Real-time manufacturing control system
- Provides highest visibility and control in the industry
- Speeds assembly
- Enables customers to order the exact car of their dreams
NWN Designs a Real-Time Manufacturing Control System
- Industry: Automobile Manufacturing
- Location: Midwest, US
Client Snapshot: The manufacturer envisioned a showcase assembly line with sophisticated, new processes.
In mid-2013, NWN’s NSolve Applications and Data Services group was approached by a major automobile manufacturer to extend its assembly line control software to a brand new plant. The company’s Global Assembly Line Control (GALC) software is used in plants across North America to control the assembly line, collect data about the build process, collect and store defect data, and provide real-time, detailed analysis of the production progress.
The NWN team faced several challenges. The new assembly line was more technologically advanced than previous manufacturing lines. In order to produce one of the most advanced sports cars available at an appealing price, it called for sophisticated processes running at a rapid production rate. The manufacturer’s leaders envisioned a state-of-the-art control system that would not only manage the production of a world class vehicle, but would present a showcase to partners, customers and visitors alike.
NWN staffed the project with a global delivery team: US-based business architect and technical architect worked alongside the client to flesh out the requirements and design a solution. It organized development tasks into defined sprints for the developers in Beijing. As the team gained a deeper understanding of the design of the new production process, they began to identify gaps between the manufacturer’s explicit requirements and their expectations for the outcomes. The business was envisioning a leading-edge result, but was not defining the features and functions that would make it so.
To create the end solution envisioned by the manufacturer, NWN called the project team together—both the development team and the manufacturer’s experts. Led by NWN’s US-based senior technical architect, the team devised a solution that not only fit the showcase manufacturing process, but ultimately redefined the way the manufacturer thought about automobile assembly. the exact car of their dreams, choosing specific parts, colors and features. Unlike the usual “packages,” the customer can customize the car exactly as they wish.
The NWN team is now working to integrate GALC with the upstream sales systems to enable this industry-leading capability.
The outcome of the team’s solution was the next generation of GALC. It now includes real-time visual work instructions, complete with parts lists, photos and descriptions. It contains real-time data collection that can provide judgments on the spot and feedback to the associate performing the task. It readily tracks parts through multiple areas of the plant that will eventually come together to make a single vehicle. The manufacturer has an unprecedented level of control and visibility over this assembly process. The project was completed in December 2014.
Due to its success with the new assembly line process, the manufacturer is envisioning a new customer-centric sales option. The customer will be able to “build”
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