Oskar Frech

Mechanical engineering firms have difficulties with large-scale orders – Project management weak spot

October 18, 2016 | News Germany

For years, OEMs have been transferring more and more tasks onto their suppliers. This trend is currently growing even more due to the ever-increasing networking between machines and plants. In the age of digitalization, systems and interfaces have to be compatible with one another. Therefore, OEMs are increasingly ordering complete production lines from a single source. Yet many suppliers are overburdened by processing such large-scale orders.  “While production departments in many German mechanical and plant engineering companies are already operating efficiently using lean production methods, things are getting stuck at the project management level.” This is the experience of Jan Sibold, branch manager for Mechanical and Plant Engineering with the consultancy firm Staufen. “Companies fight with unclear responsibilities, too many interfaces and traditional departmental thinking. This leads to chaos and unreliability in the project execution stage. This results in long delivery times, unhappy clients and declining competitiveness.” The winners in the development of so-called turnkey projects are those businesses that optimize their entire project management process and are then in a position to be able to quickly and transparently roll out complex tasks with different internal and external suppliers. The Staufen consultant points out that, “During the procurement process, the OEMs ensure that the supplier is capable.” EMAG, the German manufacturer of machine tools and production systems, is proof of the fact that it is worth taking the step from focusing just on mechanical engineering to project management. The Baden-Württemberg company has been successfully managing large-scale orders since the seventies. However, because the demands in this business are constantly growing, they further developed their project management system together with Staufen AG. This makes it possible to better coordinate projects across several technologies and locations. Suppliers are seamlessly tied into the workflow. Furthermore, the entire process is transparent, from the order to the implementation. “Lean Management allowed EMAG to evolve into a transparent, flexible and dependable multi-project environment. We can now roll out orders much more quickly, regardless of size,” says EMAG Managing Director, Guido Hegener. What this field has learned: Not only production, but also the entire order process, from the customer request to the final customer installation, should focus on improvements, with the goal of maintaining sustainability. Guido Hegener, Managing Director for EMAG Manufacturing Systems, will report on how to increase productivity in the project business at the  Mechanical Engineering Congress on November 30, 2016 in Salach (near Stuttgart) This congress is presented in collaboration with VDMA (Mechanical Engineering Industry Association) Baden-Württemberg.  Information on the event can be found at: 

About EMAG EMAG supplies machines and production systems for the processing of disc-shaped and wave profile components using a wide range of processing technologies. Whether they are turning machines, grinding machines, laser welding machines, pre-heating machines, joining machines, ECM machines or induction hardening machines, EMAG offers the best processing solution for almost any application.

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