Preparing for the new digital era
Roll-out Management team can rapidly develop systems and software
Through efficiency and flexibility towards globalisation
Simply Clever solutions
Changing mindset to secure the future
s part of the sixth action field, the PA – Roll-out Management team has evenly distributed car production among production plants and gained valuable experience integrating digital elements into new models.
Icebreaker in digitisation
The latest OCTAVIA model has been an enormous challenge for the roll-out team. Production started when the previous generation was still running at full speed, and the ENYAQ iV model was being prepared at the same time. “We relied on our prior experience with the SCALA software. Although updates were held up, we successfully rolled out the OCTAVIA model, including the number of cars required for market launch”, says Petr Kuba, head of PA – Roll-out Management. His team had to precisely synchronise the release of new software versions not only with suppliers but also with the Brand Logistics, Technical Development and Quality departments.
Thanks to new technologies integrated into our cars, we focus more on processes that occur dozens of months prior to the actual start of production.
New electric SUV
Currently, the PA team is preparing to start the ENYAQ iV model’s series production. It will be the brand’s first car to use the group-wide MEB platform for electric cars. “Apart from entirely different sheet metal body parts that are adapted to place the battery under the floor, this is a totally new electrical architecture based on control units centralisation. Basically, the whole car is operated by two computers, the brains of our new electric SUV”, adds Kuba. Currently, Roll-out Management is preparing a large number of verification series cars for the start of series production in the second half of the year. For these purposes, it is using E-Meisterbock testing for the very first time. “Hand in hand with upcoming eMobility, the project of a new Central Pilot Hall has also been approved, which is currently under construction and has a deadline for completion and handover in November this year”, he adds. (We will present both projects in the August 2020 issue of ŠKODA Mobil – red.)
The PA team is now preparing the roll-out of four different models (two SUVs and two sedans) as part of the INDIA 2.0 project. They will all be based on the MQB-A0-IN platform, which is specially adapted to the Indian market. “The high proportion of parts from local suppliers represents a big challenge to us. We are also intensively working on making pre-production cars of the first locally produced SUV, which was unfortunately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With a number of measures that were introduced in cooperation with colleagues from Pune, we managed to reduce the impact of the crisis to a minimum, and the project is carrying on successfully”, explains Kuba. The first verification car rolls off the assembly line in July this year, and at the end of the year, the start-up team will begin constructing a pre-production SUV for the Volkswagen brand.
Healthy costs at all times
The fifth action field of the FORCE program – Competitive Cost Structure – has gained even more importance this year. Production was discontinued due to the coronavirus pandemic. Every day, the carmaker lost major revenue from the sale of cars and parts, while at the same time it was left to deal with high financial costs (e.g. leasing payments, energy, staff). Therefore, it had to take significant reduction measures regarding all company expenses. The FCP – Controlling of Production and Logistics department met its 2020 targets in the cost and investment savings context, primarily by optimising production costs and inventory management. Improvements to technical changes also continued, and like last year, annual savings of EUR 1.9 million are expected. All the efforts are aimed at providing for the liquidity of ŠKODA AUTO and, thus, its ability to cover all short-term and long-term liabilities to partners. In order to support these efforts, the FC team developed a methodology to divide costs into four categories (see Cost reduction types).
Production costs started to be reduced at the Vrchlabí plant by using 3D printing technology. Instead of three machining tools, the plant needs only one. It has been able to reduce machine production times by 10.7 seconds per piece (22% reduction), has already recorded potential annual savings of EUR 10,650 in the machining process and also reduced the proportion of compressed air required for the given production process by 34 percent. Thanks to 3D printing, the PKD/16 – Tool Management department has quickly introduced special tools into the series. The prototype is made in one afternoon, whereas making a metal version the conventional way took 12 weeks. Additionally, it tests the prototype directly on a specific machine, thus revealing collisions and qualitative risks. RED