Global Production Networks

We offer approaches, solutions, and the latest research results to address your challenges in the field of global production.
"Think global, act local... or global? Focussing on the plant-level and advancing local skills and know-how, or developing a global production network that integrates globally dispersed sites: Contradicting challenges and incompatible tasks?"
Managing global production is more than optimizing single sites. It is about unlocking the potentials of the whole production network. International studies show that improving the network structure offers significantly higher returns than optimizing individual sites. A fit between global production strategy, network configuration and network coordination is the key-prerequisite for a well-organized production network. Our science-based and practice-proven production network management approach builds the basis of many companies’ global production activities.
Challenge your production network with our Production Network Quick-Check.

Learn more about working with us in the field of Global Production Networks

Consulting Projects – Advance your production network

Our science-based production network management approach provides the tools and methods for all our consulting projects. It has proven its usefulness and applicability in our assessment and optimization of more than 65 production networks.

Our experts and consultants are keen to apply their experience from research and practice projects to your production network. You may profit from their knowledge through detailed assessments, benchmarks, and tailored workshops. In an individual project, we guide you through your global production strategy elaboration, your production set-up configuration, and your coordination of dispersed production sites towards effective and efficient network management.

Read more about our consulting projects in the area of production networks.

Benchmarking Projects – Compare yourself to others and learn from the best

Our proven benchmarking process supports you and your company in identifying improvement potentials in the fields of global production management, digitalization of manufacturing and operations management in general. Together with other companies, you constitute a consortium that defines the exact topic and benchmarking questions according to your needs.

We organize the whole process including questionnaire design, survey evaluation and site visits at successful practices. Thereby you learn in a practice-driven and scientifically-validated way how others succeeded in solving your problems.

Read more about our benchmarking projects.

Research Projects – Develop innovative approaches and solutions with us

As a university institute, we are not only eager to contribute to real-world applications in companies but also to advance the scientific frontier. However, since our research focus is on global production networks, we collaborate with such companies for research purposes as well.

Both industrial companies and public organizations fund our research projects. In general, these projects do not directly generate additional revenue or cost savings for collaborating companies. Instead, they support them in understanding their decisions in a better way and in laying the groundwork for future initiatives and optimizations. Take the chance to shape the future of global production networks together with us.

Read more about our research projects in collaboration with industry.

Global Production Academy - Exchange with two research institutes and our industry partners

In 2022 we started our Global Production Academy in collaboration with the KIT. With two leading research institutes led by Prof. Friedli (St.Gallen) and Prof. Lanza (Karlsruhe) and currently 7 multinational companies, we discuss the current challenges within global production networks and work on solutions, commonly.


Each of our exchange days includes a unique exchange between practitioners and researchers consisting of keynote presentations, discussions, workshops, shopfloor tours, and network sessions. The program is complemented by a get-together on a respective evening before the exchange to get to know each other personally.



Read more about our Global Production Academy.


News & Projects

View all our news and projects in our archive.

1. Joint Meeting of our Innosuisse Project: Ecosystem-Based Steering of Global Production Networks

On July 4th, 2023, we, together with our partners,held the first joint meeting of our Innosuisse-funded project Ecosystem Based Steering of Global Production Networks. 

Final Presentation of Our Innosuisse Project: Triple R - Resilience, Robustness, and Responsiveness for GPNs

On May 17th, 2023 we, together with our partners, held the final presentation of our Innosuisse-funded project Triple R - Resilience, Robustness, and Responsivenss for Global Production Networks. We are happy to finish another successful resarch project. 

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Global Production Academy 2023: Site Visit at Julius Blum GmbH

After our joint Kickoff at the KIT in Karlsruhe we had our first site visit at Julius Blum GmbH in Austria directly at the Lake Constance. BLUM is an international manufacturer of furniture hardware and has therefore highly automated processes at its production facilities worldwide. With it's 8 sites in Vorarlberg (Austria) it was really impressive to see how a global company, being active in more than 120 countries, can run its major production cost efficiently in Central Europe.

In joint discussion rounds with our consortium together with CLAAS, FACC, HOMAG, MTU Aero Engines, Balluff, PERI, Miele, our host BLUM and our research partner the wbk Institute of Production Science (wbk-KIT) we could collect and define valuable successful practices  under the topic of Centralization vs. Autonomy in Global Production Networks.

We kicked off our Innosuisse-funded Research Project on Ecosystem-Bases steering of Global Production Networks

On the 22nd of March 2023 we, together with our partners, kicked off our next Innosuisse-funded project Ecosystem Based Steering of Global Production Networks. By that, we continue our efforts of our successfully completed Innosuisse-project Intelligence-based manufacturing networks.

Our Team

Prof. Dr. Thomas Friedli
Professor of Production Management

Director ITEM

Division Production Management

Jens Kaiser
Research Associate & PhD Candidate
Fabian Specht
Fabian Specht
Research Associate & PhD Candidate
Benedikt Saretz
Research Associate & PhD Candidate
Foto_Karl Schalm
Karl Gerhard Schalm
Research Associate & PhD Candidate

Global Production Networks Newsletter

The Global Production Networks newsletter provides you occasionally with the latest information about our research topics and upcoming projects.

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