Automotive and Support Industries

While automotive manufacturers employ complex plants with the capability to manufacture many different parts, they also require the help of a vast array of support industries. This complexity, coupled with the dynamic and competitive nature of the automotive markets, places an enormous stress on the planning processes of automotive manufacturers and support industries.

For automotive manufacturers, smoothing the flow of cars on assembly lines usually constitutes one of the main planning priorities. Furthermore, operations scheduling for other workshops to ensure that parts are supplied to the assembly lines on time with maximum efficiency is another important planning activity. Many different constraints such as sequencing constraints, supplier capacity constraints and maximum-minimum quantity per day constraints must be considered while generating a plan with desired characteristics.

For support industries, the process starts with identifying what has changed from the requirements received from the previous period and to determine whether any corrective actions are required due to identified changes. Then depending on the nature of the parts supplied and related manufacturing processes, assembly line based planning approaches such as production leveling and/or detailed factory operations scheduling approaches may be employed. For example, the operations of many different parts suppliers are dominated by injection molding and pressing processes. For such suppliers detailed factory operations scheduling can provide important benefits in terms of minimizing lost times and increasing throughput. The system must be able to handle many different operational limitations such as the availability of molds, the number of teams available for changeovers which may change depending on the shift and affects the number of possible changeovers to be executed simultaneously, the number of operators available which affects the number of machines that can be run simultaneously, minimum lot quantities and raw material availability. Furthermore, safety stock levels with different target levels (maximum safety stock level scenario, minimum safety stock level scenario etc.) must be considered while satisfying orders from OEMs with tight and constantly changing deadlines.

Due to the complex nature and the output of these planning processes, sometimes it may be difficult to understand the implications of a given plan. NovaLab’s planning software, xS Planner, provides interactive raw material requirements plan view with the help of an embedded MRP module in addition to warnings related to various aspects of the plan such as late orders and a dashboard for KPIs.

Factory Operations Scheduling

The factory operations scheduling module of NovaLab’s planning software, xS Planner, offers the interactive planning framework coupled with the fully automated or semi-automated optimization...
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