Siemens Electric Motor Works

2236 WordsNov 28, 20119 Pages
Ten years ago our electric motor business was in real trouble. Low labor rates allowed the Eastern Bloc countries to sell standard motors at prices we were unable to match. We had become the high-cost producer in the industry. Consequently, we decided to change our strategy and become a specialty motor producer. Once we adopted our new strategy, we discovered that while our existing cost system was adequate for costing standard motors, it was giving us inaccurate information when we used it to cost specialty motors. Mr. Karl-Heinz Lottes—Director of Business Operations, EMW SIEMENS CORPORATION Headquartered in Munich, Siemens AG, a producer of electrical and electronic products, was one of the world’s largest corporations.…show more content…
While a normal annual production volume for common components might be 100,000 units, a single component could have up to 10,000 custom variations that might have to be produced one at a time. To design a custom motor, modifications were made to a standard motor design. The process involved determining where standard components would not be used. These standard components were replaced by custom components that provided the functionality required by the customer. By 1987, the EMW strategy seemed to be successful. Of a total of 65,625 orders accepted, 90 percent were for custom motors. A total of 630,000 motors was produced (see Exhibit 1). Including all customized variations, Siemens EMW produced about 10,000 unique products that collectively required 30,000 different special components. Exhibit 1 Distribution of Orders Accepted for Production in 1987 Number of Motors 3% 630,000 9% >99 motors 44% 352,800 14% 20-99 motors 31% 157,500 26% 5-19 motors 13% 75,600 48% 2-4 motors 7% 31,500 1 motor 5% Number of Orders 65,625 CHANGE IN THE CALCULATION OF PRODUCT COSTS Beginning in 1926, EMW had used a product costing system. This system assigned material and labor costs directly to the products and divided overhead costs into three categories: material related, production related, and support related. Material-related overhead
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