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Winners 2019

This time it will be a group of four that will be honored in November 2019 as part of the Automotive Lean Production (ALP) Congress organized by Agamus Consult and Automobil Produktion.

OEM: CNH Industrial, Iveco, plant Valladolid, Spain

„They always blaze new creative paths” – this is how the culture in the Valladolid plant can be described. 

Although already having a very high value stream performance – Valladolid was awarded the WCM Gold status in 2019 – they are not satisfied with the existing and proven things. Certainly, the refinement of the existing and proven World Class Manufacturing (WCM), the FCA Group production system is being pushed further and further. As in all of the FCA Group plants that have been evaluated by us so far, the absolute focus lies on the elimination of waste, leading to the Cost Deployment WCM module. 

Costs: Every year, the plant has to eliminate 6% of waste from the processes. This is relatively easy in the first few years, but after more than 10 years, this objective for a "1-Deviate plant" can not be achieved unless you break new ground.

The plant has been actively working on the Ideal Production System since 2017. For this purpose, there is a separate strategy room where all the leaders of the WCM module get together to shape the plant's future. Innovative approaches such as the honeycomb Ideal Production Layout have been shared with the evaluation team. The room is accessible to all employees and, not least because of this, is visually designed. This is also where the plant's strategy is communicated to all the employees. In this context, the evaluation team was especially pleased by the large strategy wall including the 3 dimensions Customer & Product (KPIs: Market Share, Warranty), Process&Technology (KPIs: Plant Savings, Best Practices) und People (KPIs: Suggestions for improvement, Fluctuation, Awards) as well as the link to the individual roadmaps of the individual WCM modules. 

The evaluation team also was enthusiastic about the Soft Skill Academy. It was initiated against the background of the VUCA Environment (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) to develop the soft skills of all employees (all areas/all levels) so that cooperation (communication, teamwork) improves, the employees actively approach changes, thus achieving the plant's objectives more effectively.

The Valladolid plant is "Best Practice Leader" in the CNH Industrial Group. Although far from being the plant with the most employees, it is the plant that generates the most best practices for other plants and, also uses the most best practices of other plants. This not only applies to intelligent low-cost solutions such as one of the smartest assembly trolley seen so far, but also to apps or complete software applications (e.g. maintenance), some of which were developed by the specialist departments on their own initiative. 

The Valladolid plant is doing very well when it comes to taking advantage of the opportunities offered by Industry 4.0 without abandoning lean principles. Virtual Reality has been introduced for training purposes since 2017 and has been rolled out with great success ever since. The virtual compass room as control centre of cost deployment always provides current data from production and logistics – to the greatest possible extent synchronized with the ERP data. The use of intelligent AGVs and additive manufacturing processes is standard in the plant and nothing particularly unusual.

Last but not least, the spirit of the management team that is transferred to the team, should to be highlighted. Without this spirit, the successes of the past would not have been possible. Thanks to that, we can look forward to many best practices from the Valladolid plant.

 >> Portrait of the winner (312 KB)

Supplier: SAS Automotive s.r.o., plant Bratislava, Slovakia

The impact of a well thought-out lean roadmap on the plant and its facilities, production processes and, above all, the people who work in them, is impressively demonstrated in the SAS-JIS plant in Bratislava.

Driven by a direct logistical JIS connection to the VW main customer plant in the immediate vicinity, an almost unprecedented variance in the features of the modules produced, a directed parts rate of more than 90%  of the individual components, constant integration of new or changed scopes are just some of the challenges that need to be mastered continually.

Based on the realization that a production system can not be successful without a culture of improvement that is practised and demonstrated from the top, those responsible show in a convincing manner: 

On the one hand, cooperation is characterized by clearly defined responsibilities and, on the other hand, by regular, creative coordination and optimization meetings. 

The basis for this is a consistent, key-figure-driven way of thinking and acting according to the guiding principle that problems have to be tackled depending on their urgency or according to the Pareto principle. This is also an indication that the transparency is a central high-priority element of lean. 

The example of the online or centrally supported shop floor management round with active access to all active Kaizen and key production figures shows this high level of transparency and ensures that you focus on the right thing.

"The way in which this shop floor management is part of the management and qualification culture at the Bratislava SAS plant, it is a powerful tool that delivers what it promises in a well-prepared environment: To become excellent in terms of lean and leadership.

The aforementioned product complexity with its incredible number of component variants inevitably leads to corresponding unavoidable cycle spreads and thus highly volatile work contents; and this is reflected 1:1 in efficiency losses. 

As Tier1 you cannot tackle this by defining appropriate restrictions or optimizations of the program sequence. It it is important in this regard to make the most of these specifications. SAS demonstrates this in an impressive way: highly flexible equipment technology, an intelligent combination of human and machine use, partly in-house designed handling and logistics equipment, digital assembly instructions, a large number of in-house developed Poka Yoke solutions with intelligent use of digital elements and, last but not least, a far-reaching versatility as far as the employees are concerned enable a smooth, load-harmonized and space-optimized production.

