The 11th Automotive Lean Production Conference took place on 29th and 30th November at Robert Bosch GmbH in Blaichach/Immenstadt and the bigBOX Kempten. For the first time in the history of hosting, Bosch is the first automotive supplier as host of the congress.
The participants and winners were literally "live" to see how Lean and Industry 4.0 is implemented at Bosch and improve efficiency. Lean activities are the prerequisite to implement I4.0. Dr. Werner Geiger, Managing Director of Agamus Consult, share this opinion: "The establishment of Lean is the basis to make digitising processes more efficiently." The employees are the most important, both in Industry 4.0 and in Lean production. All winners presented the key success factors of their Lean processes and their current results. They emphasized that the (efficiency) progress was only possible because all employees, especially the management, were involved.
Johannes Lauterbach, commercial plant manager at the Bosch plant in Blaichach/Immenstadt, gave the advice for flexible processes, innovations and a precisely planned production: "Do not copy, but understand." What the plant manager means is an extremely organised and networked production process based on standardised plants and processes, supported by a in-depth understanding of production control, material flow and shop floor management.
“The methodology of the pearl chain is the real highlight of the variety of good ideas and solutions regarding Lean at AUDI Neckarsulm” the Lean Experts of Agamus Consult say. Traditionally pearl chains are broken by resequencing-buffers after body shop or paint shop in order to harmonise the optimisations of those sections with the pearl chain. In contrast to that, AUDI Neckarsulm starts the pearl chain six days before the beginning of the assembly and maintains it all the way through body and paint shop without resequencing-buffers. Taking the high complexity into consideration, the pearl chain stability of 98% is excellent. However, the real profit is not keeping the stability but achieving tangible results: Stable lead times, increased delivery reliability, lower space requirement and significant cost reduction – to put it in “Lean words”: Waste reduced!
„Getting it right first time“, that‘s the best way to describe the mentality of error prevention at Brose in Coburg. Outstanding produced quality results from a high understanding of processes in conjunction with high technical competence. The process of industrialisation is commanded nearly perfect and the symbiosis between customer and supplier for machinery and plant succeed masterly. Despite the brownfield conditions, the plant shy away from huge structural adjustments. So Brose was able to realise the optimal production- and logistic structure in the past which ensures the required efficiency.
“The wave” – that could be a suitable title for the journey the MöllerTech plant in Cwmfelinfach, Wales, has been on. After facing a sudden growth of turnover, waste (especially over-production and quality issues) increased until the management was forced to act. And the reaction was remarkable: Instead of abandoning the existing production system, that obviously didn’t make the plant work cost-efficiently enough, the plant management prescribed itself a “90 Day’s Live or Die”-program for a restart. Realising that a production system can’t be successful without an improvement culture, they focussed on that culture in a way, the jury has seldom seen before. Mobilisation of the entire workforce, mutual and lived respect and joint enjoyment of Kaizen are the key aspects.
The excellent arrangement and implementation of World Class Manufacturing (WCM) – the production system of the FCA Group – enable the started Industry 4.0-activities to work up for the plant Melfi. In this context it is important, that the FCA Group doesn’t separate Lean and Industry 4.0 but follows a holistic approach. Furthermore, the Industry 4.0 Roadmaps of the group and the plants are closely linked to each other. At Melfi plant, the New Plant Landscape (NPL) has been implemented as an “Extended MES” for the first time within the FCA Group. The employees are supported by a series of Smart Applications introduced along with the NPL. Examples include the Operator Terminal at each workplace, the Digital Quality Book, e-Cost-Deployment and Predictive Maintenance Applications. At Melfi plant, the jury sees a future-orientated symbiosis of Lean and Industry 4.0 and therefore awards the plant with the Special Award „Smart Digital Operations” in the category OEM.
The second special award „Smart Digital Operations“, this time in the category Supplier, goes to Bosch plant Blaichach/Immenstadt. The plant, that has been awarded for their „Innovative Plant Strategy“ last year, follows the path towards Industry 4.0 with a consistency , that –the jurors say – is unparalleled on TIER1 level. The basis for the already considerable maturity level of Industry 4.0 is again the excellent implementation of the Bosch Production System (BPS). In addition the plant follows a stringent strategy for a gradually development of Industry 4.0 at plant level as well as within the IPN (International Production Network). Today 14 plants and more than 6.000 machines and production lines are connected within the IPN. The data is collected and processed at a central MES that creates enormous leverage for new solutions on the one hand and guarantees sustainability for implemented measures on the other hand. In the role of the Lead plant within the IPN, Bosch Blaichach promotes this stringent and knowledge-based concept.