Automotive manufacturing engineering process development

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Quality and operations management (MPQOM), MSc
Ihrfelt, Axel
Johansson, Johan
A manufacturing engineering function acts as the link between R&D and manufacturing, and it must accommodate and balance the needs and requirements of both. In the automotive industry, requirements can change rapidly, and the function must be able to manage such change efficiently. With increasing market volatility, there is a constant demand to shorten development lead time and manage changes occurring in the development process. Strict requirements and demanding customers increase complexity, requiring the collaboration of people in different fields of knowledge to successfully meet the market demands. CEVT, acting as an innovation center for the Geely Group, need to continue to improve their development speed and flexibility to stay competitive in the market. The purpose of this study is to investigate possibilities and deliver concrete suggestions for lead time reduction within a manufacturing engineering function without compromising the output quality of the processes. Increased flexibility has previously been identified as a possible prerequisite to reduced lead time. To fulfill this purpose, three research questions were established. The first question aims to determine the critical path of the manufacturing engineering development process. The second question examines barriers to a more efficient manufacturing engineering process, focusing especially on the critical path activities. The third and final research question explores how the process can become more efficient and flexible. To answer the aforementioned research questions, the method applied uses qualitative data. The data is mainly derived from interviews with people in the organisation, both engineers, managers, and field experts. Existing process maps and descriptions along with useful data from the CEVT intranet are also used to establish a comprehensive view of the current situation. The study shows that the virtual analysis of manufacturability is the primary bottleneck activity of the process. It is the activity that is the most dependent on parties outside of the manufacturing engineering function and where efficient collaboration is essential. Inadequate communication, insufficient use of best practices, and cultural differences are identified as barriers in that they generate double or unnecessary work. Whereas the cultural differences mainly are important to be aware of, communication and work practices can be improved. Three possible areas of identified and discussed. A culture and mindset emphasising the benefits of continuous and direct communication need to be established. Work practices must be better adapted to the reality of the process and organisation. A more holistic organisational restructuring is also examined considering the interdependencies of manufacturing engineering and R&D. Important to underline is that the study focuses on improvements and not what already functions well within the organisation.
manufacturing engineering , critical path , agile product development , automotive industry , process efficiency , flexibility, , cultural differences , communication
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