After this precise planning comes the product creation process. In the early development stage, a parts list for each vehicle is generated and then updated in the event of a model upgrade, for example. “The parts list is the basis for the marriage between the customer order and the component logistics,” Renner explains. Now there’s no turning back. FIS gives the sonata a unique ID number for that particular car. It contains the exact production date for this vehicle. At the same time, all the suppliers receive the list of components needed for this car.
Now production can start
When the production date arrives, the vehicle is made. “Our assembly workers are meant to concentrate solely on putting the vehicles together,” says Hilmar Schimenas, who directs the FIS automotive control room. “That’s why we have to provide the best conditions for them and translate the customer order into production language, so to speak, using FIS. The people, the machinery and the materials have to be precisely coordinated with each other.” Quite a few things can happen here: internal as well as external suppliers might struggle with bottlenecks, machines might break down, people can become ill, forces of nature can interrupt production. “We register every single disturbance in the process chain, from the suppliers to production, for each facility. If there is a problem on one of the four assembly lines, we take action right away,” says Schimenas. The aim is clear – not to lose a minute of production time, and to keep the lines running as smoothly as possible on every shift.
On this afternoon in early March, production in Wolfsburg is running like clockwork. A printer or a parts scanner might refuse to work, but the team quickly fixes it. “We’ve seen just about everything here,” says Schimenas. “But somehow we’ve always managed to get things back on track and solve every problem.”