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Case Study: The World In Motion Wind Turbine Company, 20081 - page 2 / 11





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Case Study: The World In Motion Wind Turbine Company, 2008

(Disclaimer: all references to the World In Motion Wind Turbine Company and employees are fictitious)

Abstract: The U.S. wind turbine manufacturing industry is experiencing explosive growth in demand for its industrial-scale product, with 45% growth in 2007 on the base of installations from 2006. How does a start-up in this industry handle suppliers and transportation in the short run, while considering all options for long-run global supply of critical components?

Key Words: Wind Industry, Global Procurement, Capacity Constraints, Collaborative Transportation Management, Organizational Structure

In January 2008, Jackson Brown was dealing with a problem he could have never imagined back when he worked in the automotive industry. There, when he made a request of his suppliers, they took his words as a pronouncement from the Oracle at Delphi. Six months ago, he left a comfortable management position at one of the big three car manufacturers in Detroit and moved to Omaha, Nebraska, to take the promotion of a lifetime to Senior Executive Vice President of Supply Chain for the World In Motion Wind Turbine Company (WIM), which had just started operations in 2006 after a successful IPO that raised $300 million. Now, the situation with his new suppliers has changed significantly. When he succeeds in getting the sales representatives of his most critical suppliers on the phone, he feels as if they want to get him off the phone as quickly as possible, so they can go do something more important: like play golf!

It was clear that his suppliers were making money as fast as they could make parts, but the problem was that most of the parts were going to Jackson’s competitors with headquarters in Europe. The main exception to that rule was even worse from the perspective of WIM; the suppliers seemed to keep GE well stocked with everything from bearings to castings as well as blades and generators. A conglomerate, GE is the major player in wind turbine manufacturing in the U.S., with a 45% market share (see Chart 2 on page 8 of http://www.awea.org/Market_Report_Jan08.pdf ), and in a close race for 2nd largest in the world. The Danish pure play, Vestas, has a dominant 28% share of the world wind turbine market today, but is fighting the German conglomerate, Siemens, for the number two position in the

  • U.

    S. (see Figure 5 in http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy07osti/41435.pdf ). The top 6 players in the

  • U.

    S. market for 2007, in order starting with the largest producer, were GE, Vestas, Siemens,

Gamesa, Mitsubishi, and Suzlon. Globally, the largest 6 players for 2006 were Vestas, Gamesa, GE Wind, Enercon, Suzlon, and Siemens.

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