Modular lift manufacture


Modular lift manufacture

Manufacture lifts modularly and save costs with umlaut

From unique design to standard model

Made of glass or with mirrors, fast or slow closing doors, a range of emergency systems and drives – when it comes to lifts there are no limits to variety. Of course this means an equally high level of complexity. That's why one of the world's leading manufacturers of lifts and escalators had the same problem as so many other companies: when almost every product is unique, production costs are disproportionately high. Added to this are the extremely high costs for the maintenance of millions of unique products and the storage of countless spare parts.

This is precisely what an established manufacturer wanted to change – partly to remain competitive in the future. The goal: a programme for the future that would save around EUR 250 million. EUR 140 million were to be saved by reducing complexity and variety – but without neglecting the individual wishes of the customers.

Standardisation of components

The idea: to create a technical basis with three types of lift which can be modularised in the further course of production. umlaut supported the company over a period of six months to bring this modular principle to life. First, the 12-man umlaut team focused on the following questions: What does the market demand? What options do customers buying lifts request most frequently? And how does this tie in with the variety in production, where are the costs especially high? umlaut also took the typical lift combinations that the manufacturer definitely wanted to continue offering into account in their considerations. Using this as a starting point and with the help of umlaut, the manufacturer identified areas where they could standardise their components, from the drives through to the emergency systems.

From theory to practice

The result was a modular concept for lift manufacture. The basic types that were developed can be divided into lifts for short, medium and tall buildings. umlaut didn’t just introduce this new method at the lift manufacturer’s head office, but also developed an appropriate roll-out concept for their subsidiaries in Europe and Asia. The successful establishment of the new construction method included continuous change management, for example using regular mood surveys and communication measures derived from them, such as newsletters.From theory to practice

Sustainably anchoring change in the company

To ensure that the change is permanent, umlaut also developed a management model with which the manufacturer could implement the modular manufacturing process, the necessary knowledge and the requirements on production at all levels of the company. Only by introducing standardised processes, which umlaut had set out in the Governance Model, can the new principle be sustainably anchored within the company and embraced in every department – from strategic portfolio management and product configuration, through to product development. Together with the actual development of the modular principle, the new management model was an essential component for the successful transformation of the lift manufacturer with more than 10,000 employees.