Impact of upscaling new technologies on factory layouts and outsourcing strategies in the case of translucent concrete
Tutor / director / evaluatorVestweber, Niels
Document typeMaster thesis (pre-Bologna period)
Rights accessRestricted access - author's decision
LUCEM GmbH, Stolberg, Germany, is one of the few companies around the world that produces light transmitting concrete, a product that enables to conduct light through a concrete element. Created in 2007 as a startup from the Institute für Textiltechnik (ITA) at RWTH Aachen, Germany, it has initially been working on the development of the material and the production process. Since 2010, LUCEM has started developing a marketing plan to expand the knowledge of the new technology and increase sales. The campaign is having positive results and thus, a high increase in production is expected for the years to come. To be able to grow successfully, LUCEM is now preparing for the future challenges that a drastic increase of the production will entail. LUCEM-Line panels, which is used to make facades, inner walls and bar desks among other things, is the main product of LUCEM GmbH. Therefore, the study has focused on upscaling this particular product. The production has to evolve from a customized production to a standardize mass production. The requirements for increasing the production of LUCEM-Line standard panels have been defined in this study. The elementary factors of production have been estimated for three production points and special attention was given to spatial organizational needs. Customized products have other spatial organizational needs than mass products. An adequate distribution layout optimizes not only space but also the efficiency of the process. LUCEM Line panels production process outsources the last two production step to a company in Germany. Because of its high outsourcing cost, and taken advantage of the increase in production, offshoring the production to countries with lower labour costs was considered. The competitive advantage of offshoring to India from an economical point of view was outstanding. Nevertheless, to be able to react to customer needs, maintaining a percentage of the outsourcing process in German was finally recommended.