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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 - 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