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How Do You Transfer Process Knowledge to Offshore Plants?

Posted By Jeff Moad, September 02, 2011 at 11:53 AM, in Category: Global Value Networks

As the economy in the US andother developed markets continues to sputter, manufacturers increasingly lookto China, South America, and other expanding economies for growth opportunities.

But manufacturers seeking to quickly ramp up production in emerging markets face some daunting challenges.On one hand, competition in emerging countries is already fierce. Customers there expect lower-cost products, and manufacturers must figure out a way to produce them while maintaining quality.

On the other hand, finding plant operators and engineers with the experience needed to quickly build plants and run them efficiently can be a challenge.

What’s the solution?

This week I spoke with a director at a major power equipment manufacturer that is facing just those issues. This manufacturer (who will go unnamed in this post) has decided to make a major investment in standard MES, business intelligence, PLM, and ERP platforms which, the company hopes, will be a foundation for implementing standard, best-in-class processes across its plants worldwide. The expectation is that the company’s plant managers in China and other developing countries will be able to leapfrog the local competition if they have access to first-class systems and standard, proven business process such a quality auditing.

So far, says this director, the approach seems to be working, with new plants in developing countries getting to full production faster and without the initial quality and process problems that are often experienced.

What is your approach to transferring process knowledge to plant operators and managers in developing countries? Are standard systems a prerequisite for effective process knowledge transfer?

Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit


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