Manufacturing plants today face a number of challenges. For instance, to handle an increasing fluctuation in customer order behavior, they need to better fulfill customer demands in terms of flexibility and pricing. Additionally, plants need to handle a higher number of different product variants in parallel. To improve their competiveness, there is a strong demand for production optimization systems to help assure delivery capabilities while improving productivity and reducing warehouse stock. On this account the Bosch plant in Suzhou was searching for a solution to streamline the complex production planning setup with high and low runners and also manage clusters of highly parallel machines and lines to enable pool production for single steps in the manufacturing process.
In a joint project between the Bosch Automotive Electronics plant in Suzhou and Bosch Software Innovations, we combined push and pull production in one solution and provided optimized product assignment to the right production line based on the capacity, current load, and configurations of a line. It optimized the sequence of each production line according to the constraints priorities for the delivery time, utilization rate, and changeover reduction. In this project, we used the actual production KPIs instead of fixed planning parameters and tracked the progress of the individual production lots by integrating data from the Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). Our closed loop approach of planning, monitoring, and reporting provided a transparent overview of the end-to-end value stream at any given point in time.
This solution enables Bosch Automotive Electronics in Suzhou to optimize the production sequence based on rules and provides a clear overview of the production line status. As a result, it can react quickly to deviations that otherwise might cause delivery delay.The project delivers two key outcomes: significant productivity improvements to the tune of 40 % as well as a stock level reduction of up to 30 %.
Benefits yielded by the Industry 4.0 project:
- Increased productivity
- Reduced inventory
- Reduced manual workload for deviation management
- Data transparency allows efficient Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) activities
The prospect: To extend the solution to become a cross value stream system and achieve a complete Industry 4.0 ecosystem.