New markets, old problem
If a company decides to expand into a new market, a problem frequently arises: the new production site will not be used to capacity at first. Thus, the Schlemmer Group was also faced with the key challenge of adapting the capacity of its plants in foreign countries to the respective market demands prevailing locally.
The entire intended product portfolio had to be available from the outset, yet it often took months or even years to get the ground ready for a predictable and economical utilisation of production sites. Especially in the corrugated tube segment, the traditional competence of the globally operating Schlemmer Group, the integration of a site in another country was usually not a good solution. Even though the space-intensive tubes only have air inside them, it was simply not economical to transport them over long distances.
The birth of the mobile factory
In 2010, an in-house team of experts at Schlemmer GmbH, together with the management, came up with a concept intended to ensure demand-based production at any location. This marked the birth of the “mobile factory”.
The idea was as simple as it was effective. Stationary production is moved into a mobile container, which can then easily be transported by truck, ship or airplane to various locations around the world. On the one hand, this ensured the customer maximum proximity to the supplier and, on the other hand, leaves room for short-term adjustments and changes to the orders.
One truck – more than 2,000 different products
When it arrives at a location, the “mobile factory” is ready to start production in two to three hours and needs only two employees to run it. With the aid of this innovation, 2,000 to 3,000 different Schlemmer products can be made on site and as needed. For instance, it is possible to produce up to 62,000 metres of corrugated tube per day when running three shifts.