IT Business with Lean Principles

IT Strategies and Supply Chain with Lean Principles in Renewable Energy Companies and Organizations


This project scopes to investigate, analyze and implement lean technologies and methods to improve project development efficiency and provide cost reductions in offshore wind energy investments. Logically all products and services in the wind power industry involve a supply chain structure. Some of these upstream entities and activities located inside this multi-directional framework are completely independent-autonomous of one another while some are interrelated. This process through manufacturing, distribution, installation and operation creates waste in terms of process time, cost and quality of service. Lean principles-when implemented-work together to identify, mitigate or even eliminate the waste produced during the life-cycle of a wind power project and simplify the processes with the highest value and quality.

Through a complete life-cycle analysis and under the plethora of the integrated supply chain processes, this project focuses on developing innovative solutions and procedures to optimize offshore wind plants installation, operation and maintenance (O&M) as well as decommissioning-repowering. Finally a set of tools and methodologies to remove supply chain bottlenecks, address the associated transport, logistics and equipment challenges and improve project management are also presented. It has been shown that the wastes such as inventory costs and defects have been reduced which improves the overall project feasibility

 Industry Structure and Supply Chain

The rapid pace of offshore-wind energy projects around the world is leading wind turbine manufacturers and O&M service providers to search qualified, capable and experienced business partners and suppliers to meet customer demands and industry challenges. The relevant costs and risks associated with transportation, logistics and delivery time combined with the supply chain challenges, has created an opportunity for manufacturers and supply chain providers to gain high market share.

In less than a decade, gigantic shifts in wind power manufacturing competence have created “an integrated supply chain” for manufacturing competitiveness. Asia appears to be a protagonist among the world’s most competitive manufacturing markets — and its likely to hold this position in the next decades.
The development of a strong wind turbine supply chain takes a predictable path once flexible and nimble supply chain strategies for wind farm development are established. In the early stages of a project, Original wind turbine and Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) should set up their operations in a location that provides good accessibility standards (distance from shore, port facilities etc) - centralized enough to allow access to multiple wind farm developments - while ensuring maximum capacity availability and with a multi-skilled

Tier 1 suppliers, including tower, blades, nacelle assembly manufacturers and crane components follow, and finally, sub- component suppliers including nacelle components, control systems, metal fabricators, foundation components condition monitoring suppliers, enter the supply chain to support tier 1’s requirements and objectives. However, the wind industry supply chain is rapidly undergoing change. Some years ago, the supplier structure to wind turbine manufacturers was almost flat. During the past, the majority of the companies in the supply chain was directly related to the wind turbine manufacturers and regularly they had only one wind turbine manufacturer as a customer. Thus, there were limited interconnections and synergies between sub-suppliers.

The Supply Chain Structure Transformation

This has changed and the supply chain system is increasingly organised in a more sophisticated tiered supply chain structure [ See Figure]. Nowadays, the supply chain rely heavily on innovation, both in design and manufacturing methods and techniques. Wind power suppliers (tier one), design and develop innovative solutions to achieve greater component durability, longer service life and improved reliability as well as more cost-efficient processes.

Moreover, OEM’s take on responsibility for more than simply providing parts and components and increasingly become supplier of sub-systems
and services such as design, assembly and support to provide more value and build more lasting relationships with the wind turbine manufacturers.


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