RELOCATION OF MAN CITY BUS PRODUCTION IN POLAND
Over the past few years, MAN has streamlined its bus/coach production network. The first step was to consolidate the coach aspect. MAN moved series production to Ankara and turned the site in Plauen into a Bus Modification Center. Step 2 is to merge the two sites in Poland into one site in Starachowice, which unfortunately means closing down the site in Poznań. Step 3 will then be to convert the plant in Salzgitter from a bus/coach and truck assembly plant into a component plant, and to move bus/coach chassis assembly to the Starachowice plant. As it stands, the plants in Ankara and Starachowice will easily produce 6,000 buses/coaches after this point, with the prospect of up to 7,000 or 8,000.
The actual task of relocating operations is difficult enough, but it is doable. The real challenge is keeping control of the boundary conditions to ensure that everything runs in a structured and smooth manner, without major disputes entering the public domain, without damaging the image of the company and without losing employees or deterring customers. Companies like MAN rely heavily on the expertise of their employees. Obviously there is the process, and it is predetermined but knows so little automation that it is crucial that the employees know exactly what they have to do and that they do what they do well. To quote some figures: it takes a good 100 hours to build a truck with a cab and frame, and more than 1,000 hours to assemble a bus/coach. It is important to understand this for everything done.
The old bus manufacturing process in Poznań was divided into six steps. Step 1 was the start of the process in Poznań, fitting axles and wheels, and step 6 was the finishing work and delivery.
The next job is relocating the chassis process from Salzgitter.