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Gruppentreffen

Consulting in project, program and line management
Strategies and operations - Automotive Industry

Since 2022 freelance Executive Advisor, Business Consultant and Interim Manager, automotive industry. With a focus on Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers and equipment manufacturers, I advise and support these companies to use the profound industrial changes strategically for their own benefit and to implement strategies operationally.

You can find below a list of my current external projects (since 2022) and a list of my internal projects (2001-2021) as a supplementary reference to my more than twenty years of previous internal project work.

External projects (E) - since 2022

E3 Consulting a global equipment manufacturer of automotive e-motor assembly lines (2024)

E2 - Consulting a global automotive Tier 1 supplier on production localization in China (2023)

E1 Consulting a global automotive Tier 1 software engineering provider on internationalization (2022/23)

Internal projects (I) - 2001 to 2021

I8 - Restructuring Wholesale - medium sized business, Joint Venture, China

I7 - Establishement of a production joint venture - Mexico and Japan

I6 - Relocation of vehicle production an external contract manufacturer - medium sized company, Finland

I5 - Construction of JVs   for cell, battery and e-motor production, medium-sized companies, Germany

I4 - Upgrading foundries and forges – medium-sized business, Germany

I3 - Corporate Reorganization - Corporate Division, worldwide

I2 - Construction and start-up of an engine plant - medium-sized company, joint venture, Germany

I1 - Realignment of assembly and work organization - vehicle plant, Germany

Project I8 - Restructuring Wholesale - medium-sized business, joint venture, China

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Sector: Automotive – sales (vans) of a foreign joint venture company

Function: Project manager

Topic: Expand dealer network (retail), outsource wholesale functions

Employees: in the project 150 (wholesale only), in the line 3,200

Initial situation

A too small van dealer network in China limited the manufacturer's planned market growth. In addition, wholesale synergies with the national car sales company were only insufficiently leveraged.  

Goals

For the planned increase in volume, the existing dealer network had to be expanded significantly. At the same time, key wholesale functions of the local manufacturer were to be outsourced for the purpose of further synergies.

Approach and measures

  • Establishment of a project team made up of managers and experts from the German and Chinese companies involved

  • Project goals and structure, sub-goals per work package, milestone plan with critical deadlines

  • Meetings with each work package and in the overall project, goal and work agreements and follow-up of measures

  • Control of deviations, allocation of the necessary resources

Result

Project realization and implementation in time, in budget, in expectation. All goals were achieved with the planned resources.

Project I7 - Establishment of a production joint venture - Mexico and Japan

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Sector: Automotive – production joint venture (JV) of a German and a Japanese OEM  

Function: Project manager German OEM

Topic: Establishment of a JV, construction and start-up of a joint factory in Mexico

Employees: in the project 500, in the line 50

Initial situation

From the point of view of the German OEM, the cost per vehicle in the compact car segment were too high for in-house production, and from the point of view of the Japanese OEM, cooperation offered opportunities to transfer know-how to itself.

Goals

Foundation of a German-Japanese production joint venture; preparation for construction and comissioning of a factory in Mexico with common lines for vehicles of both makes, ​invest approx. EUR 1 billion; creation of x,xxx jobs

Approach and measures

  • Setting up a German-Japanese-Mexican project team; project structure, work packages, goals, sub-goals, schedules

  • Creation of RASIC tables between all international partners and with the work package leaders

  • Meetings with each work package and in the overall project, goal and work agreements and follow-up of measures

  • Control of deviations, allocation of the necessary resources

Result

The factory was completed, handed over on schedule, and stepwise, quality driven, ramped up. 

Project I6 - Relocation of vehicle production to a contract manufacturer - medium-sized company, Finland

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Industry: Automotive – premium manufacturer (PM) with contract manufacturer

Function: Project manager PM

Topic: Establishment of a production in Finland

Employees: in the project 200, in the line 50

Initial situation

Due to cost and capacity reasons and with the goal to produce its compact cars also outside the own production network, the PM agreed on a collaboration with a contract manufacturer in Finland.

Goals

Construction of production and installation of all systems, equipment, tools  for shell construction, painting, assembly by the contract manufacturer  

Approach and measures

  • Setting up a German-Finnish project team, project structure, work packages, goals, sub-goals, schedules

  • Drawing RASIC tables between the two partners and their work package leaders

  • Meetings with each work package and in the overall project, target confirmations and follow-up of measures

  • Control of deviations, allocation of necessary resources

Result

Production at the contract manufacturer were started and ramped up as planned - in time, in cost, in quality

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Project I5 -  Establishment of joint ventures for cell, battery, e-motor production, medium-sized companies, Germany

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Industry: Cooperating industries - JVs premium manufacturer (PM) with a chemical company and an engineering group

Function: Project manager PM

Topic: Establishment of production JVs in Kamenz (battery cells, batteries) and Hildesheim (electric motors)

Employees: in the projects 300, in the line 50

Initial situation

In the early 10s, the PM decided to enter battery cell, battery and e-motor development and production via industrial joint ventures (JVs).  

Goals

On the production side, setting up, commissioning and ramping up the machines, equipment and systems in the joint ventures, setting up the teams, ensuring technology transfer, compliance with  timeline, cost and quality targets.

Approach and measures

  • Setting up project teams for each of the JVs, project structures, work packages, goals, sub-goals, schedules

  • Creation of RASIC tables between all partners and with the work package leaders

  • Meetings with each work package and in the overall project, goal and work agreements and follow-up of measures

  • Control of deviations, allocation of the necessary resources

Result

While the production of the electric motors were ramped up as planned, the battery cell production was stabilized with a quality driven process, heading and driving, especially with the newly developed machines, equipments and systems, an intensive learning curve. 

