The current paper talks about the global engineering strategy of Wolfcraft GmbH (Wolfcraft) of Germany. The company was founded by Robert Wolff in 1949 and spearheaded the establishment of the do-it-yourself industry in Germany (Wolfcraft n.d.). With its operations mostly limited to the borders of Germany, the company is headquartered in Kempenich in the Eifel Mountains. The company operates in the niche area of the manufacturing of tools and electrical tool accessories. Wolfcraft mainly sells to hardware stores and specialist dealerships.
Wolfcraft mostly depends upon exports to keep its cash flow running. Exports form nearly 70 percent of the company’s revenues. The company’s sales are mostly taken care by its own sales force in many countries across the Europe as well as through its trading partners located across the world.
The manufacturing activities of Wolfcraft are mainly conducted at its own factory located in Weibern, Germany. From its central manufacturing facility, Wolfcraft makes and supplies nearly 2,000 different products including workbenches, transport systems, machine tables, wood joints, hand tools, and a complete set of power tool accessories. Wolfcraft’s operations are spread across 16 countries and the company employs 450 employs for running its operations. Over the years, Wolfcraft has emerged as Germany’s best brand DIY-brand for handtools. The remaining part of the report talks about the manufacturing strategy that is most suitable for Wolfcraft.
This section talks about the issues related to the process choice at Wolfcraft like choice of process, role of the inventory, capacity utilization, and make or buy decisions at the company.
Choice of Process
All the things that are manufactured in the world need to follow a specific manufacturing process. The main idea behind a manufacturing process is to create anything that has a useful form of its own. All the things that we use in our homes are made by using a specific manufacturing process. In the case of Wolfcraft, as the company mostly focuses on the manufacturing of small DIY products on a limited scale, it is not possible to use a assembly line production process. All the products need to be made by the workers by hand or by using small machines and cutting instruments.
Role of Inventory
Proper maintenance of inventory is very crucial for the smooth functioning of a manufacturing organization. Availability of the required inventory at the required time will keep the company’s factories working continuously. For Wolfcraft, the manufacturing of the company’s DIY tools needs different kinds of raw materials like iron, plastic, wood, and other metals. Being a small organization with limited number of employees, the company cannot afford to make all the components that are required for making its tools on its own. Many of the small components that are required for making its DIY products like the wheels used in its Transport Systems and the tiny parts used in the manufacture of its products like clamping tables need to be procured from outside the company. The company needs to procure the components from outside the organization and continuously maintain the required amount of inventory all the times.
Since Wolfcraft is a small organization with limited financial resources, the company cannot higher levels of inventory all the times. Maintenance of higher inventories results in its financial resources getting blocked. In order to maintain a free flow of its working capital, Wolfcraft needs to make sure that it maintains low levels of inventory to meet its manufacturing requirements and procure it only when they are actually required. The company also does not have the capability to practice advanced inventory maintenance procedures like Just in Time (JIT) manufacturing. The best inventory management technique that can be practiced by Wolfcraft is to maintain only the required number of inventory while taking care that it does not run out of inventory. Wolfcraft needs to develop its own inventory maintenance technique or achieving this.
Make or Buy
All the manufacturing organizations will face a dilemma as to whether to make the components that are used in its final products or to procure from outside suppliers. The decision to make or buy the components used in the final products depends upon a number of factors like the capacity of the organization to manufacture its own components, the price at which the components are supplied by third party manufacturers, sales volume of the organization, and local taxation structure. Big manufacturers with vast resources manufacture all the components on their own, while smaller manufacturers with limited experience and resources procure the components from external sources. In the case of Wolfcraft, the limited size of operations and the small number of employees, it will not be possible to manufacture all the required components in-house. The company needs to procure some of the required components from external suppliers. Buying certain components from outside the organization will also result in significant savings for the company rather than making everything on its own.
About Us: Wolfcraft, n.d. Available from: < http://www.wolfcraft.com/en/company/about_us/index.html>. [18 November 2014].