Shutting the door on supply chain bottlenecks
The road to launch was bumpier than expected. The process should have been swift and seamless. Our client’s body shops are 100% automated. In assembly, robots connect the supplier hang-on parts without any human intervention to the body of the car with exquisite speed and precision. To meet the targets for on-time delivery, a door would need to be produced from the suppliers production line every 76 seconds and sent just-in-time. Yet, something was holding up the process in the launch phase. Engineering changes, quality control issues and inefficient robotics combined to bring things to a halt. Ad hoc and inconsistent processes across both the supply chain and seven different product lines made it difficult to pinpoint problems and monitor adherence to performance requirements. Creating greater transparency and enhancing communication would be critical to improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), meet delivery targets and avoid plant shutdowns.
“The launch readiness journey has become increasingly complex. It was gratifying to be able to help our client create a mechanism for measuring the production system, improve information flows and achieve target line performance levels.”
A data-driven approach to launch readiness problem-solving
Our PwC Strategy& team had worked closely with the car manufacturer on an earlier supply chain challenge and had developed a strong relationship with plant leaders and managers from both companies. When a new, more complex challenge occurred with a second supplier, plant managers asked our team to begin problem-solving with them proactively much earlier in the process and to help them develop a broader strategy to improve operational performance, apply lessons learned and avoid the problems they had experienced in the past.
We reached across PwC’s global network to engage professionals in production performance, data modeling and analytics. It was important to work as quickly as possible -- preventing down time on the shop floor was essential -- and to create a solution that could serve as a global standard going forward that would be applicable for work with any supplier. Performance benchmarking would help us plan to meet, and even exceed, targets.
To support key decision-making, plant managers would need a holistic and consistent view of operational data in near real-time. How much inventory is on hand? Who’s accountable for it? Are the parts on track for on-time delivery? Are there enough containers to support this speed and volume? It is possible to maintain or reduce cycle time? Are the production assets meeting daily performance targets? What is causing the downtime, and how can we eliminate the bottlenecks? Integrating extensive data from three ad hoc systems across seven product lines, we leveraged our experts in software programming and data analytics to create a single, automated report. Plant managers and supervisors can work from the same view and measure performance based on consistent data. Our solution leveraged the company’s current state IT infrastructure and tools already in place, allowing us to fast track design and implementation of the new reporting tool. The customized reporting tool we designed has provided a new model for our work going forward with suppliers across the country.
Winning the race to deliver
PwC Advisory Director, PwC US