How can auto manufacturers improve process design performance in the face of increased complexity? We surveyed over 150 people involved with manufacturing engineering and found that modernizing processes and technology drives higher automotive manufacturing engineering productivity and performance. These improvements are crucial to profitability in the transportation and mobility industry as customers demand high quality, more personalized products at increasingly faster time to market; all despite rising product and manufacturing complexity.
For related research, please read our Transforming Manufacturing in the Transportation Industry eBook.
Table of Contents
- Improve Manufacturing Engineering to Increase Profitability
- Address Process Designer Challenges
- Recognize the Opportunity
- Quantify the Potential
- Identify Performance Drivers
- Find Issues Earlier in Design
- Use more 3D and Simulation
- Use More Advanced Ways to Support 3D / Simulation
- Leverage More Integrated Solutions
- Use More Advanced Communication and Collaboration
- Top Performers Show the Way
- Recommendations and Next Steps
- About the Research
Improve Manufacturing Engineering Performance
Improve Performance in the Face of Complexity
How can manufacturers improve manufacturing engineering? We surveyed 177 people directly involved with manufacturing engineering and found that modernizing processes and technology drives higher manufacturing engineering productivity and performance. These improvements are crucial to profitability in the transportation and mobility industry as customers demand high quality, more personalized products at increasingly faster time to market; all despite rising product and manufacturing complexity.
Modernize Manufacturing Engineering
Survey results show that Top Performers in manufacturing engineering have increased maturity in the way they plan, validate, and communicate manufacturing operations. These leading companies waste less time on non-value-added activities, find issues sooner, and spend less on physical prototypes. They accomplish this through best practices, including:
- More advanced collaboration and communication methods
- Increased use of 3D and simulation to plan and validate manufacturing operations with virtual, digital twins
Improve Manufacturing Engineering to Increase Profitability
Product Profitability Relies on Speed, Cost, and Quality
Developing profitable products in today’s transportation and mobility industry is challenging. Manufacturers have to move quickly to out-innovate their competitors without sacrificing product cost and quality. Our research1 shows that achieving product development success relies on meeting a combination of targets. According to this prior survey, the top business success and profitability drivers include faster product development, lower product cost, and increased product quality. Each of these goals is challenging, and transportation and mobility companies need to meet them simultaneously.
Manufacturing Engineering’s Contribution
With that in mind, we investigated the role manufacturing planning plays in achieving these product development goals. Respondents indicate that efficiency, quality, and cost most drive product success and profitability. The two most commonly reported items, manufacturing engineering efficiency and first time quality, are valuable on their own. But it’s important to recognize that both impact the time it takes a product to reach the market. The third most commonly reported factor, manufacturing cost, directly impacts product profitability. These make improving manufacturing engineering efficiency and performance strategic.
Address Process Design Challenges
Manufacturing Engineers Face Increased Complexity
Manufacturing is more complex than ever. Complexity has increased in three areas; products, manufacturing processes, and markets. Today’s products are going through a dramatic transformation to electrification. The shift from internal combustion engines to electric drivetrains adds complexity and demands significant changes to design and manufacturing processes. Today’s production environment may include new processes such as battery cell production or industrial additive manufacturing. Finally, transportation and mobility supply chains are shifting production and reshoring as the industry is trying to cope with supply disruption. Despite these, manufacturing engineers need to decrease cycle times and improve quality.
Challenges Reflect Lack of Information and Ability to Optimize
Manufacturing engineers must overcome significant challenges to design and validate production processes. The most commonly reported challenge is untimely product design data. This hampers accurate, timely process design because planners can’t access trusted product details in time to optimize production plans and provide feedback on manufacturability. They also share challenges optimizing complex processes, which is likely becoming more complicated due to vehicle electrification.
In addition, respondents report challenges predicting the impact of their decisions on sustainability, inaccurate design information, visualizing assembly processes, and the time required to build prototypes.
Top Performers Show the Way
Top Performers Have Transformed
The Top Performers, those with higher performance in time to full production, quality, efficiency, cost, ergonomics, and worker safety, have adopted more advanced approaches to manufacturing engineering. The data shows that these companies have adopted best practices, including more advanced collaboration, 3D, and simulation. In addition, they leverage more integrated solutions for manufacturing engineering.
Top Performers Prove the Value
The Top Performers’ better practices correlate with better manufacturing engineering results. As reported earlier, the leading companies are more likely to find physical issues in product design where they can fix them without considerable rework. Researchers also analyzed benchmark data on the amount of non-value-added time companies spend in manufacturing engineering, the cost of physical prototypes, and the average number of physical prototypes required for a product.
Top Performers showed advantages in all of these statistics. Researchers found, for example, that Top Performers spend 17% less time on non-value-added manufacturing engineering work. Further, they spend over 50% less on physical prototypes than Others through a combination of fewer and less expensive prototypes. However, these cost savings are only a portion of the potential value available from transforming manufacturing engineering because they don’t include any other savings or revenue improvement from improved time to market.
Based on the benchmark results, researchers concluded that transforming manufacturing engineering with increased use of 3D and simulation to plan, validate, and communicate manufacturing operations leads to measurably better manufacturing engineering performance.
*This summary is an abbreviated version of the research and does not contain the full content. For the full research, please visit our sponsor Dassault Systèmes DELMIA (registration required).
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