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Operative Revival of a large, export-
oriented Production Unit for GIS

Industry & Scope :

  • Local business unit for gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) in Switzerland, being part of a large international technology group.
  • The entity was exporting GIS systems for high voltage in the range of 200 kV to 550 kV across the globe and was the lead center for Transmission GIS systems within the production network of this technology group.

Role / Function : 

  • Chief Operating Officer, being responsible for the entire operational value chain with a staff of 400. It covered engineering, project management, production, installation as well as commissioning.

Business Context :  

  • In the early phase of a global strategy implementation process, the major production unit for this business unit had lost its earlier strength. Consequently, it had to be re-aligned and re-focused during a demanding transition phase in order to maintain its business reach as well as to improve its profitability in an increasingly competitive environment.

Actions :

  • As part of the global roll-out of Lean Principles, a Lean Production approach was implemented for the main production line. The output of this 'made-to-order' production line was increased to up to 100'000 units per year, with a production time ranging from 2 up to 25 hrs per unit.
  • Improved project execution, by selectively introducing Lean Principles in engineering, project management as well as in installation & commissioning.
  • Providing clear guidance and focus on day-to-day customer-oriented performance, and at the same time fostering a corporate culture based on mutual trust and respect.
  • To balance the differences in workload optimally, a new contractual model for temporary staff was developed and implemented. The new model allows the required flexibility from a business perspective, and provides a better level of job security and income stability for related staff at the same time. Thus, it has a significant positive motivational effect.
  • Optimized production across factories in Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, balancing the workload of these factories.

Outcome :

  • Increase in volume and operational profitability improved by several percentage points due to significantly reduced margin slippage during execution.
  • Successful implementation and ramp-up of a lean production for highly complex made-to-order engineered solutions, increasing the output by > 40% and reducing the throughput time by 80% - with less staff.
  • A highly motivated entity, delivering excellent performance across the entire value chain.

Duration : 

  • 2 years