Success Factors for Ramp-Up Management in the Automotive Industry
The number of series ramp-ups continues to rise in the automotive industry. Increasing demands for innovation, shorter product life cycles, the increasing diversity of models and variants, and new technological developments (key word: e-mobility) are increasing the complexity of products and processes within manufacturing. The focus of plant designers is increasingly shifting to ramp-up management as a result. Performing this task properly requires experienced project teams as well as standards, rules, and processes that ensure an orderly launch of production. And a partner who masters all these processes and interfaces.
A ramp-up starts far before the first vehicle
The goal of ramp-up management consists in being able to manufacture products of the right quality at the right time and in the planned quantities. There are numerous tasks to overcome in order to achieve this goal, from plant, budget, and quality issues through to the integration of the construction schedule into production planning. This laborious process usually holds numerous internal and external stakeholders in suspense for 12 to 24 months.
An orderly and timely series ramp-up can only succeed when experienced ramp-up teams proactively create the organizational conditions at the right time and see themselves as part of a larger entity. Businesses can only rarely build such teams because daily business leaves the required resources unavailable in sufficient measure – yet series production of the current model ultimately continues without slowing down.
For this reason, ramp-ups are in many cases overseen by newly composed teams who must readjust to project-specific challenges when the project is already underway. At the same time, they experience heavy time pressure. Such teams frequently overlook important roles and responsibilities and often do not have sufficient freedom for proactive preparation in everyday business. This produces misunderstandings, delays, and challenges that negatively impact all areas of ramp-up management. For example:
- Organization charts are not published in time. The roles, tasks, competencies, responsibilities, and deployment dates have not been defined in step with the lead time needed organizationally.
- Budget issues have not been conclusively resolved. Changes to the product or processes often result in new budget situations – and delays.
- IT infrastructures are not connected and ready for use in time. This delays execution and the communication ability of highly automated process landscapes. It also makes the maturity-level transparency more difficult.
- The ramp-up managers lack an appropriate risk appraisal. Troubleshooting and fault recovery cost more time than necessary if things escalate.
- Employees do not commit to the internal and external interfaces, whether out of ignorance, excessive ambition, or inexperience.
A toolbox for successfully designing a new series ramp-up
Our consultants have actively guided many ramp-ups in recent years, both in classic car making as well as in e-mobility and battery manufacturing. This experience has flowed into a toolbox that we quickly and easily adapt to the requirements of a vehicle project. It contains relevant tools that are needed to design a new series’ ramp-up:
- Standardized ramp-up methods and approaches make it possible to improve existing concepts in a fast, target-oriented manner, even during an ongoing project.
- Transparent information and communications systems simplify the cooperation between OEMs, suppliers, plant manufacturers, and other stakeholders right from the beginning.
- A thorough risk assessment defuses all the factors that could negatively impact your ramp-up.
- Variable KPIs in each stage of the project serve as quantifiable target values that all stakeholders can use as a basis. With professional factory-floor management, we visualize all relevant performance indicators neutrally and based on facts.
- Extensively planned and orchestrated functionality, stress, and availability testing ensures resilient, high-performing plant technology step by step.
- Systematic project management creates the framework for a ramp-up’s success. We support you with the establishment of a project-management office (PMO) using clearly defined standards and responsibilities – actively, collaboratively, competently, and with agility.
- Our task-force teams ensure the focus that is needed for the exceptional challenges.
- A successful ramp-up incorporates the entire value chain, which is why we can also use our quality and supply management to always ensure a consistent assessment of upstream process steps outside your own direct area of influence.
We support you at all stages of your ramp-up project
From the installation of production equipment through to the maximization of production and peak output. By doing this, we ensure that your product meets its time to market and can make for new customers and market share. Our consultants are active in many locations around the world, including countries such as Mexico, China, and the United States. That means if you need support, we can help you carry out ramp-ups that are planned in Germany and executed abroad. We factor in the local cultural differences, going far beyond just the language barriers.