The Case Study takes place every year in the winter semester. Since the IPM students come from a variety of countries, the Case Study is always chosen to be an international project. The Case Study week allows the students to learn in practice about best project management practices, as well as to apply the theoretical learnings.
For the Case Study 2021/22 the students had the task to study the expansion of the production facilities of the German family-owned company Kärcher in Curtea de Arges in Romania. Kärcher operates worldwide and is leading in the production of pressure washers, window vacuum cleaners and other specific equipment. The site in Curtea de Arges in Romania, has a total area of 21.800 m2. Kärcher aims to expand the site in Curtea de Arges to increase the business for Eastern Europe. For this reason the aim of the case study was to conduct a feasibility study to examine different options for a site expansion.
Due to the Corona-19 Situation, travelling to Romania was not possible. However, the students still had the opportunity to conduct interviews in remote mode with some project participants. During the Case Study week, the students had individual virtual sessions with the Managing Director of the facilities, the responsible external project manager, the sustainability and production specialist from Kärcher, Electrical and HVAC specialists. However, the whole case study week had to be executed at the University Campus in Stuttgart.
The interview sessions gave the students the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the project planning process. They got to understand the future plans of Kärcher in Romania and the impact for the facilities.
The task of the Case Study was to create a new site-development strategy for the future expansion. This was a very challenging, yet motivating, opportunity for the students to proof their knowledge and PM-skills. The students divided themselves into different disciplines to optimize the outcome of the investigations. A holistic approach for sustainability, mobility, supplies, production, cost and schedule was developed to transform the current facility into an excellence center for Kärcher in Curtea De Arges, Romania. The future development might support Kärcher to increase production in Eastern Europe, as well as to create a market-leading research and development (R&D) for Kärcher.
At the end of the Case Study week, a final presentation of the proposal, in which all students participated, was conducted. The students discussed and clarified their ideas with the Corporate Real Estate Manager and the Managing Director of Kärcher in Romania. This development plan gives Kärcher the opportunity to decide between three alternatives, thus allowing them to choose the variation that fits their future plan the most, as well as all other logistic and financial aspects.
Together with the IPM Professors and the professionals from the Kärcher project, the students were hosted to a social evening, which offered a great networking opportunity. Despite the case study being digital, this whole experience allowed the students to interact and learn directly from project management professionals within the context of international projects.