Globally operating automotive suppliers have always been part of a challenging market. In this context, the Covid-19 pandemic has not really helped to ease the situation. Nevertheless, Webasto was able to assert itself and remains the market leader. As the company grew in size and expertise, three future challenges emerged clearly: firstly, global market growth is mainly driven by China. Thus, customer projects that were originally European, were increasingly rolled out worldwide. Therefore, we also needed a universal standard in process implementation. Secondly, the product becomes a commodity for the customer with ever-increasing cost pressure, as its functionality has not increased significantly over the time. Thirdly, sales growth at Webasto was limited by locally specified assembly lines. Thus, differences in performance and price occurred in the execution at the supplier. As a result of the product and customer specific assembly lines, equipment had low utilization, high costs and incalculable risks.
To maintain Webasto's market position, we launched the standardization and modularization initiative in June 2017 based on the three insights above. The aim of the project was to define multi-product production equipment which is modular and standardized.