Utilizing Digital Tools for Lean Optimization

Utilizing Digital Tools for Lean Optimization

Matt Myrand, Group Advanced Manufacturing and Supply Chain Manager, Faurecia

Lean manufacturing has always been a critical part of Faurecia’s operations. Recently, we’ve utilized two digital tools that not only support our lean manufacturing objectives but enhance our transformation into a future mobility provider.

As background: Faurecia is one of the world’s largest automotive technology suppliers with more than 200 locations across five continents. Faurecia’s product portfolio includes vehicle interiors, seats, electronics, and clean mobility systems, and one in three vehicles on the road has Faurecia technologies. The scope and breadth of our organization puts even more emphasis on our ability to operate in a lean manner, which is where our two latest digital tools come into play.

Our first digital tool is Delmia, a software solution that helps optimize manufacturing floor layouts and equipment installations. Prior to finalizing the design of the equipment, we utilize Delmia to create a simulation of the shop floor layout, which is then uploaded it into virtual reality glasses. Within the glasses, we can “walk” the assembly lines and validate machine design, machine location / orientation, material locations, and ergonomic positions for operators. Eliminating waste is the ultimate goal in lean manufacturing, so the virtual simulation enables us to identify extra operator movements, material WIP levels, part stagnation, and  overproduction.

By doing virtual walkthroughs, we can change the machine’s design before it’s built and adjust the assembly layout if necessary, both saving valuable time and money. Plant teams, manufacturing teams, and engineering teams all review the layout and contribute to the design. This improves efficiency and helps ensure long-term machine optimization within the plant.

Another digital tool we are exploring is Drishti, an AI-powered platform that we are currently utilizing as a proof of concept in our Newark, California, facility. By mounting cameras in our production spaces, we can capture operator standardized work content, and use Drishti’s AI system to analyze for improvements.

Drishti then develops a detailed work content analysis regarding each step, and we can use this analysis to rebalance the line. Drishti’s analysis shows optimal assembly time, which we can use to train our operators, and it also help analyze and root cause cycles that go over takt time.

Faurecia strives to achieve five-star customer satisfaction, and Drishti helps us root cause quality issues and enable us to address them in an efficient and timely manner. By combining advanced AI technology with traditional factory floor operational movements, we not only improve our internal efficiencies but can provide better response times to our customers.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced all companies to investigate digital tools to help improve their operations. At Faurecia, we have been proactive about exploring digital manufacturing solutions for years, so we were able to utilize this experience and not only safely restart our operations, but also identify other areas where we can make lean improvements. The phrase “new normal” has been used to describe numerous situations over the past 15 months, but at Faurecia, integrating digital and lean solutions has always been normal, and we are excited to see where these solutions can take us.

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