Companies in Germany are facing the challenges of demographic change. The changing efficiency of an aging workforce calls for the development of new concepts for age-appropriate job engineering. To increase the acceptance of these concepts and use the broad implicit know-how of the workforce, it is recommendable to involve the active employees in the development process (Dombrowski and Riechel, 2010). Cardboard engineering constitutes a participatory method for the design of age-appropriate working systems (Nyhuis and Zoleko, 2010).

In cardboard engineering, workplaces are modeled by using cardboard boxes and other modeling material to simulate and analyze the production flow (Nyhuis and Zoleko, 2010). By integrating the know-how of employees of different hierarchy levels into the development process, this method links expert and workforce knowledge. The advantages are the enhancement of creativity and willingness to change as well as promoting self-initiative on the part of the employees (Schuh, Kampker, Franzkoch, Wesch-Potente, and Swist, 2010).

Primarily, cardboard engineering is suitable for the implementation of new production systems or efficiency improvement projects, but it is also applicable for the development of age-appropriate workplace systems (Nyhuis and Zoleko, 2010).

The Institute of Production Systems and Logistics has developed a concept for age-appropriate work engineering, which uses the method of cardboard engineering. In this case, the focus is placed on an age-appropriate ergonomic job. With this concept, workplaces of different areas can be designed age-appropriately. To validate the concept the workplaces in the installation area of a company were 89designed in an age-appropriate way with the help of cardboard engineering. This gives the company the opportunity to meet the challenges of demographic change.

The article describes the developed concept for age-appropriate work engineering and opportunities to improve workplaces and work processes under consideration of critical-aging criteria in an easy and inexpensive way.