Mechanical & plant engineering

Characteristics and particularities
Industry insight

The mechanical and plant engineering sector occupies a key economic position as the largest industrial employer, pre-eminent export industry and driver of innovation. Given that the demand for capital goods is increasingly cyclic and purchase decisions are made at ever shorter notice, quality and innovative drive have become insufficient for companies to survive on the global marketplace. Many mechanical and plant engineering companies are responding to the immense costs and the declining predictability of potential orders by increasing productivity and capacitive flexibility. In many cases they are developing new business fields and occupying product niches, which is leading to additional requirements that need to be managed efficiently. For the companies in this industry especially, the challenges and opportunities of Industry 4.0 and digitisation will dominate the next few years. Besides initiating changes within product technology, it will be imperative to introduce state-of-the-art equipment in production and logistics in order to exploit these fresh opportunities.

Challenges to
ensure competitiveness

Specific framework conditions and special challenges that are characteristic of the mechanical and plant engineering industries:

  • Progressive globalisation of production and the value chains
  • Development of cost advantages through new procurement channels (global sourcing)
  • Consistent SCM strategies and processes: Distribution, production, logistics, procurement, order fulfilment
  • Introduction of flexible production and value chains through lean methods, e.g. by introducing one-piece flow
  • Reduction in throughput times and adherence to obligatory delivery schedules
  • Increase in procurement volume through reduction of in-house value added, thus enhancing the significance of procurement and supply chain management
  • Adaptation and implementation of Industry 4.0 solutions and trends; reduction in product complexity through modular structures
  • Delayed variant development through clear postponement strategies
  • Expansion of services in a sustainably successful business field; establishment of independent spare parts logistics with high availability and optimised inventories

Selected consulting focuses

  • Optimisation of procurement networks (global sourcing)
  • Optimisation of purchasing processes and introduction of supplier relationship management
  • Total landed cost optimisation
  • Supplier relationship management
  • Lean production and lean logistics
  • Industry 4.0 approaches in assembly and logistics
  • Intralogistics according to the line back principle
  • Logistics centres for production supply
  • Order picking zones and supermarkets concepts
  • In-house transport concepts using tugger trains or automated guided vehicles (AGV)
  • Material flow concepts for production locations
  • Expansion of plant structures
  • Line-side presentation concepts for assembly and manufacturing areas
  • Implementation of one-piece flow in production
  • Outsourcing of logistics, tenders for service providers
  • Inventory optimisation using big data analytics tools
  • Optimisation of production planning and control, MES and ERP IT applications
  • After-sales services, spare part fulfilment in warehouse management and distribution

Project examples
Customer benefits through industry expertise

A selection from our extensive range of products.

Factory planning and logistics reorganisation at two locations for an agricultural machinery manufacturer:

  • Medium-term plant structure planning (five-year horizon) with due consideration of strong volume growth and a distinct seasonal focus of customer orders for one German and French location, respectively.
  • Optimisation of material flows and the entire logistics, with the objective of achieving optimal utilisation of available spaces and warehouse facilities.
  • Introduction of flexibility to pre-assembly and the corresponding line-side presentation processes, as well as supplier interface with JiT delivery models.

Optimisation of material overheads for an international technology group:

  • Analysis of processes and organisation structures to identify reduction potential for global material overheads.
  • Analysis of the part spectrum and introduction of a suitable approach to classify articles in ABC/XYZ/UVW article categories. Development of suitable concepts for the scaling of scheduling parameters with the objective of reducing inventory costs.
  • Centralisation of processes and definition of new responsibilities for logistics and purchasing.

Optimisation of spare parts service for a manufacturer of large forming machinery:

  • Optimisation of the manufacturing and logistics processes for service parts to expand services for proprietary parts and increase the supply service level.
  • Recommendation for the development of future logistics structures and the organisational definition of process ownership.
  • Identification and transfer of requirements from the service business to production planning and control, as well as the ERP and APS System.