These solutions just described show once again that selecting the use of new digital possibilities is not about their fascination and what would be potentially possible with them per se, but about the question where digitization can continue to improve efficiency in production and, thus make the plant sustainably competitive.

The jury sees the SAS Bratislava plant as a forward-looking symbiosis of Lean and Industry 4.0, driven by a highly motivated and dedicated team. 

The plant is therefore awarded the Automotive Lean Production Award 2019 in the "Supplier" category.

 >> Portrait of the winner (312 KB)

Special Award "Smart Digital Application": ŠKODA AUTO, plant Kvasiny, Czech Republic

In recent years, the Kvasiny plant has undergone the biggest modernization and expansion of their more than 80-year history. They continuously optimized the production in order to use the plant's capacity to the best advantage. To put it in the words of SKODA AUTO Production and Logistics Director, Mr Michael Oeljeklaus: "In 2018, we exceeded the mark of 300,000 vehicles produced at our Kvasiny plant for the first time. The production record shows clearly: With a highly competent workforce and state-of-the-art technology, the plant is well prepared for the future as a multifunctional centre of excellence in manufacturing."

In the context of Industrie 4.0, this certainly includes the use of digital applications to increase efficiency in the entire production environment. The Skoda employees impressively demonstrated this to the evaluation team through the dProduction piloted at the Kvasiny plant. In the dProduction project, the previously separate data worlds of planning and line were brought into accordance. dProduction consists of the four integrated modules:

  • Visualization of Complexity
  • Digital Team Work
  • Digital Work Instruction

The highlights of dProduction are the following:

  • Role-specific training of employees using virtual reality
  • Digital and multilingual provision of work instructions at the assembly workplaces
  • Targeted digital query and confirmation of test steps
  • Online visualization of assembly workplace assignment on the tablets of the assembly line managers
  • Digitized shop floor management

In addition to dProduction, there are many other smart applications, e.g. "mobile by maintenance" in maintenance or "pick by watch" in logistics.

"Simply clever" - this slogan by Skoda also perfectly matches the Kvasiny plant's smart digital applications. The jury was impressed by the pragmatic and stringent implementation of dProduction within a very short period of time and with a manageable budget. The result is an outstanding cost-benefit ratio. This was only possible because the involved Skoda employees invested a lot of heart and soul in their project. Not least for this reason, the evaluation team is convinced that the Kvasiny plant is well prepared for the future and will continue to make the most of the opportunities offered by digitization.

 >> Portrait of the winner (312 KB)

Special Award "Lean Transformation“: Magna Auteca GmbH, plant Weiz/Klagenfurt, Austria

Magna Auteca is the competence centre for actuators in the Magna Spiegel Group. The products developed and manufactured by Magna Auteca are used in various applications (including mirrors, lighting, cooling and ventilation) in the automotive industry. 

The two plants in Weiz/Styria and Klagenfurt/Carinthia are managed by one plant management. While the plant in Styria has a relatively high percentage of manual assembly activities, assembly in Carinthia plant is highly automated. The sporting competition between the plants leads to new ideas for improvement and drives the performance of both plants up. The management ensures that improvements are used equally in both plants.

Magna Auteca started their lean transformation with an employee training in 2011. According to the former orientation of the production system (housekeeping!), occupational safety and 5S were of primary importance.

There was a real boost for the plant in 2014, starting with the consistent implementation of the new MAFACT production system. Within the European locations of Magna, the two plants in Weiz and Klagenfurt reached the top position in 2017 and 2018. It should be emphasized that the lean transformation promoted by management was carried out without any external pressure - turnover and workforce increased continuously from 2013 onwards. The high level of lean maturity in all areas (besides production, also in administration and development) is one reason for the profitable growth in recent years. The result of lean activities is reflected in a steady improvement in key figures such as e.g. quality, OEE and scrap.

Particularly noteworthy are the 

-        Standardized work (sophisticated but not cluttered standard operations sheets), compliance with which is closely monitored through a smart digital application (digital assessment)

-        High discipline regarding compliance with the standards

-        Benchmark in the field of ​​safety and health

-        Broad anchoring of Lean Six Sigma 

-        Simple and pragmatic Layered Audit System in all areas (also administration)

-        Shop floor management based on online machine data

-        Highly developed and KPI-based improvement process at all management levels and in all areas

Particularly in the Klagenfurt plant with its high level of automation in assembly, the evaluation team was impressed by the well-organized maintenance with very fast response times and the excellent industrialization process. The new assembly lines are a benchmark regarding productivity and quality.

The jury is convinced that Magna Auteca has laid the foundations for a continued successful future in its Weiz and Klagenfurt plants Lean transformation was successful.

 >> Portrait of the winner (312 KB)


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Project Team ALP Agamus Consult GmbH

Marija Benza

Phone: +49 89 44 388 99 44

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