Outside the box – the slightly different relocation

The production of interior trim parts is to be relocated from Germany to Romania in the prototype phase. The planning and implementation of the entire process is estimated to be more than one year in the context of just-in-sequence production. In the end, the entire factory is productive after only six months at the new location. Risks have been minimized, millions of costs have been saved, and production is cost-covering and already profitable in the start-up phase.

But once again: the subsidiary of an automotive group wants to relocate its precious wood decorative production with more than 50 process steps. The production is complex – and a lot of manual work is needed to enhance the interior of the luxury vehicle. A total of 10 working hours is put for each premium class vehicle.

Relocation during the prototype phase

Initial plans have foreseen a period of more than one year. The process steps should be relocated in the same way as the production steps. Then the project will be transferred to me. The managing director had become aware of me because I had managed a successful relocation project for a competitor.

My task now is to relocate the many working steps with a 15 member core team. Although parts production is still in the development phase customers must be supplied just-in-sequence.

 

The igniting idea: non-linear translocation

First of all, I used a project planning tool to graphically display all the processes required for the relocation. The software has links that ensure that an activity can only be performed when the previous one is completed. This is where the problem lies: one of the first steps stops the entire relocation process. This requires very large, tons-heavy presses, each 8 meters high and standing on a 2 meter deep foundation.

After numerous tuning loops, I have the igniting idea: We start with a smaller process step, which is easy to relocate. This brings so much momentum to the entire project that I can play through further variants with the Software. The result is a relocation scenario that is completely different from what is usually thought.

 

Great logistical challenge

Instead of shifting all work steps to one after the other, as originally planned, we first relocate the uncritical work steps to Romania: First of all, the development department is relocated to the new plant with its new computers. This is followed by injection moulding machines, painting shops, milling machines, buffing and grinding machines, polishing robots and all other process steps. The big presses that require the most planning, are the last ones. This saves a lot of time.

Because prefabricated parts have to be transported back and forth between Germany and Romania several times, the expenses for transport increase. Nevertheless, this additional effort pays off. The parts can be added to the regular transports, which take place every week anyway.

 

Conclusion: Process time halved, millions saved

With our slightly different variant, we have minimized the risk of a late relocation and saved many extra transports. The cost advantage alone is in the six-digit range. The planning for parts production and cost accounting is even exceeded. We are faster and more successful than expected. Already in the transfer phase we worked profitably. The relocation of precious trim part production is the flagship project for the relocation of the entire plant to Romania. And the result is impressive: an entire factory is moved half a year earlier than originally planned. In addition to the time, the company saves millions in costs.

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