Rompa rethinks manufacturing strategy

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Photo by Britax Römer Children's bicycle seat produced by Britax Römer

Dutch plastics manufacturer Rompa Group has announced it is building a new production site in Germany, which is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2018. It is a marked change of direction: over the past decade, the Group has dismantled all production activities in the Netherlands and moved these eastward to Hong Kong, various locations in China, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. According to Rompa Group, the time is now ripe for what it calls local-for-local production, which in this case means that the new site will specifically service the German market. To be more precise, initially one customer in the German market: Britax Römer, a manufacturer of, among other things, car seats and bike seats for children.

Rompa has entered into a ten-year business alliance with Britax Römer to produce a variety of plastic components for that company’s children’s car and bicycle seats, including the seat ‘shells’ – relatively large products that are difficult to transport, and that are currently produced in the Czech Republic.

Rompa purchased the land next door to Britax Römer’s production site in December of 2017 and it is here, in Leipheim, Germany, that the new facilities are being built, to “allow us to deliver the products both faster and less expensive,” said Rompa Group CEO Patrick Gerard.

The two plants will be connected by an underground tunnel, through which a special train will run to transport components to Britax Römer.

With a total floor area of 4,500 m2, the new plant will be equipped with five large injection moulding machines with a clamping force of 1,200 tons. The site will initially employ twenty to twenty-five people.

Production at the new plant will be organised according to the just-in-sequence principle, which means that products are delivered in the right quantities at the right time and in the correct sequence - so they can move directly onto Britax Römer’s assembly line.

“This requires strict planning and close logistics collaboration. Coordinating this process is entirely in the hands of our logistical experts in the Czech Republic,” said Gerard.

The new site in Germany will make use of Rompa CZ’s specialist expertise in other ways as well, he added.

“We focus solely on production here. Supporting services, such as order entry, billing and purchasing raw materials, will be handled from the Czech Republic as much as possible.”

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