"Made in Germany" is Flourishing Industry 4.0 Brings Mobile Phone Production Back to Germany

Gigaset GS185 - the first smartphone produced in Germany
Made in Germany. The GS185 is available from July, e.g., in Gigaset's online shop.

Industry 4.0 should also revive production "Made in Germany" for ICT goods. This resolution seems to work.

About ten years after Nokia withdrew its last mobile phone production plant from Germany, Gigaset's GS185 is once again being used to produce a mobile phone in Germany: "Production in line with Industry 4.0 enables us to develop new business models. The human-robot collaboration of production and the automation that we are driving forward play an important role here. This enables us to achieve the high quality that makes us competitive with manual mass production in Asia," explains Reinhold Kempkes, Head of Production at Gigaset, to Markt&Technik. "At the same time, we can meet the wishes of the market and offer an individualized offer of the greatest flexibility."

Despite being manufactured in Germany, the new mobile phone "made in Germany" with an RRP of 179 euros is anything but "high cost" and no more expensive than competing products from other manufacturers in Asia in this performance class. With smartphone production, Gigaset is taking up the experience and new possibilities that the company has been making in the highly automated production of cordless landline telephones for several years. "The result is a cycle of experience and possibilities that ultimately becomes our competitive advantage and unique selling point for telecommunications technology from Germany," emphasizes Kempkes.

According to Kempkes, the use of software also plays a decisive role in highly automated production: "This enables us to include all phases of the product life cycle, i.e., from development through production, use and maintenance to potential recycling.”

Ten years ago, the boom of relocation to "low-cost countries" reached its peak, affecting ICT goods in particular. As they are subject to very strong price pressure, there often seemed to be no alternative to a transfer of production from the companies' point of view. In many places, the possibilities of highly automated production and a breathing supply chain were still not sufficiently known or did not fit into the concept. The relocation to Asia was simply "en vogue". Purchasing agents from some large companies even had to meet a contractually agreed low-cost country quota. In 2008, 3000 jobs were lost because Nokia had relocated its mobile phone production from Bochum to Romania. There, mobile phones were assembled from imported prefabricated parts. Shortly afterwards, Nokia also closed this plant and completely relocated to Asia, as wage costs and assets became more expensive in Eastern Europe as a result of the EU expansion.