Production Planning Tips for Automotive Manufacturers
Automotive manufacturing is a $3.3 billion industry worldwide, and is showing no signs of slowing. Although people have been building cars for more than 100 years, manufacturing strategies and processes have changed a great deal.
Production planning is a central component of the automotive manufacturing process. It can mean the difference in the success or failure of your plant. It is a complex endeavor, though, and there are many ways to go about it.
The good news is that there are some tested strategies for improving your manufacturing processes through production planning. Below are some tips for doing so. Keep reading to find out how you can get the most out of your operations.
Forecast Market Expectations
To plan for production, you must be able to estimate market demands and potential sales in the foreseeable future. You can formulate projections based on historical sales data and ongoing market trends. For instance, the continued increase in electric vehicle sales as a percentage of the market is easy to predict.
The more information you have, the better. Consider doing field analysis and other information gathering to get a more accurate picture of what the future holds.
Control Inventory and Equipment
No matter what segment of the industry you work in, you know that controlling overhead is essential to profits. Underplanning for inventory, equipment, or staff means you will fail to meet your production goals. In short, you want to maximize operational capacity without wasting resources or time.
Parts shortages still plague manufacturing production planning. Look at materials or services that have long lead times. Consider reorganizing warehousing capabilities to accommodate disruptions.
The same is true for equipment procurement. Planning ahead to ensure you have the machines you need is central to successful operations.
Manage Human Capital
People are an essential part of manufacturing. Besides having adequate staff with the requisite skills, take into account lead times for special training for new or existing workers.
You want to be thorough in the hiring process but also move as quickly as possible to fill positions that demand special skills. You want competent staff and plenty of time to conduct all necessary on-the-job training.
It may seem obvious, but take a close look at production processes, what resources they need, and how long they take. Note where tasks are repeated and where production failures or other issues most often happen. Look at bottlenecks and consider ways to end them.
Assess how you prioritize orders and deadlines. Are they filled as they come in? Do you alter production based on different client demands?
Be Willing to Change
Part of effective production planning is the willingness to make the necessary changes. There may be some good reasons you have always done it this way, but do not overlook the potential advantages and what changing things up could yield.
Also, automotive product planning is not a one-time thing. It must be ongoing to optimize opportunities to identify waste and inefficiencies, as well as ways to improve the quality of your products as they relate to your clients’ needs.
Learn More About Auto Manufacturing Production Planning
Now that you have some production planning tips, you can put in place strategies that get you the most out of your manufacturing processes. Relying on the knowledge and experience of experts in the field can help you further hone your manufacturing procedures.
Mayco International is a Tier 1 parts supplier with more than 6,000 employees in 47 plants across the globe. Our goal is to be the supplier of choice in the development, validation, tooling, and manufacturing of complete automotive interiors and exterior systems. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation.