and independence in planning the hours, make this easier to handle.
Failure costs of printing decreased by 0.7%, because employees communicate better.
The most important thing is that people are awakened in 2009.
People have seen that if they do an extra step, it's really will go better with the organization.

More information about Callenbach Printing can be found via