ON A NEW COURSE –
CAN 13 TRAINS REALLY BE BUILT IN ONLY 18 MONTHS?

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Alstom Salzgitter had only 18 months to build and deliver 13 complete trains to Deutsche Bahn – an ambitious goal with a lot riding on it, literally and figuratively. 

After this successful sprint, Alstom managed to implement lasting changes in its operations and staff. Among other things, it opened its own Lean School, the best way to make the site ready to face the future. Now Alstom Salzgitter is right on track and travelling full speed ahead.

EMPLOYEES AS THE ENGINES OF CHANGE

Alstom was founded in France in 1928, and today it operates in over 60 countries. This giant of the transport industry gets people where they need to go and offers an extensive range of products and services: Alstom produces the high-speed TGV train, as well as manufacturing urban trains, subways and trams, and provides services, infrastructure, signal technology and digital mobility solutions. With almost 33,000 employees, Alstom generates annual sales of €7 billion. The high-tech corporation is powered by values, including team spirit, trust and action. Most recently, however, it is also being powered by hydrogen. Alstom‘s Coradia iLint is the world‘s first hydrogen fuel cell train: in other words, Alstom is really on the move.

Alstom

However, the company also faces challenges. China’s two largest state-run train manufacturers merged to form a megacorporation, putting pressure on Alstom’s profitability.

Among other things, this affects the Salzgitter site, where some 2,500 people work, which is why Alstom turned to Staufen for support in 2015. The consultants’ task was to help them keep optimizing. The core of their approach: transparent shop floor management.

Time was of the essence, because a major project from Deutsche Bahn, the German railway system, came rolling in. Alstom Salzgitter had to complete 13 entire trains within a mere eighteen months, and they had to comply with many detailed specifications. This project was a major challenge given the complexities of the rail technology sector and its demanding regulatory environment. There was no time for errors: their new shop floor management method had to work seamlessly from the outset.

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