Opel boss Hans Demant is set to increase outsourcing to reduce costs in Germany and to focus on 'core competencies'.

A report in German automotive industry magazine, Automobilwoche, said that Demant is outsourcing a number of key tasks that have traditionally been conducted in-house.

The magazine said that, according to internal documents it had seen, there are many specific recommendations for outsourcing. Furthermore, up to 50% of the 380 people employed in the purchasing department at Ruesselsheim (near Frankfurt) could be replaced by employees in lower cost countries such as eastern Europe or India.

This was apparently the recommendation of an external consultancy report by consultants Arriba, which also suggested that purchasing should become more centralised and that the Bochum purchasing department, which employs 17 people, should be merged with the Ruesselsheim operation.

Opel is reported to be looking for external partners for facility management, material and production control departments at Ruesselsheim.

At the Bochum plant one of the considerations is to find a joint venture partner to run training programmes. Fire-fighting and plant security, which employ 90 people, could also be outsourced, as well as the so-called business mall, with around 100 employees, which, amongst other things, assembles cockpits, prepares door interiors, and pre-assembles cooling systems.

In Kaiserslautern the complete service department, with around 600 employees, could be outsourced to Thyssen Krupp Serv or Johnson Controls. Indeed, it has already been confirmed that the post and printing department, with 115 employees will be outsourced to Pitney Bowes.

Earlier this year, Opel outsourced its tooling operations to the Austrian company TCM. The jobs have remained on-site but Opel is no longer the employer.

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