Industrial production is characterized by design options diversity and increasing dynamic. Especially when the product spectrum is very broad and profound and the production facilities are located globally, today's optimization approaches often fall short. A consistent investigation starting from the market towards the product and right up to manufacturing is still the exception. Besides the product architecture, the challenge is to define and shape the production architecture considering the possibilities of Lean Management and Industrie 4.0.
We always start with a holistic approach: market requirements, product portfolio, process and organizational structures. The cooperation of different company domains must be increased significantly. Therefore, we always optimize production from this way of thinking. Detached optimizations always help only temporarily and not sustainably. Typical improvements that we achieve from this holistic way of thinking are reflected in essential KPIs: productivity, on-time delivery, lead time, quality and, admittedly not always hard to measure, satisfaction and acceptance.
The infrastructure of the Internet of Production (IoP)
In a project with a mechanical engineering company, the future production network for 2025 was to be developed. Various Footprint scenarios, production sites and value chains were analyzed and the most suitable ones were determined. For this purpose, the possible new and existing locations were examined with regard to cost structures, network structures and profitability. A sensitivity analysis to evaluate the robustness led to the selection of the ideal Footprint. The result was a 15 % cost reduction and an 8 % increase in the average capacity utilization in the production network. The amortization of the project was achieved within less than two years.
At a German automobile manufacturing company, the introduction of lean management methods and the implementation of Kaizen trainings and workshops in the vehicle assembly resulted in short-term savings in double-digit millions. For this purpose, the performance tracking tool was modified accordingly, a train the trainer concept was implemented and the actions were successfully implemented in coordination with the Worker’s Council.
In the case of a mechanical and plant engineering company with several brands, a new common product architecture and a new common production architecture should be developed for a specific product range. Derived from the requirements of the market, the positioning of the different brands and the requirements of the value chain, the architectures were developed and implemented. The result was a 12 % cost reduction and a reduction of the lead time by more than 20 %.