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  • Writer's pictureEmirhan Çolak

Positioning xS Planner as a Flexible Production Planning Tool in the Automotive Industry

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

With digitalization, technological advances and the diversification of customer needs in the automotive industry, flexibility, precision and speed in planning processes have become an inevitable necessity. In the sector, producing in line with individual customer demands is critical for brands to increase their competitiveness. Especially in commercial vehicles, the ability to respond to these special demands directly affects the company's adaptation to the market and customer satisfaction. Recently, the commercial vehicle market has become more dynamic and volatile compared to the passenger car market. This mobility can offer automotive companies a great competitive advantage in responding quickly and flexibly to customer needs. However, in order to achieve this advantage, manufacturers need to manage their planning processes flawlessly.

At this point, the high-speed planning tool (software) that Novalab offers to manufacturers in the automotive sector aims to respond to these challenging needs in the sector. With Industry 4.0 on the global agenda, the ability to quickly respond to customer needs, customize vehicles and manage these processes digitally has become the key to competitiveness in the automotive industry. In this introduction, we will discuss these key needs faced by the automotive industry and how Novalab offers a solution.

Novalab's planning and optimization software developed for companies in the automotive industry has the capacity to quickly and effectively manage change requests and their impact on production processes. Behind this process is a detailed and multi-layered analysis that affects production lines and supply chains. The main functionality of this software is to take into account the challenges that arise in different areas such as production, material supply, labor, and engineering change management, and to consider the impact of these processes on each other.

For example, a special vehicle design or functional specification request from a customer can affect the entire production line and material procurement process. While the impact of such a request affects production processes from start to finish, it is essential to quickly and precisely analyze the impact of these changes on production output, material requirements, workforce planning and, of course, the financial situation. Novalab's software offers a range of functionalities to optimize production processes in line with project objectives and functional demands. First of all, it models planned and unplanned production shutdowns by determining the takt time on a calendar basis for line-style production locations with the Day Breakdown and Production Order Calculation Function. It also enables the management of key production speed parameters such as the number of vehicles inside and target tempo in specific production areas such as truck paint shops. Secondly, it manages material procurement processes more accurately and effectively by integrating supplier parameters with Basic Material Requirements Planning and automating some procurement processes. Thirdly, with the Distribution by Days and Intraday Sequencing Constraints Validation section, rules and constraints related to procurement and internal production that affect the applicability of the plan are defined and the production plan is audited accordingly. Finally, Material Requirements Planning Fine-Tuning and Complementary Functions optimize and manage the impact of engineering changes on material supply. In this direction, Novalab aims to offer a flexible, fast and detailed planning tool to manufacturers in the automotive industry. By creating a decision support mechanism at all these stages of production processes, Novalab enables companies to effectively manage these complex and dynamic processes.

The challenges faced in the automotive industry, such as customizing customer demands and optimizing procurement and production processes, are factors that directly affect productivity and profitability. In this context, Novalab's "xS Planner v4.0" planning and optimization software has been an important milestone for automotive manufacturers such as Anadolu Isuzu. The main achievements of the project include dynamic material and labor availability planning, optimal vehicle sequencing, plan change and deviation management, and order and specification change management. With the implementation of the project, Anadolu Isuzu has gained the capacity to make much more informed, dynamic and optimal decisions based on material and labor availability, model mix and other critical parameters.

This case study is an important example of how challenges in industrial manufacturing and supply chain management can be overcome with technological and software solutions. Novalab's solution not only improves the operational efficiency of a company, but also provides valuable insights on how to modernize practices and procedures on a sectoral basis. As a guide for other sectors and businesses with similar problems in the future, this project offers an in-depth look at the integration of technology into business processes and how to overcome the problems encountered in this way. Especially in the era of Industry 4.0, such innovative and technology-driven solutions have the potential to create a competitive advantage for businesses, as well as a sustainable growth and development model. With the success of this project, Novalab has proven that it has the innovation and application capacity to produce high caliber solutions that can overcome industrial needs and challenges.

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