Project I4 - Upgrading foundries and forge, corporate division/medium-sized business, Germany

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Sector: Automotive – foundries and forges

Function: Project manager  

Topic: Product portfolio performance and profitability

Employees: in the project 20. in the line 3,200

Initial situation

The foundries and forge group business unit is unprofitable with an amorphous product portfolio ("something of everthing"), heading unstable, inefficient processes in technology development, toolmaking and production itself

Goals

Methodological examination of all approx. 180 products for EXIT or STAY. Market analysis for potential ENTRY products. In addition  initiation, implementation and follow-up of an efficiency process with defined profit, cost, cash flow and quality goals.

Approach and measures

  • Portfolio strategy process: STAY or EXIT of each product, depending on its value added and competitiveness 

  • Efficiency program for each shop - standard methodology, 

  • EXIT realization of brake discs and smaller die-cast parts (e.g. oil pans)

  • ENTRY into new technologies and products (cast steel turbocharger housings, magnesium vehicle structural parts)

Result

Portfolio strategy resulted in a more concentrated and profitable product mix. The efficiency programs supported to increase delivery reliability, product quality, process stability, and to reduce costs.

Project I3 - Corporate reorganization, corporate division, worldwide 

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Sector: Automotive – premium manufacturer

Function: Office management of the recovery program CORE  

Topic: Recovery of  profitability and re-alignment of development, production, purchasing, sales and administration to the key topics and issues of the future

Employees: in the project 3,000 (150 of them full-time), in the line 20

Initial situation

Over years, the division had gradually deteriorated its relative competitive position, both in terms of profitability and of strategic topics and issues. As a result, a comprehensive recovery program was to be set up.

Goals

Minimum profitability of 7% ROS (program start at 0%), targets for cash flow, profit, contribution margins, fixed costs, material costs, production costs, investment, efficiency; addressing the key future topics and issues in development, production, purchasing, sales and administration and anchoring them in the organization.

Approach and measures

  • Program structure along the value chain, tracking of 17,000 individual measures in the program

  • Introduction of vehicle platform architectures and module strategy; production efficiency measurement - HARBOUR logic ("hours per vehicle")

  • Material cost reduction - hedging, negotiations, raw material management, material substitution, component optimization, others

  • Streamlining of administration areas, shared services and centers etc.

Result

RoS 7% has been reached. Portfolio adjustment (cancellation) of some current and future vehicle projects, sale of existing and reduction of planned infrastructure, increase of production efficiency, reduction of material cost. A change management program - Leadership Initiative (LSI) - was then started for sustainability.

Project I2 - Construction and start-up of an engine plant, medium-sized company, joint venture, Germany

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Sector: Automotive – small car engines, Tier 1 joint venture (JV) with a Japanese OEM  

Function: Project manager JV

Topic: Planning, construction and commissioning of a greenfield JV engine plant in former East Germany

Employeesin the project: 100, in the line 600  

Initial situation

A new engine developed by the Japanese OEM for its own vehicles and for vehicles of one of the German OEM brands, was to be industrialized in a joint venture in Kölleda (Thuringia). To do this, a greenfield plant had to be planned, built up and put into operation. The manifolded challenge: new partner, new product, new location, new plant, new management team, new team of employees, new operator models - outsourcing of tool management, maintenance and logistics, among other things.

Goals

Smooth construction and start-up of the plant and its installations - buildings, infrastructure, systems, machines, tools, devices, IT etc. Build up, development and qualification of the team of employees. Delivery of the engines in time, cost, quality, according to the ramp-up curve and later in series operation according to the order situation.

Approach and measures

  • Development of complex project management - synchronization of 220 processes, 1,200 sub-processes, 20,000 measures

  • Setting up a German-Japanese project team on site, with project structures, work packages, goals, sub-goals, schedules

  • Continuous synchronization of construction progress for buildings, equipment, tools, media, IT, operations, administration

  • Production tests for "operational readiness", selection of the operator team (600 out of 10,800 applications)

Result

Scheduled construction and commissioning of the plant - without a task force on the part of the parent companies

Project I1 - Realignment of assembly and work organization, vehicle plant, Germany

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Sector: Automotive – car assembly

Function: Project manager

Topic: Stabilization/CIP assembly area, large series  

Employees: in the project 20, in the line 1,200 

Initial situation

The assembly area (pass car interior installation), 1,200 employees, three shifts, 250,000 cars per year, was far beyond its goals at the beginning of the project. Instead of robust and stable processes, permanent "firefighting" dominated the operations.

 

Goals

With the management team (4 team leaders, 60 foremen), goals for straight forward direction, quality, rework, staffing and efficiency as well as the temporary use of an improvement team (I-Team), to be formed, were agreed. Should the cooperation between the I-Team and the line prove successful, the I-Team should then be permanently installed.

Approach and measures

  • Formation of I-Team through temporary release of 6 top performer champions; representatives took over their line job

  • The I-Team chose 6 additional employees from the line, whose work was distributed to others 

  • Synchronized improvement plan for the entire area (330 jobs), involving the works council

  • Optimization of every work process, every station, every shift, every part location, every tool, every fixture.

Result

All targets were met or exceeded within 12 months. The sticking point was the installation of the I-Team, which for the first time gave full-time caretakers for the improvements. The I-Team was then established on a permanent basis

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