Productions standards are not unique to automotive manufacturing and are also an important criterion and are gaining a renewed relevance as the auto industry is transforming. Numerous electric vehicle startups are disrupting the markets but have less production experience when compared to the established brands. They need production standards to manage complexity, keep costs down and optimize time to the market. However, there are automakers in the markets that have little or no production standards, but they would need to adopt because of the growing competition.
Many big firms have realized that they need to revamp their existing and well-established production standards. Updates could refer to amalgamating regional standards into global standards to create more common operations worldwide. It can also include reassessing the rules to manage model complexity in a better and refined way, also streamlining machine designs and plant inventories to make plants more flexible.
Smart manufacturing is aiding all the automakers to address their challenges but can be successful when automakers have network, control and software standards in place.
Why is there a need to standardize?
Standardization delivers business benefits, and the newcomers in the market are learning this from their established counterparts who have known the market trends for decades.
• Standardizing components can help in reducing the number of suppliers the automakers work with and can assist in lowering the acquisition cost. In the long run, it can also help automakers in streamlining inventories, minimize support costs and simplify workforce training.
• Standardizing everything from machine control to process tooling and data naming conventions, automakers can synchronize all aspects of vehicle launches and can also reduce costly delays and chances of unexpected change orders.
• Standardization goes along with globalization. Automakers who wish to construct a similar vehicle are better equipped to do so when they have standardized machines, tools, techniques, networks, processes and software in place at every production level.
• For manufacturers who do not have production standards, the primary step is to establish a centralized engineering group. This group should include manufacturing, control and process engineers, who can aid in developing production standards and their focus should on developing rigid rules which will help in reducing the change orders arising from issues that weren’t addressed proactively.
• Data naming standards are essential which means that there must be a unique identification of any item so that it helps workers understand the data they are looking at.
• Automakers must create networks for the free flow of information across the enterprise.
Maintain and Improvise
Manufacturers are always ready to adopt new control and automation technologies with the hope of enhancing productivity. In this process, they need to understand that a technology-driven change requires that manufacturers move their whole organization towards that change to accommodate it. Beyond technology changes, manufacturers must evaluate their standards and improve them whenever needed. These evaluations should take place once in a month or at least once a week. Assistance from third-party service providers can also prove to be beneficial in strengthening their standards.