FOR NEXT DECADES
INTERVIEW WITH MIROSLAV KROUPA, HEAD OF PS – BRAND MANAGEMENT AND FORCE PROGRAM GUARANTOR
Trough efficiency towards flexibility for globalisation
Simply Clever solutions
Changing mindset to secure the future
What do the action fields of the FORCE Program labelled F1 (Future Factory) and F8 (Green Future – Environment) have in common?
The automotive industry is on the threshold of an entirely new era. Individual mobility represents a challenge that we need to meet. The two fields have strong, future-oriented content that will help us to reach this goal. Although, at first glance, they may seem to contradict each other, only their gradual and mutually balanced connection will ensure the long-term and sustainable development of our company.
To what extent will the Future Factory affect operations in production plants?
As far as Industry 4.0 is concerned, it will be essential. Automation and digitisation will make work easier for people and impose higher demands on their vocational training. So we don’t have to worry about work. Just like many times in the past, occupational requirements are going to change, but we’ve always been able to retrain successfully.
We all perceive how society as a whole is changing its attitude towards the environment. How will automotive production be affected?
For this reason, the requirements for our products, including their impact on the environment, are also changing. The ŠKODA brand is fully committed to this social responsibility. We’ve already achieved a lot of success on the road to the Green Future. We are fully modernising the design of our products to reduce their carbon footprint. In the Production and Logistics department, we’ve significantly reduced the energy consumption per car by 38 percent and water consumption by 35 percent. Last year, we also reduced CO2 emissions per car by about 62 percent compared with 2010. These joint efforts can be summarised in Our Go to Zero strategy (see the August 2019 issue of ŠKODA Mobil), which is aimed at production and products having zero impact on the environment. RED
A powerful programme for our digital future
The action field called Future Factory focuses on establishing new digital tools to help employees become useful, make their daily work easier and, ultimately, increase production efficiency. This year, we are focusing primarily on dProduction projects, the standardisation of data-driven production processes, digital dispatching, online technology connections in the manufacturing of components and the use of artificial intelligence tools in logistics processes. The employees’ adaptation will also play an important role as far as digital transformation is concerned and will be supported by establishing MS Power BI Competence Centres and 3D plastic printing. The Digital Cloud Platform (DPP) represents the Group’s unique solution. It is an industrial cloud platform developed in cooperation with Volkswagen and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
This project combines data collection and the processing of machine data from equipment and Group plant systems to improve their production processes and significantly increase productivity. By applying these technologies, the VW Group is establishing its industrial cloud as a platform that is open to internal and external workers. In the future, it should be used by all 122 production plants.
The project also involves the Production and Logistics department, where the first users will include plant managers, planners, machine operators, maintenance managers, logistics foremen, quality and IT executives, developers and suppliers. The Czech carmaker is planning to pilot the project during the autumn in the Vrchlabí plant.
Fourteen devices from the entire production flow will be connected to the cloud platform to collect the data displayed to production workers in the form of well-arranged graphics on the digital panel. Later on, the carmaker will implement the project at the Mladá Boleslav and Kvasiny plants as well. RED
Green Future objectives
The Green Future – Environment action field aims to minimise the environmental impact throughout the lifecycle of products – from mining resources until the end of their life.
The key indicator is the UEP (reducing the environmental impact of production), which involves energy consumption and reducing the CO2 produced by consuming energy, as well as a reduction of the amount of production-related landfill waste, water consumption and volatile organic compounds, in each case per car. We want to improve this indicator by 2025 by 52.5 percent (compared with 2010) in all Czech and Indian plants and are actively working with our Indian colleagues to reduce other negative impacts on the environment.
Owing to the warm climate the past few years, sustainable water management is just as important. The lack of water poses a potential risk and could significantly affect production in the future; thus, the eighth action field focuses on saving, recycling and possibly retaining water.
A very important objective is to ensure carbon-neutral production at ŠKODA AUTO plants in the Czech Republic. One of the main measures will be the conversion of the ŠKO-ENERGO heating plant from coal burning to 100% biomass.
In addition to austerity packages and avoiding emissions, the carmaker is also focusing on compensation projects. “We compensate for inevitable carbon dioxide emissions on a global scale by investing in ‘green’ projects such as tree-planting and solar and wind power plant construction projects. Thus, we are trying to solve problems all around the globe”, says Miroslav Kroupa, Head of PS – Brand Management. RED