Truck Assembly Plant Expansion
One of the bestselling and most profitable vehicles for a global automotive manufacturer was nearing the end of its product lifecycle. Retooling all lines in the assembly plant was required to manufacture its replacement model. However, due to the existing plant layout and floor space constraints, it was not possible to continue vehicle assembly and retool simultaneously. As we already supported the Owner in project management, engineering and materials management services for the current program, the Owner approached us to help develop a solution for this challenge.
We conducted a feasibility study with the Owner to assess footprint, build schedule and materials flow requirements for all vehicle style / and option content. Based on the study, we calculated that sufficient floor space could be freed to enable retooling and new equipment installation by outsourcing 35 bays of material storage for small parts from the body shop area to an adjacent warehouse. As the warehouse was located on the opposite side of a railroad track set, a bridge over the rails would need to be constructed to connect the warehouse with the assembly plant.
Since this idea involved additional capital infrastructure costs and significant changes to current materials and logistics processes, we developed and proposed a strawman model to the Owner for evaluation. Through collaborative efforts with the Owner, the model was refined and adopted for implementation, wherein lines would wind down and be retooled one at a time in sync with the production schedule. As Owner’s Representatives, we were responsible for:
- Creating a custom software model to calculate footprint requirements throughout each stage of the project
- Overseeing the construction of the bridge which connected the warehouse and assembly plant
- Developing and integrating cross-dock solution at the warehouse with a modified production pull system to support just-in-time requirements as body shop operations leaned or lagged
- Optimizing cross-docking and sequencing operations, working with the client to define and manage new logistics requirements for dollies, containers, storage racks, packaging design, pack quantity and release schedule training operators and supervisors for new materials handling procedures
- Project Management
- Construction Management
- Contract Management and Administration
- Claims Analysis and Dispute Resolution
- Project Change Management
- Safety Assurance
- Civil/Structural Field Engineering
- Mechanical Field Engineering
- Electrical Field Engineering
Production lines were successfully retooled one at a time and the cutover to the new vehicle program was seamless. The software model we developed to calculate footprint became patented by the owner and was deployed for use at other production facilities. Our efforts were recognized by the owner with an Outstanding Launch Support award.