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Four Days of Hard Planning Work

Virtual factory planning in international planning teams

Students at the Faculty of Production Management participated for the first time in the international business game "FIT2011" for virtual factory planning in international planning teams. The planning game is based on a scenario that Prof. Dr.-Ing. Harald Augustin, a former employee of the University of Kaiserslautern, developed: "Since the summer semester of 2003, we, as a faculty of the Reutlingen University of Applied Sciences, have been a member of the university network for virtual factory planning, to which the universities of Karlsruhe, Perdue (USA), Warsaw (Poland), Helsinki (Finland) and Metz (France) belong in addition to the leading university of Kaiserslautern.

The aim of the simulation is to confront the students with a planning situation for factory planning based on real data, in which they can apply the methods and procedures learned during their studies. In addition, the students also learn how to work in interdisciplinary and international, culturally mixed teams.

To make matters worse, the teams are made up of students from the participating universities, so that they are dependent on the application of modern information and communication technologies, e. g. document management systems, collaboration tools, video conferencing systems, etc. A new addition this year is a software from the field of Virtual Reality (VR) developed in Karlsruhe (see picture), which simulates a planning room in which the team members can meet virtually at the same time and can place their machines and equipment in the virtual factory hall and optimise the flow of materials. "The development of the software to be used is constantly being advanced in order to always simulate an innovative and practice-oriented working environment," says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Harald Augustin.

The work done by the students was fascinating, as the teams worked together until early in the morning due to the time differences. After four days of hard planning work, the results were presented and evaluated by the teams via video conferencing in a virtual management meeting. The students' conclusion was very positive and everyone agreed that this was one of the most outstanding events in the entire studies. From the point of view of the supervising professors, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Harald Augustin concluded that “this positive feedback is of course a further incentive for us to further develop the planning game and to gain additional partners who are involved in the university network.”