MBA students visit TRUMPF Gruppe in Ditzingen

As part of the MBA module "Industrial Solutions," our students visit various German companies to gain first-hand knowledge of the strategic processes inside the companies. MBA student Nitin Purohit reports on his experience at TRUMPF Gruppe Ditzingen:

"It was the end of Christmas vacations and we began with an exam on the Monday morning on the 9th January, amidst several priorities and exam in January it was Industrial visits which we sought as the most interesting opportunity.

We began the very first Industrial visit on 13th January with TRUMPF in Ditzingen, at its headquarters. TRUMPF, a German family-owned company, is one of the world's biggest providers of machine tools. It is basically divided into 2 SBU’s: Machine Tools and Laser Technology/Electronics. In fiscal year 2015/16, the company achieved sales of 2.81 billion Euros with more than 11,000 employees. The history of TRUMPF shows that, since its foundation in 1923, new ideas, continuity and consistent internationalization have been the hallmarks of the company's development. From the first use for the welding of watch springs to the latest trends in micro and macro processing - the success of the laser is partially due to the contribution by TRUMPF. 

Riding on a wave of “Making Industry 4.0 Tangible”, digital connectivity at TRUMPF is partly in a test phase, and partly in real use already: diagrams directly on the shop floor providing information on utilization, availability and maintenance status; punching tools that utilize a data matrix code to find their way from the blank to the customer; machines that can be remote-controlled. The primary motivation as explained by Mr. Thomas Pschybilia, Project coordinator- Industry 4.0, at TRUMPF was short product life cycle, short reaction time, declining lot sizes and volatile market etc.

It was very insightful to know about the initiatives and activities by TRUMPF in Industry 4.0. TRUMPF is an active participant in the future project Industry 4.0, and provides decisive impetus toward the production of the future. Along-with self learning and implementation it offers some services viz., TruServices: SYNCHRO process consulting and TruConnect: Your smart factory. SYNCHRO is the lean management system of TRUMPF based on the Japanese Kaizen concept. For 15 years TRUMPF has relied on SYNCHRO to continuously refine processes in its production. Its Inventory level and the lead time were reduced by more than half, and the productivity per unit area and the annual quantity were more than doubled. TruConnect: Your smart factory, an innovative solution by TRUMPF, helps the marriage of machine, man and information. Its helps to optimize the overall business process strategy.

We were explained the below points as Mr. Thomas took us through the presentation

  1. Industry 4.0- Is about the complexity management
  2. R&D expenses amount to 300 Mil. Euros per annum., indicating a strong focus
  3. Synchro faced the initial growth with management push. So evolved into Synchro plus - Synchro plus is has more Transparency, Permanent problem solving, Management tools.
  4. Horizontal networking is a focus -  Customer's company, customers factory and machine at customer
  5. Invest for smart process leading to 100% Value Added, 100% one piece flow, JIT 
  6. As reported by CISCO 50 billion devices would be connected in 2020
  7. Data availability will increase by 56% per annum; and 90% of data is generated in last 2 yrs

Post completions of the presentation, a few important questions were discussed. One classical question was whether Industry 4.0 has something in sync with lean, with it answered as lean management is the base for the Industry 4.0. Another important question was regarding the expected time span by when all the customer and supplier base of TRUMPF will have Industry 4.0 compatibility and accept to deploy the same. Mr. Thomas conveyed that although this is one of the major challenges for the complete industry and not only TRUMPF, but he said they are hopeful to have 20% of its customer and supplier base deployed by early 2018.

Following the Q&A round, Ms.  Katrin Weber from Human resources division explained the various entry schemes. Noticeably the Business Talent Program and classical direct entry were relevant for us.

We also went through a short visit through the plant set-up of TRUMPF. We were explained about the existing and future plan of the digitization on the shop floor. It was a really easy to visualize and co-relate the concept understood during the shop floor round. We thanked the TRUMPF team for their courtesy and support extended during the visit."

- Written by MBA student Nitin Purohit