Case Detail

Case Summary

Solid as Steel: Production Planning at thyssenkrupp

Case Number: 5-215-250, Year Published: 2016

HBS Number: KEL942

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Authors: Karl Schmedders; Markus Schulze

Key Concepts

Control Systems, Decision Making, Engineering, Manufacturing, Performance Measurement, Productivity, Six Sigma, Statistical Methods, Supply Chain Management


thyssenkrupp Steel Europe, a major European steel company, operates a so-called push-pickling line (PPL) in Bochum, Germany. The PPL produces a particular type of steel strips that are sold to B2B customers, mainly in the automotive industry. In spring 2014, a senior vice president of thyssenkrupp Steel's production operations and one of his production managers notice that over the span of ten years the production facility regularly did not meet its planned production volumes. They set out to determine the drivers for the deviations from planned production figures with the ultimate goal to improve the production planning process at the Bochum PPL. Students will step into the shoes of Markus Schulze—a production manager at thyssenkrupp Steel—as he searches for performance drivers at the Bochum PPL and analyzes recent production data to build a forecasting model for production planning.

Learning Objectives

After reading and analyzing the case, students will be able to:

  • Identify planning problems in a production process
  • Evaluate explanations for deviations from planned throughput and explain why actual throughput fell short of the mark
  • Complete a comprehensive statistical analysis to determine key drivers in a production process that affect throughput deviations
  • Use a statistical framework to appraise additional factors that might affect a production process

Number of Pages: 9

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Operations

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: Germany

Industry: Steel

Organization Name: thyssenkrupp Steel Europe

Organization Size: Large

Decision Maker Position: Production Manager

Decision Maker Gender: Male

Year of Case: 2014