As the world economy has shifted in recent years, so choices about which parts of its manufacturing value chain will be produced where have become more complex, more critical and more dynamic. As well as labor costs and availability, companies are choosing manufacturing locations based on energy costs, logistics costs, tax implications and the impact of local customs duties, subsidies and environmental considerations. They are also moving production lines closer to their customers

As companies try to juggle all these influences, however, they increasingly have cause to move manufacturing equipment, production lines or even entire plants from one country or region to another in order to reduce capital investment. The logistics activities involved in such moves are significant, not only because they are complex in their own right, but also because the failure to deliver a single part of a complex equipment move on time has the potential to cause extremely costly delays to the start of production at the new site.

Car assembly line or production line

The relocation of knowledge

There are several aspects to be considered in the relocation project and many stakeholders are affected. Once the relocation decision has been made, it is important that it is successfully implemented within the time frame and budget. It is obvious that the relocation of a manufacturing unit includes a number of tasks like the move of equipment, systems, and facilities. However, studies point in the direction that the most difficult part to transfer is knowledge and experience. The knowledge transfer is obviously one of the success criteria. 

The challenge of knowledge transfer increases considerably when the knowledge to be transferred is tacit. Naturally, tacit knowledge is more complex and harder to transfer than explicit knowledge. The basic knowledge about operating the equipment is relatively easy to learn for employees, but supplementary knowledge, such as skills to solve malfunctions, disturbances, and interruptions, is much more difficult and time-consuming to learn because these skills are mainly tacit. The knowledge transfer process is similar to most learning processes in a way that it activates people to be able to build up tacit knowledge and competences among employees.

It’s more than just moving production lines

There is a certain amount of institutional knowledge that accompanies almost any manufacturing line. Manufacturing is more than just a complex series of moving parts and a button that says go. Your insights and in-house processes that have developed over the years are just as much a part of the transfer as the equipment, and our engineers work closely with you to make sure it all comes over.