Lessons from the pandemic

Plant Managers Knauf Insulation

We are committed to having the most engaged employees and focused leaders in our industry as a key part of our long-term sustainability vision.

COVID-19 was a test of everyone’s leadership, but it also brought to life our values of challenge.create.care. This is what we learned from the front line of production.

Leonid Abibalov

Leonid Ababilov, our Stupino plant manager in Russia, about the power of teamwork: 

"A team of like-minded people can move mountains."


Erkan Ucok
Erkan Üçok, plant manager at Eskişehir, Turkey

“Our crisis team ensured constant communication, especially during lockdown when workplaces in Eskisehir were closed and our plant team kept working seven days a week, 24 hours a day — worried about themselves and their families. A safe environment and communicating constantly were vital to motivation.”


Darren Holt, Knauf Insulation UK, St Helens
Darren Holt, plant manager at St Helens, UK

“It is absolutely vital to offer continual reassurance, communication and empathy. Make yourself accessible, be visible and empathise with personal circumstances. Recognise that people will follow your journey at different speeds. Now the team is closer, we really recognise the need to support each other and take more time out to talk about the wellbeing of friends and family.”

Stjepan Mrsic, Knauf Insulation
Stjepan Mršić, plant manager at Novi Marof, Croatia

“We demonstrate more empathy and concern for one another than we ever did before. I want to maintain this positivity because it guarantees long-term sustainability for our people and for our business.”


Olivier Douxchamps
Olivier Douxchamps, plant manager at Visé, Belgium

“The key to a plant like Visé — with a high level of complexity — is to be agile but to have high team cohesion. This is vital: maintaining strong partnerships means solving challenges — together.”

Uwe Kaufmann, Knauf Insulation Germany, Sankt Edigien
Uwe Kaufmann, plant manager at St Egidien, Germany

“Every employee now has a high degree of responsibility for their own health and the health of their team. This is the main point of change caused by this pandemic.”


Franck Vincens, plant manager at Lannemezan, France
Franck Vincens, plant manager at Lannemezan, France

“Discussion, listening and building trust are key to overcoming challenges.”

Leonid Ababilov Plant Manager Knauf Insulation
Leonid Ababilov, plant manager at Stupino, Russia

“A team of likeminded people can move mountains; simplifying processes brings value to people and improves performance; visualising key performance indicators helps people achieve them.”


Jan BRAZDA, Knauf Insulation Czech Republic, Krupka
Jan Brázda, plant manager at Krupka, Czech Republic

"Bad times and pain make teams stronger and prove character. This is a great opportunity to learn how good our people are. What a gift, going through difficult times.”

Mohamed Elkhamlichi Illange France
Mohamed Elkhamlichi, plant manager at Illange, France

“We used confinement as an opportunity to train people and define our restart.”


Matevz Fazarinc, Knauf Insulation Slovenia, Skofja Loka
Matevž Fazarinc, plant manager at Škofja Loka, Slovenia

“Many of our people were scared of the unknown and wanted answers from leadership. We didn’t have the answers. We all have fears but when we share them, they can easily be overcome.”

Marian Tkac, Knauf Insulation Slovenia, Nova Bana
Marián Tkáč, plant manager at Nová Baňa, Slovakia

“It is vital to be present, spend time with the team, motivate
them. I like to see people achieve something they never believed they could achieve.”


Mark Jolliffe, Knauf Insulation UK, Queensferry
Mark Jolliffe, plant manager at Queensferry, UK

“We brief everyone regularly and make sure they are aware of what we are doing and why. Everyone on site is given an updated induction and instructed on the latest rules. We are looking after each other which is the best way to look after ourselves.”

Oleg Gorun
Oleg Gorun, plant manager at Tyumen, Russia

“Keep your team well informed, ask for feedback, trust them and they will deliver incredible results.”


Robert Smalekker, Knauf Insulation Hungary
Róbert Smalekker, plant manager at Zalaegerszeg, Hungary

“We have learnt if we focus more on our job and colleagues, we handle difficulties well and achieve better results. Our daily production record has been broken three times in this crisis.”

K Pasch, Knauf Insulation
Karl-Heinz Pasch, supply chain manager at Simbach, Germany

“Despite the COVID-19 crisis all our lines at Simbach were running at a 100%. The plant really over-performed.”



Read our Annual Review 2020!