Dec 16, 2021
Interview with Jens, project leader in the production transfer from the Villingen-Schwenningen location to Stockach:
The move in few words:
As a result from a strategic decision, the production site in Schwenningen was relocated to our High-Tech Center Bodensee in Stockach. Within this mammoth task, our team successfully mastered the transfer of production material and equipment weighing 1600 tons loaded onto more than 40 trucks for transport.
What are the benefits of the new production environment?
At the new Stockach location built 5 years ago, we dispose of state-of-the-art production environments with optimal conditions for highly efficient, lean production and thanks to direct connection to our European logistics center ideal conditions to ensure quick delivery to our customers. Overall production space is geared to growth, so we have the best preconditions for quickly expanding our capacities and to bring new products into series production, like our new generation of industrial encoders.
How did you put it all into practice?
We accomplished the transfer within less than 6 months – from the official announcement to production restart in Stockach. Besides production staff, our team was built by colleagues from Purchasing, Industrial Engineering, HR , Dispatch, IT and Building Technology. More than 60 people working hand in hand called for real teamwork. The giant project offered experienced colleagues the opportunity to bring in their expertise in production line transfer. Others were given the chance to gain first project management experience and benefit from the project as an opportunity for personal career development.
What challenges did you overcome?
Major and most important objective was avoiding any production downtime reflecting on our customers. To us, the production transfer at a time when order volumes were enormously increasing felt like changing all 4 tires on a car at full speed. We were all the more surprised when we really managed to do this without any damage to the production equipment: During a main stage in the transfer when the equipment had been loaded on 20 trucks it took us only 2 days to restart production in Stockach.
How did you do that?
The self-confidence within the team strengthened in the course of the project, which was key. Contributing towards such a giant and decisive project was an incredible drive and motivation – to an extent, that some colleagues even offered to shift their holidays or to work at the weekends. Together we had a common goal and each of us was committed to bring the transfer to a successful end. Of course, a success needs to be celebrated – and we all celebrated together in a crowing finale.
What went wrong?
In one stage of the transfer 20 people and production equipment waited for the contracted freight forwarder – in vain. No availability due to illness, but we managed to hire another forwarder within 4 hours and, after a short time of anxiety, we were able to continue.
What was your role and your most memorable learning?
In cooperation with another project manager I was responsible for the transfer planning and production setup in Stockach. To me, after previous roles as team leader Industrial Engineering and production manager at the Frauenfeld location, being a leader in such a giant project and the production transfer and setup in Stockach was a new and very attractive challenge. The coordination of the more than 60 people involved in the project was not easy but a vital experience in my personal development.