Take 200 square meters, 15 staff members per shift, 50 experts in total. Add 16 large screens, 40 desktop monitors, all manner of software and even more system intelligence. Have it work 24/7. And of course top it all off with strict access control. There’s no question: here at Volkswagen’s largest site in Wolfsburg, entrance 54, on the second floor, is where you find the heart of production. It is the FIS control room – or the “brain of the factory.” FIS stands for “Fertigungs-, Informations- und Steuerungssystem,” or production, information, and control system in English. The somewhat cryptic name covers everything from modular hardware and intricate software to the decades of experience and specialized knowledge acquired by the employees who plan, inform, monitor, and above all effectively control the entire automobile production process.
It starts as soon as the customer signs the contract
“We distinguish between the customer order process and the product creation process,” says André Renner, head of production control and program planning. “We, the factory control and program planning team, support the customer order process and ensure that the customers’ cars are produced on time from the factory side.” First customers configure their vehicles from many of variables and sign the order contract at the dealership. Then the factory accesses it from the sales database.