The Automotive industry has come a long way since the days of the horseless carriage. The current production of automobiles all over the world are close to 100,000,000. The production process of a single automobile is very cumbersome. The design, development manufacturing, marketing, and sale of an automobile require a lot of management.
Each part of the car is built separately. Workers, aided by machines, then assemble those parts and an automobile is manufactured.
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This process seems simple, but when we look at the factors governing the manufacturing and the broad set of requirements, the management needed for this industry is extensive. Each step of this process needs to be visualized for the end product to be complete and perfect. Even if a small part, like a screw, is not built or appropriately assembled, it may lead to the destruction of the automobile.
Realizing the crucial demand of the automobile industry, the IT industry pitches in. Project management software, equipped with tools like Kanban boards, can assist in the management of large scale productions. With the help of project management software, one can access the project status and keep a check on the project in all domains, at all times and any place.
Project management in the Automotive industry
The Automotive industry has always challenged managerial innovations. They require a high degree of management. For instance, out of the 80% of projects delivered in Germany, only 30% are completed on time and in the budget. This is a clear indicator of the need for optimum project management in the automotive industry.
Apart from this, the role of a project manager in the automotive industry is the most interesting one. To be a project manager, he/she is expected to have knowledge of all the domains involved in this industry. He is extensively involved in all the details of the project, either it is the budgeting, scheduling, production, launch, or even when the automobile reaches the end of its life.
Moreover, he is solely responsible for any and all delays or setbacks. One can only wonder the extent of pressure faced by a project manager. While this pressure is known, it is also a fact that a project manager still has to carry out this process on his own. The only way to reduce his burden and to ensure an efficient production is through project management software.
A project management software aims to simplify the process of manufacturing by providing tools and support for these 5 phases.
The feasibility check and the approval of the stakeholders can all be done via project management software. This is followed by a project initiation document(PID) developed by the project manager, which defines the structure of the process. As the data is not centralized but instead stored on the software, it can be viewed at any time and any place hence providing dependency and transparency.
Project management software provides support in building an efficient project management plan(PMP), which is distributed among the management to be carried out under the given instructions. Documents included are:
- Work breakdown structure (WBS), which contains the segregation of projects into visual, manageable parts.
- Scope statement and scope documentation containing the project’s business needs and objectives.
- Communication plan to create a regulatory process for better integration.
- A risk management plan for reducing or estimating risk based on cost, resources, timelines and so on. It aids the project manager in preparing for potential risks to assure on-time production.
With the help of tools like Kanban board, project management software enables to keep track of the various steps being carried out simultaneously. Through this, we are not only assured of a timely production but also of a more efficient and better-integrated process throughout.
- Performance and Monitoring
Through Gantt charts and other tools, the performance and monitoring of this hectic process are right on the fingertips. Performance charts can be viewed at any place and at any time which leads to a better
Through project management software, there is no need for constant confirmations of approvals. Everything is monitored online and can be successfully notified. To provide closure, final budgeting can be done on the software itself.
What is a kanban board?
Built on top of the kanban principle, a kanban board, in the simplest terms, is an optimization tool. Through a kanban board, we can create a visualisation of the project workflow and keep the transparency of progress for a large scale manufacturing process.
The kanban principle
As stated, the basic principle followed by a kanban board is the kanban principle.
Kanban was first introduced by Taiichi Ohno of Toyota as a scheduling system. It aimed to provide inventory control, serving the purpose of just-in-time production.
This is the first instance of a methodology like a kanban being used to optimize the process of automotive production. A tool like a kanban is a blessing for a process like the manufacturing of a car, which involves a lot of visualization and management.
However, visualization is not the only feature of the kanban board. Team workflow is also its crown jewel. Therefore, a project management software aided by a kanban board can be deemed as the best supplement for optimizing the process of automotive production.
Oftentimes, many teams keep starting tasks or processes without finishing the existing ones which lead to a pile of unfinished projects which in turn leads to inefficient and delayed production. Hence the kanban principle becomes the obvious approach which also includes the statement “Stop starting and start finishing”.
The Kanban methodology comprises of the following principles:
- By focusing on what is already there, the kanban principle leads to the visualization of the existing resources and tasks with the realization of the fact that only the implementation of those tasks is needed.
- To ensure that work is not piled up and that continuous, well-integrated work is done, the kanban principle says that the work-in-progress should be limited and more focus should be given to the continuous development. This not only balances the work but also takes the pressure off of the teams of over-committing.
- While change is important in every process which urges for advancement, there are some areas that need to remain constant. Kanban realizes the value of titles, roles and processes and respects their involvement in the process hence it is a part of the principle that even if a change is required no matter how big, it will not affect the existing roles and processes.
- The Kanban method also focuses on individual leadership. The aim of this is to bring a sense of responsibility to every individual involved which in turn leads to higher efficiency in each process.
Why use a Kanban board?
- Faster delivery
- Responsiveness to change
- Easy to start
- Easy to understand
- Reduces waste and redundancies
- Better communication and integration
Structure and designing of a kanban board
A kanban board that is divided into three parts for a manufacturing process:
- Awaiting production or To-Do tasks
- Work in progress or Current Tasks
- Completed work
Designing a kanban board however is done in the following manner:
1. Visualize the flow of work
2. Set initial limits on your work in progress
3. Keep tabs on the flow of work on the board
4. Inspect and perform continuous improvement
To conclude, a kanban board is one of the best and simplest tools when it comes to optimizing the automotive industry. From designing a kanban board to implementing the Kanban principles, it provides a standardized way to manage a large scale production.