Virtual solutions to real problems - JBA looks to bring production lines online

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Article publication date: 1 June 2000

Keywords

Citation

(2000), "Virtual solutions to real problems - JBA looks to bring production lines online", Assembly Automation, Vol. 20 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/aa.2000.03320bab.006

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited


Virtual solutions to real problems - JBA looks to bring production lines online

Virtual solutions to real problems - JBA looks to bring production lines online

Keywords: Internet, Production planning

Using the intemet to co-ordinate supply chains is the future of the automotive industry - according to Andy Brookman, Automotive Sector Leader at JBA. The only way for the industry to significantly improve production efficiencies and provide the flexibility that will be necessary in the next millennium, he argues, is to create virtual Kanbans that can provide production data in real time.

When boxes of supplies are running low, a card - a Kanban - is removed from the box and sent to the supplier, alerting them that another box of parts needs to be sent. This system is based on real consumption rather than an assumed usage. It would be possible to replace the card with a visual display on an internet site - potentially both quicker and cheaper.

"The automotive industry is conditioning its supply chain by distributing only planning information and not execution information", says Brookman. "If the industry wants to make greater strides in control, it must make execution information available. This will transform the supply chain into a demand chain - and the benefits to both the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and the component suppliers will be considerable".

Currently, the supply chain pushes its materials up the tiers to the OEM based on a pre-published production plan, an inefficient system that is inherently inflexible. To improve, the chain needs to be driven by faster and more accurate information based directly upon OEM demands. Making mission critical data available in the form of a broadcast from the OEM's production control system is the answer, according to JBA.

However, while OEMs must continue to inform the supply chain of their intent, real efficiency gains can only be made when this data is supplemented with more real time information - as Andy Brookman explains: "Supplying an OEM is similar to driving the cars they make - you need to watch the person in front of you to make sure you react according to the way they are driving. With a demand being visually represented on the Web, this would provide a huge opportunity for improving the supply chain, acting as a virtual Kanban. Sequenced broadcast information can be placed on a Website, allowing the supply chain to respond in real time to the precise needs of the OEM."

"Everybody agrees that an efficient supply chain is dependent on the sharing of information - the Web offers a realistic opportunity to create a chain that is completely demand led."