Implementation of Philosophies to Guide Car Manufacturers Towards Accomplishing their Targets
*Feature image sourced from: stage.autoweek.com
In the manufacturing practice, certain philosophies such as Monotsukuri, serves as a guideline towards accomplishing their targets. In this article, we take a look at a few practices that can help a car company to constantly stay significant in the automotive industry.
Integrated planning involves discussions about forward-looking products and technologies. This process usually involves the collaboration between key personnel from various departments such as product development, manufacturing, purchasing, and even suppliers working together to come up with a unified solution. By bringing together the various departments of a car company, they are able to mutually understand what each division is doing in a more accurate manner. Compared to usual planning, integrated planning focuses on sharing the same sense of values across each model, rather than developing each model individually. This enables flexibility across the models, giving manufacturers the freedom to produce various models of cars using a single assembly line.
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Through the integrated planning approach, the car development team are able to define two elements that allows shared features between various models – fixed area and variable area. Shape and structures that are common between each car models are grouped under fixed area while the elements that are specific to a particular model will be grouped under variable area. By implementing this practice, car manufacturers are able to improve volume efficiency by utilizing similar elements between each model. This allows various models to be produced within a shorter timeframe, which is attained through the usage of a single assembly line. The variable area enable car manufacturers to implement a flexible production concept. A flexible production concept allows product variations through technological innovations in the product design and structure, as well as in the production processes (standardization).
A famous car manufacturer that practices Monotsukuri is Mazda. According to Mazda, by using integrated planning defined in Mazda’s Monotsukuri innovation, key personnel from the company would often hold discussions as to what products and technologies Mazda should be aiming to develop for the next five to ten years, and closely collaborate with one another to achieve those aims. Using this approach, Mazda is able to define the structures that would be shared between several of these future models. In doing so, Mazda is able to establish a common architecture that would be used across several models with a single development concept.
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Through commonality and flexibility, car manufacturers will be able to produce parts for various models using the same tools, thus cutting down on resource wastage and also, time wastage.
Overall, commonality is achieved through integrated planning throughout product planning, design, development and production of the vehicle. This leads to a flexible production system that are based on a common architecture concept. Implementing a flexible production process enables manufacturers to handle changes in volumes and can quickly introduce new models with minimum investment costs.