The aim of the Global Production Community (GPC) is to promote structured knowledge exchange in a small circle of companies alongside the world of research on the topic of network design. Within the scope of the community, principles, methods and tools for the design and management of production networks are jointly discussed, developed and customized.
The central purpose for community partners is methodical support for the successful design of global production networks. Participants of the community are enabled to critically analyze their own activities regarding the design of their network and to continue the development of their own abilities. The visits to the community partners during the networking events allow insights into various types of successfully designed global production networks. In effect, a non-competitive and confidential competence network is and will be developed systematically, allowing for intensive knowledge exchange with companies in other industry sectors.
Three events form the framework for a membership year in the Global Production Community. The topics for the upcoming meetings are regularly coordinated and determined together with all participants of the community. In past community events, these topics included the development of a network strategy and its implementation, the strategic and continuous configuration of global production networks, global coordination within the network and the use of Industry 4.0 as part of the production network. As a supplement for the meetings, the membership in the community also entails three annual online seminars held on various topics in the area of global production and production management.
The Production Analytics Community (PAC) sees itself as a knowledge exchange and industrialization platform for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in production.
The community focuses specifically on the use of AI from the customer viewpoint and illuminates the topic from the user perspective of manufacturing companies with the aim of increasing their productivity. The community activities will therefore accompany businesses from the identification of initial use cases and their unique requirements, to the feasibility and economic assessment of these cases and right up to their company-wide, integrated implementation. The exchange between community members therefore offers a valuable option for companies to learn from each other regarding challenges and unique solutions in the form of best practices. The center offers the Analysis Toolbox developed by the WZL in cooperation with RWTH Aachen University, which is designed specifically to address the needs of manufacturing companies and therefore supports a cost-efficient and targeted initial analysis.
The Production Analytics Community accompanies and supports companies towards the use of AI methodologies – but only in scenarios where its use will be meaningful. The strict focus on customer value and the user perspective ensure this targeted implementation.
Members of the Production Systems Community (PSC) rely on knowledge exchange for the design and implementation of production systems in the context of Industry 4.0. The focus of the activities is on company visits in order to experience and discuss the complexity of production systems in a tangible way. The exchange is further enriched by the scientific findings of the WZL at RWTH Aachen University. The visits and discussions are organized and moderated by employees of the PSC member companies. Participants also have an opportunity to get to know each other at evening events, which helps develop strong ties built on trust. This format has proved effective since the founding of the PSC and specifically in a year-long industrial joint project, the consortial benchmarking “Production Systems 4.0”.
In terms of content, the PSC systematically focuses on the four aspects of culture, methods, Smart Data and digital support systems. In that context, the importance of lean principles, their design and meaning for the digitization of the value creation chain are discussed explicitly. A special focus here are the challenges in identifying and implementing of new solutions. This is intended to systematically develop the potential for a radical increase in value creation through digitization. The aim is to enable waste-free processes and agile decisions even under volatile environmental influences. The PSC therefore contributes to positioning your production system for true competitive advantages for your company long term.
The Plant Complexity focus group is a platform for the exchange of best practices and the collaborative solution of problems in the field of complexity management. The main objective is the joint identification, development and implementation of concepts for managing complexity in production and the supply chain. What are complexity drivers in different plants, companies and industries? Which tools, methods and concepts are suitable for dealing with complexity in different areas? How can digital technologies support the management of complexity?
Together with our colleagues from the Complexity Management Academy (CMA), we address the central issues in the areas of the plant and the supply chain in our “Plant Complexity” focus group. The results obtained serve the participants as input for implementation in their own companies. The focus group takes a cross-industry approach, with participants sharing insights and ideas on current challenges while visiting participating companies during the three focus group meetings throughout a year. The exchange is further supplemented by scientific insights from the WZL at RWTH Aachen University and the University of St. Gallen.